Ideacom on a roll with Out in the City/Out a Montreal

Montreal: Ideacom International producers Jacques Nadeau and Josette Normandeau have worked hard at developing a profile in English Canada and internationally.
The house is delivering the feature doc Coming Out, shot in both English and French original versions as a kind of lead-in to the new 13 half-hour Life Network/Canal Vie series Out in the City/Out a Montreal, 'a TV verite docusoap on gay life in the big city,' says Normandeau. Ambitious diginet PrideVision has a second window.
Funders on the $1.5-million series include Telefilm Canada and the Licence Fee Program. The feature doc has major support from the Canadian Independent Film and Video Fund.

Montreal: Ideacom International producers Jacques Nadeau and Josette Normandeau have worked hard at developing a profile in English Canada and internationally.

The house is delivering the feature doc Coming Out, shot in both English and French original versions as a kind of lead-in to the new 13 half-hour Life Network/Canal Vie series Out in the City/Out a Montreal, ‘a TV verite docusoap on gay life in the big city,’ says Normandeau. Ambitious diginet PrideVision has a second window.

Funders on the $1.5-million series include Telefilm Canada and the Licence Fee Program. The feature doc has major support from the Canadian Independent Film and Video Fund.

Scripters include Nadeau and Tiziana B. Saad, with Jean-Francois Monette, Maureen Moscovitch, David Finch and Martin Cadette directing. DOP Michael Wees shot in DV and Betacam.

Ideacom is also delivering director/writer Michel Viotte’s 90-minute feature doc Once Upon a Time The Super Heroes, a decidedly French look at American mythology and culture through the lens of superhero comic book history (Batman, Spiderman, etc.). It is a $750,000 coproduction with Kalamazoo, Paris, and licensed by Space: The Imagination Station/Bravo! and ARTV in Canada and ARTE and 13e Rue in France.

Normandeau is the coproducer/creator of the six-hour international doc series Martial Arts: Journey to the Masters. Robert Sandler of Toronto’s Creative Anarchy is minority coproducer. Producer Nadeau is also directing with Harvey Crossland. Wees is the DOP.

Martial arts is a personal passion for Normandeau. who traveled to Brazil and Thailand last year for the first two episodes of the series that encompasses personal training with cultural discovery and encounters with venerable masters. The next four episodes in the $3-million DV/digital Betacam show will be filmed this fall in Okinawa, Japan, and South Korea, wrapping in India in early 2003.

Funding sources include Telefilm, the LFP and Fonds Harold Greenberg. The exporter is Filmoption International.

Coproductions in financing at Ideacom include Michel Viotte’s two-hour Safari (Compagnie des Indes, Paris), with interest from Germany and ARTE, France; the 90-minute feature doc Lost Birds (Lardux, France); Ceux qui parle le code, (Bonne Pioche, France), a doc coproduction on an unusual aspect of American Navajo history; and Chiquita, a one-hour historical doc with Kalamazoo.

New biz for Remstar, Transfilm

Remstar Distribution has picked up three new international coproduction titles from Transfilm and producer Claude Leger: the feature films Aime ton pere and Polyesterday, in prep for an upcoming location shoot in Montreal, and the TV history-bio miniseries Jean Moulin.

Copresident Maxime Remillard says the company expects to invest $6 million to $8 million this year in up-front rights financing and film and TV coproduction activity.

‘Not only do we have the ability to produce films in Canada and elsewhere, but we have capital to invest in multiple territory rights ownership as well as in distribution in Canada. So the synergy is there for us to be very competitive,’ says Remillard.

Remillard says a 2002 coproduction slate, primarily with the U.K. and France, is in the works.

Aime ton pere, partly filmed in Quebec earlier this season, is an $8-million suspense drama starring the father and son team of Gerard and Guillaume Depardieu.

Polyesterday, a $10-million Canada/U.K. coproduction, is from director Carole Giacobbi and stars Johnny Lee Miller, Selma Blair and Rhys Ifans in a story about a 30-year-old woman who tries to uncover the murder of her unknown father.

Jean Moulin, a $12-million historical drama, was also filmed partly in Quebec. It’s been sold to Astral Media pay channel Super Ecran. GMT Productions of France and Spice Factory of the U.K. are the coproducers on Aime ton pere and Jean Moulin. Spice also coproduced on Polyesterday.

Last year, Remstar made its first coventure investment, $6 million, in the Bob Rafelson thriller No Good Deed, the movie adaptation of the Dashiell Hammett short story The House on Turk Street. The film was shot here last summer on a budget of US$24 million and stars Milla Jovovich and Samuel L. Jackson (The Red Violin, Rules of Engagement). Delivery is set for this spring, with a U.S. theatrical deal in the works, says Remillard.

Remstar has the Canadian rights to Transfilm’s six-hour mega-production Napoleon. Radio-Canada and Super Ecran have licensed the $55-million series in the French market. A&E Network, a major investor, has the North American premiere. Remstar is selling English-Canadian rights.

SCI FI primetime for CineGroupe, Film Roman

CineGroupe, in association with Film Roman (The Simpsons, King of the Hill), has started production on 13 half-hours of Tripping the Rift, the first animated series commissioned by SCI FI Channel in the U.S.

An edgy, 3ds max production, the show is a spin-off of the hit LEVEL13.NET Web short film, and was a grand prize winner in the annual Playboy Animation Contest.

Tripping the Rift follows the lusty primetime adventures of The Free Enterprise, a smuggling vessel led by a stumpy purple alien called Chode and his band of misfit shipmates as they battle enemies and obstacles.

The show’s creators are Chuck Austen and Chris Moeller. Head writers include Bill Rosenthal (Working, The Single Guy, The John Larroquette Show) and Andrew Borakove (South Park, Dilbert).

SCI FI, owned and operated by USA Cable, a division of USA Networks Group, is a Vivendi Universal Entertainment joint-venture company and is available in 78 million U.S. households.

The deal is part of a new strategic alliance announced earlier this month by Ken Katsumoto, CineGroupe’s head of U.S. entertainment, and Peter Schankowitz, Film Roman’s president, television programming and development. Delivery is set for the fall, with negotiations for a Canadian home underway, says Marie-Christine Dufour, CineGroupe’s VP communications.

Earlier this year, CineGroupe and NewKidCo International, a leading publisher of interactive youth video games, signed a long-term agreement providing for the development of at least three Game Boy Advance titles per year for three years.

Current production at CineGroupe includes 26 half-hours of the YTV CGI/live-action series Galidor; the Teletoon sitcom Big City (aka Three Pigs), slated to air this month; and Daft Planet, a 2D digital animation/tween series, also commissioned by Teletoon.

CineGroupe Images expects to announce a new live-action/CGI coproduction with U.K. partners shortly, adds Dufour.

New Quebec feature films

Telefilm Canada’s Quebec operations office has given the green light to four French-language feature films, Le Debut de la fin by director Louis Belanger (Post Mortem), Nez rouge by Erik Canuel (La Loi du cochon), Sur le seuil by Eric Tessier (2 Freres) and 100% Bio by Claude Fortin (Le Voleur de camera).

The four, which represent about 30% of this year’s Canada Feature Film Fund selective financing, were among 17 projects submitted for the Jan. 28 comparatives, says Michel Pradier, Telefilm interim director, Quebec operations. Louise Deslauriers is the feature film business unit’s interim director.

100% Bio (producer Petite Gidouille/distributor CinemaLibre), a low-budget project (under $1 million) scripted by Fortin and Serge Laprade, is the story of Claude, an out-of-work filmmaker, and Laprade, a real-life singer and TV host, who meet and decide to make a documentary about TV through the vehicle of Laprade’s biography.

Debut de la fin (Les Productions 23/Film Tonic) is scripted by Belanger and is described by the filmmaker as ‘an ode to life’ about the owner of small-town gas station and the people who hang out there.

Nez Rouge (Films Vision 4/Christal Films Distribution), written by Sylvie Pilon and Sylvie Desrosier, is a romantic comedy whose central character is a pretentious movie reviewer (Patrick Huard) doing community service following a drunk-driving conviction.

Sur le seuil (Go Films/Alliance Atlantis Vivafilm), scripted by Patrick Senecal and Eric Tessier, is a paranormal drama about two psychiatrists who discover the diabolical inspirations of a writer in their care. Cast includes Michel Cote (La Vie apres l’amour).

Budgets are in the $3.2-million to $3.6-million range.

French-language CFFF and CTF production funding resources in 2002/03 are $13 million (for selective projects) and $10 million (performance), respectively.

The next CFFF selective component deadlines for French-language projects are April 29 (decisions in late June) and Sept. 16 (decisions in mid-November.)