Quebec Scene: City’s top cops brought in on Telefiction thriller 10-07

Montreal: The producers of 10-07, Telefiction’s four-hour police miniseries, have signed two of the city’s top cops as the shoot’s creative and technical advisors.

Executive producer Jacques Bonin says the innovative production has gained ‘lots of credibility’ as a result of the participation of Montreal Urban Community police chief Jacques Duchesneau, who developed the original series concept in association with actor Marcel Leboeuf, TVA Television Network legal reporter Benoit Johnson, and chief inspector Michel Beaudin, who signed on as the shoot’s technical advisor. The screenplay is from Joanne Arseneau.

10-07 wraps Aug. 23 following a 37-day shoot, and Bonin says it’s fast-track filmmaking through the sound and picture edit and the multiphase post-production at Supersuite to make it in time for the November sweeps on Television Quatre Saisons.

Obviously the house hopes no nosy reporter breaks the mystery storyline before the series goes to air, a sentiment no doubt shared by tqs. However, we can say this much. It’s a story about two patrolmen assigned to a city beat infamous for its nasty leather attitudes and late-night bar-cruising action. When a corpse turns up on the street and the cops choose to ignore an autopsy pointing to ‘natural causes,’ they quickly find themselves at the center of a serial murder investigation where all the clues point in the wrong direction.

Produced by Claude Veillet on a budget of $3.4 million, 10-07 is directed by Richard Ciupka (Mourir d’amour, Coyote), with Marc Charlebois on board as dop. Production design is by Normand Sarrazin, Michel Martin is the pm, Paul-Andre Guerin is the costume designer and Normand Mercier is the sound recordist.

For the curious, Bonin explains that ’10-07 is police talk for a general distress signal, it directs all available cars to the location.’

Leading players include Gildor Roy, Patrick Labbe, Marcel Leboeuf and Chantal Fontaine as uniformed officers, Michel Barrette, Gilbert Sicotte and Yves Soutiere as homicide detectives, and Germain Houde as a politician.

1995 is a big year for eight-year-old Telefiction.

Its four-hour, $4.2 million Francois Labonte-directed miniseries Alys, based on the life and times of cabaret legend Alys Robi, is set for broadcast on Tele-Metropole, while later in the fall, Films Vision 4, an affiliate feature film company, will shoot Matusalem 2, the $4 million sequel to Roger Cantin’s highly successful family adventure.

Telefiction is also producing Dossier Insolite, a 20-hour documentary/occult series licensed by Canal D and program vp Andreanne Bournival.

10-07 investors include sodec – Quebec, Telefilm Canada, which has invested $850,000, the Maclean Hunter Television Fund and the Quebec tax credit program.

Academy honors for Mills

Veteran Montreal animation director/producer Michael Mills has received the select honor of a membership invitation from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the 4,200-member u.s. professional association of motion picture craftspeople.

Following a strict review and nomination process, and approval by the board of governors, the membership invitation arrived June 30 in a letter from legendary director and Academy president Arthur Hiller.

u.s. colleagues and friends of the 52-year-old u.k.-born animator initiated the process, says Mills, pointing to his two Oscar nominations and a studio full of international animation awards.

Mills’ professional career began in England in 1958. He subsequently moved to Canada, working for five years at the National Film Board before moving on and setting up his own company, Michael Mills Productions, in 1973.

Mills’ Oscar nominations came for Evolution, produced in 1971 by the nfb, and The History of the World in Three Minutes Flat, produced in 1980. He has also won a Golden Bear from the Berlin Film Festival, a first at the London Film Festival, and of course, a slew of honors from national advertising competitions including the Bessies, the Marketing Awards and the Quebec industry’s Coq d’Or awards.

This year, Mills is developing Thumbnail Theatre, an extended animation/live-action tv/cd-rom educational children’s series based on classic world literature.

He says finishing touches are being applied to an eight-minute pilot, with the goal to produce 26 half-hour episodes. Kutoko, a Montreal computer software developer, is also working on the project. Astral Multimedia and Editions Dupuis have an option.

Triangle at Red River

A rugged, foreign frontier adventurer renounces his reckless past and his friendship with a Plains Indian for the love of a beautiful woman in Red River, a $13 million historical miniseries currently in front of the cameras on the Stony Reserve near Calgary.

Coproduced by Montreal’s Productions egm and Transfilm and France’s GMT Productions, the 10-week shoot moves to Rawdon, Que. Aug. 18 for three additional weeks.

The production is a sort of ‘return engagement’ for the prolific producing partners who earlier this year shot the three-hour, high-definition miniseries La Belle epoque on location in Paris, says egm associate producer Brigitte Germain.

Shot in English, Red River is directed by Yves Boisset (Taxi mauve, L’Affaire Dreyfus) and produced by egm’s Nardo Castillo, Transfilm’s Claude Leger and gmt’s Jean-Pierre Guerin.

Leading players include French actors Christophe Malavoy and Thierry Fortineau, Italian actors Claudia Koll and Lucrezia Lante Della Rovere, and Canadian actors Eric Schweig (Last of the Mohicans, Squanto) and Nick Mancuso.

Selected Canadian craft credits go to line producer Josee Mauffette, production designer Claude Pare, dop Paul Van der Linden, costume designer Mario Davignon and casting director Vera Miller of Elite Casting. The shoot is crewed by various iatse locals in Alberta and the stcvq in Quebec.

Red River is a four-hour or two-part 90-minute presentation presold to TF1 in France, which has the first window, Canal+, which will broadcast it as a feature, rai in Italy and wdr in Germany. Malofilm Distribution has the Canadian rights. Canadian investors include sodec – Quebec, the Quebec tax credit, Malofilm Distribution and Telefilm Canada.

Germain reports egm and Transfilm are planning a fall shoot for Prey, an $8 million feature from writer/director Rospo Palenberg. The film will be shot in mid-September in the Montreal region. The u.k.-born, Hollywood-based Palenberg was the screenwriter on three excellent John Boorman movies, Deliverance, Excalibur and The Emerald Forest. Prey is his directorial debut.

Busy season for Allegro

Shooting wrapped July 30 on Marked Man, a $2 million action story from director Marc Voizard (La Presence des ombres) and Allegro Films producers Franco Battista and Tom Berry.

In this feature film, a prison escapee attempts to prove his innocence after being framed by his vicious jailers.

For Allegro, the production marks the start of a super busy shooting season, with up to four additional feature projects being prepped: two dramas, The Color Gray and Random Encounter; the French-language feature Vengeance de la femme en noir, the $3 million sequel to director Roger Cantin’s detective mystery/spoof L’Assassin jouait du trombone which is slated for a mid-September start; and Truax, a bigger-budget sci-fi feature in the late financing stage that’s headed for an October start-up.

Credits on Marked Man go to actors Roddy Piper, Jane Wheeler, Miles O’Keefe and Alina Thompson. Craft credits go to art director Csaba Kertesz, dop Stephen Reizes, pm Renaud Mathieu and u.s. screenwriter Thomas Ritz.

Targeted primarily at the home-video market, Marked Man is distributed domestically by Allegro Films Distribution and internationally by l.a.-based Pierre David and Image Organization.

In other news, Allegro reports director Christian Duguay’s sci-fi thriller Screamers will be given a wide release by Triumph on some 1,500 u.s. screens Oct. 13.

Thriller from Ruvinsky

Telescene Communications rolls into high gear for five weeks in mid-August with the start of principal photography on Outrage at Taunton Falls, a character-thriller feature film from Montreal writer/director Morrie Ruvinsky.

Produced by Telescene president Robin Spry and executive produced by Paul Painter, the $2 million film tells the rather au courant tale of a young woman who meets a star athlete at an ad agency shoot. A car accident begins a downhill descent to terror and a chance encounter culminating in a brutal sexual assault and manslaughter. For all her desperate efforts at resistance, the young woman awakes in the shadowy psychological netherworld of the hunted.

Selected credits go to dop Bert Tougas, production designer John Meighen, line producer Micheline Garant, assistant line producer Kathy Wolfe, casting agency Elite and creative consultant Alicia Ruvinsky. The shoot is crewed by the stcvq.

Ruvinsky’s credits include two suspense features, Improper Channels (1980) and Catholics, Jews and Body Snatchers, a.k.a. Over His Dead Body (1990).

In other news, creative affairs director Anita Simand reports Telescene has sold its $12 million historical docudrama Hiroshima to Radio-Canada, which will broadcast the miniseries Aug. 7 and Aug. 14. However, apparently there’s real disappointment the production has not been picked up by a major broadcaster in English Canada. Despite the heavy dose of primetime reruns throughout the summer, ctv, Global, wic, Baton and cbc couldn’t find an available slot.

In the u.s., Showtime will broadcast the entire program Aug. 6, the 50th anniversary of the dropping of the A-bomb.

Hiroshima is the first production under the Canada/Japan coproduction agreement. It was directed by Roger Spottiswoode and coproduced by Daiei, Tokyo. Hallmark Entertainment, New York, has foreign rights.

STCVQ action

Late July/early August stcvq action incudes Le Sous-sol, a Max Films feature from director Pierre Gang; Les Silence des fusils, a Productions La Fete feature from director Arthur Lamothe; Algonquin Goodbye, a Filmline International feature film coproduction with the u.k., directed by Russell Mulcahy; and Urgence, a medical drama series from Productions Prisma directed by Michel Poulette.

The union also reports six productions aiming for fall startups: Marguerite Volant, a Cite-Amerique historical drama; Mother Night, a u.s. location shoot from Newline Productions; Lafontaine, les fables et la francophonie, a four-episode Intuition Communications series; Pudding Chomeur, an Aska Films feature; Minik, a Tele-Action feature film coproduction with the u.k., and Ces Enfants d’ailleurs, a Neofilms historical miniseries to be coproduced with Poland and shot in both Quebec and Poland.