ImagiNation, Cite-Amerique shoot Innocence for CTV

Following up their successful partnership on 100 Days in the Jungle, CTV and Edmonton production company ImagiNation Film and Television Productions are teaming on a second MOW, Selling Innocence.

Following up their successful partnership on 100 Days in the Jungle, CTV and Edmonton production company ImagiNation Film and Television Productions are teaming on a second MOW, Selling Innocence. A $4-million coproduction between ImagiNation and Montreal’s Cite-Amerique, the film is about an underage girl who is lured into an Internet modeling scam.

ImagiNation president Nicolette Saina will co-executive produce and produce with Cite-Amerique’s Vivian Moran and Greg Dummett. Skander Halim will pick up the writing credit, but no director is attached as yet.

Funding for the project, thus far, has come in from CTF (LFP and EIP), the Alberta Film Development Program, provincial and federal tax credits, Cogeco and CTV. Saina says ImagiNation is still waiting to hear back from the Canadian Western Independent Producers Fund. The original U.S.-based distributor for the project had to close up the distribution division of its business and drop out of the film, but Saina says there are several interested parties keen to distribute Selling Innocence, although none had been confirmed at press time.

‘It’s a very interesting position to be in,’ says Saina. ‘It’s a hot little property.’

ImagiNation and CTV are already in development on another TV movie called War Correspondent: The Clark Todd Story. The MOW is about CTV reporter Todd who was killed by shrapnel while covering the war in Lebanon in the early 1980s.

‘[The war correspondent] is a profession that is under-dramatized,’ says Saina. ‘You see a lot of projects about lawyers and doctors and teachers, but I don’t think there has ever been a dramatization about a Canadian war correspondent.’

Frantic to produce second Garrity flick

When Playback caught up with Jamie Brown he had to talk fast. The executive producer and CEO of Winnipeg’s Frantic Films was on a plane destined for Newfoundland where he will oversee production of the new Frantic reality series Quest for the Sea, which began shooting June 23.

He reports a healthy slate of upcoming projects, including a new feature from Winnipeg director Sean Garrity and an MOW for CTV.

The feature is between titles right now, says Brown. Once known as Bedbugs, the second feature from Garrity (whose Inertia garnered the Citytv Award for best Canadian first feature at the 2001 Toronto International Film Festival) is now known as Lucid, and was penned by Garrity and Jonas Chernick (The Eleventh Hour), who Brown says will also likely star.

Executive producer/producer Brown says the script is very clever, ‘with a Sixth Sense-ish kind of storyline that really comes together at the end.’

Lucid is budgeted at under $2 million, says Brown, and although the film isn’t financed, he is confident potential funding partners will find it an appealing project based on the quality of the script. He hopes to begin shooting early next year.

In the meantime, Zeyda and the Hitman, an MOW for CTV to be coproduced with Toronto’s Miracle Pictures, will begin shooting July 21. Written by Halifax’s Michael Amo (Tagged: The Jonathan Womback Story), the film, to be shot in Winnipeg, where it is set, is a dark comedy about a patriarch who takes out a hit on his son-in-law. Miracle’s Paul Brown will co-executive produce with Jamie Brown.

Although he wouldn’t divulge the budget, Frantic’s Brown says it is ‘quite high for an MOW.’ A director is attached and casting is underway, but Brown says he cannot offer details, as CTV is planning to announce the players with fanfare at a future date.

MidCanada draws up Blueprint for Bond

Winnipeg’s MidCanada Entertainment (a division of MidCanada Production Services) is going ahead with its one-hour documentary Intrepid: Blueprint for Bond, based on the book The True Intrepid by Bill MacDonald.

The film is about ‘Peg-born Sir William Stevenson, who is said to the inspiration for Ian Fleming’s James Bond character. Executive producer/producer Kevin Dunn says the film is in preproduction for Global Television and should begin shooting this fall.

Terry McEvoy (High-Tech Culture) will direct the doc, with McEvoy, MacDonald and Cam Bennett (who wrote and directed the last MidCanada doc, Avrocar! Saucer Secrets from the Past for Discovery) sharing the writing credit.

According to Dunn, the budget for Intrepid is $565,000, with funding from SCN, TFO, Knowledge Network, Telefilm Canada, the Canadian Western Independent Producers Fund and LFP.

MidCanada is also in development on what Dunn calls ‘a noble reality series’ for A-Channel called No Fixed Address. The series puts six contestants on the streets for two weeks to try to survive as homeless people.

Pariah to shoot college comedy

Calgary’s Pariah Entertainment Group is in preproduction on the college comedy Freshman 15, about four college freshman clods who enter into a contest where the first guy to sleep with 15 girls wins a Ford Fairlane.

According to cowriter and line producer Keith Callbeck, it’s about ‘the ups and downs of getting involved in a contest like this’ (we aren’t sure if he meant to say that or not).

Callbeck wrote the script with Brett Munro, who will also direct. Munro, incidentally, also directed Pariah’s first feature, Disposable Life, which is in the final mix-down phase of production. Phillip Liesemer is producing.

The budget for the film is about $350,000, says Callbeck, funded through deferrals and private investment.

Freshman 15 will shoot in Calgary over two weeks in August and Pariah hopes to have the film posted and ready for the end of the year.

Ouellette Dizzy in Regina

Prolific Regina-based short filmmaker Dianne Ouellette is currently in post on her 10-minute short Dizzy Lizzy, produced under the banner Difilms. Ouellette (Daisy) directed, cowrote and coproduced the project about a little girl who sees fairies. The twist is every time the girl rescues and cares for one of these fairies, it dies.

The film is coproduced with Loreena Weideman-Buhl and Hildy W. Bowen. The cowriter on the project is Tyler Lukiwski, while Darryl Kesslar served as DOP. In all, 26 Saskatchewan-based crew members worked for free over the four-day shoot to help bring Lizzy to life.

The film was produced on a budget of about $19,000, with funding assistance from SaskFilm, the Saskatchewan Filmpool Cooperative, the Saskatchewan Arts Board and a grant from Screen Femmes.

Ouellette hopes to have Dizzy Lizzy ready by July, and intends to premier it in Regina on the Saturday before Halloween, to tie in with the film’s Halloween theme.

In the meantime, Ouellette is working on a new 30-minute experimental documentary about bipolar disorder with a grant from the Canada Council. She is calling it Summer, shooting on 16mm, and hopes to have it ready for spring.