Stargate discovers Atlantis at Bridge Studios

Vancouver: Stargate Atlantis will come up for air before the eighth and probably last season of production on Stargate SG-1, from which Atlantis was spun off.
SCI-FI Channel and MGM Television Entertainment will do 20 hours of each of the series, which means a lot of dough for the local film economy and more work for some production staffers, now doing double duty this season.

Vancouver: Stargate Atlantis will come up for air before the eighth and probably last season of production on Stargate SG-1, from which Atlantis was spun off.

SCI-FI Channel and MGM Television Entertainment will do 20 hours of each of the series, which means a lot of dough for the local film economy and more work for some production staffers, now doing double duty this season.

The spin-off, which continues MGM’s long relationship with The Bridge Studios in Burnaby, will repurpose the set of vampire movie Blade 3, which just wrapped in Vancouver.

Atlantis begins production Feb. 23, while SG-1 has yet to set a production start date. Casting of Atlantis was not yet set at press time.

In Stargate Atlantis, a team of scientists and military personnel discover a new Stargate portal in Atlantis that leads to a whole new set of worlds in the Pegasus Galaxy, including a sinister new enemy called the Wraith.

Atlantis will premiere this summer with a two-hour movie that will have some crossover appearances from SG-1′s cast.

Canadians Brad Wright and Robert Cooper, perhaps the highest-paid showrunners in Canada, will serve as executive producers. Cooper is currently executive producer on Stargate SG-1 and Wright, cocreator of Stargate SG-1, served as the series’ executive producer for six seasons.

Kick-starters

Hard to believe The X-Files’ Cigarette-Smoking Man William B. Davis would need help getting a short film off the ground, but there he is in the lineup of five filmmakers getting $12,000 plus post-production assistance from Kick Start 2004, sponsored by the Directors Guild of Canada, BC District Council and British Columbia Film.

This year’s Kick Start recipients are:

* Davis’ Packing Up (Tom Braidwood, mentor), about a retiring university professor on his last day on the job.

* Fishbowl by Eric Johnson (Rick Stevenson, mentor), about a man who becomes a thief.

* The Harp by John Bolton (Mark Sawers, mentor), about a lonely usherette who finds love during a performance of Beethoven’s String Quartet Opus 74.

* Once A Fish by Ling Chiu (Anne Wheeler, mentor), about a woman’s obsession with the piece of fish her father was eating before he died.

* Say Yes by Neil Every (Guy Bennett, mentor), about a man who tries to propose in the middle of fight with his girlfriend.

Rope-a-dope

Producer Ken Craw (Infinity Filmed Entertainment Group) is still in production on Race of the Century, a documentary about the Ben Johnson steroid scandal that marred the 100-metre final at the 1988 Seoul Olympics. Craw recently returned from Berlin and Stockholm, where he interviewed the IOC Medical Commission along with athletes and doctors involved in the state-run doping system of the former East Germany.

The doc is for CTV, Discovery Channel Canada and Canal D.

Indie Indo-Canadian flick

One of B.C.’s only Indo-Canadian features will wrap 20 days of production mid-February. About 75% of the cast in Betrayal of the Heart is Indo-Canadian, including stars Gurdeep Brar (a former Miss Calgary) and Raj Samra.

The $375,000 high-definition video feature, underwritten by a private financier, is written and directed by local screenwriter Raj Purewal. Director of photography is Neil Seale.

In the drama, a young Indo-Canadian couple is devastated by AIDS, brought home by the husband after a dalliance with a stripper.

No distributors or broadcasters were attached at press time.

50G-er

L.A. transplant Stephanie Gossett is coproducing Fiver, a $50,000 Canadian independent feature.

The dark comedy, adapted by Gossett’s partner Will Schneider from a short story by Vancouver writer Jesse Macphereson, is about five people who come together around a mysterious five-dollar bill and some prophecies.

Money for the 35mm film comes from private investors, says Gossett, with equipment and labor deferrals keeping the 12-day shoot that began Jan. 16 on track. No distributor or broadcaster was attached at press time, and the producers hope to pitch the finished film to the Toronto International Film Festival.

Pawel Maj is the director and Keith Young is the DOP. The Vancouver-based cast includes Leedine Lah, Bob Rathie, Kerry Van der Grien, Ali Staseson and Marco Galvani.

Color TV

The television work of visible minorities and aboriginals will be on display on Citytv Vancouver through the CineCity: Vancouver Stories stream that has funded 11 projects since it started in 2002.

The first finished projects go to air, starting Feb. 7 in a series of six one-hour programs to be broadcast over the next six months.

Just in time for Chinese New Year, No One Suspects the Chinese Guy launches the series. Robin Chan is producer, Henry J. Mah is writer and Scott Owen is director.

On deck is 7 to 11, Indian, scheduled to air in March, close to the UN-declared International Day to End Systemic Racism.

Go north, young man

Film Prince George, the commission for northern British Columbia, reports that while the new Kurt Russell hockey feature Miracle canceled plans to produce portions in Prince George in 2003, location scouting of the area doubled to 68 over the year. The commission also increased its photo library to more than 2,100 digital images from 200 locations in northern B.C. and launched a new website (www.filmpg.com).

Actual production over the year included work by Discovery Channel and Knowledge Network in Tumbler Ridge to film dinosaur fossil beds, Discovery at Pink Mountain to film a unique butterfly population, Fox TV in Prince George for a segment of Stupid Behavior Caught on Tape and Australia’s The Getaway Show, filming the grizzly bear sanctuary in Khutzeymateen Park.

Can do

Beyond Invention, created by Vancouver producer Peter von Puttkamer, debuts on Discovery Channel Feb. 12. The eight-part series explores the wild frontier of science and inventions and the people who do what the experts say can’t be done – like flying cars and human cloning.

‘From legitimate groundbreaking science to the stuff of science fiction, we explore the gap between genius and mad scientist – a distance that sometimes isn’t very far,’ says von Puttkamer.

Toon-thology

Raider Productions, a Vancouver DVD producer, is looking for clay, classical, computer and Flash-animated short films from North America and the world. Submissions for North America’s Best Independent animated Shorts 2004 are due by April 30, while submissions for The World’s Best Independent Animated Shorts 2004 are due by Sept. 30.

The 90-minute compilations, distributed on VHS and DVD formats, are created ‘to promote the diverse range of stories… that animation is allowing us to show to the world,’ says creative producer Aaron Keogh.

Producers whose projects make the compilation share in a dividend of 2% to 3% (equivalent to 50 cents) per VHS or DVD sold in exchange for one-time use rights.

For more information, including submission criteria, visit www.nabias.com.