B.C. Scene: Cold Squad hottest candidate for Baton’s Vancouver series

Vancouver: A series about detectives investigating old homicides in Vancouver is the premise for the leading prospect for Baton Broadcasting’s patronage now that civt has become the newest group of call letters in Vancouver-Victoria broadcasting.

Developed by Vancouver producer Julia Keatley, The Cold Squad has been a year in development. A one-time project for Lifetime in the u.s., the show comes with a partner – Atlantis.

Other details are sketchy and Keatley – understandably feeling awkward about divulging anything prior to an official Baton go-ahead – says only that an announcement is forthcoming.

But she is incensed about rumors that her Toronto partners are pushing for a Toronto-based creative team, a situation that would make Cold Squad little different than other service productions in town.

She’s a born and bred Vancouverite, she stresses. And, yes, she’ll hire Vancouver people whenever possible.

-Action, she said

Vancouver wunderkind director Mina Shum takes her sophomore turn as a feature film director with Drive, She Said. The auteur of Double Happiness leads crews between March 6 and April 18.

The $2 million film – about a couple separated when she is kidnapped in a bank robbery – features Sandra Oh (Double Happiness).

- The Widower, a small-budget feature by locals, is scheduled to wrap this month. About a widower who hallucinates that is wife is still alive, the half-million-dollar film stars Vancouver actors and is directed by music video maker Marcus Rogers.

- High Stakes is a reality-inspired story about a woman with a gambling problem. Featuring Cynthia Gibb (Fame, Fire on the Mountain), the mow shoots until March 12 and will air on Lifetime in the u.s.

- Northern Exposure star Janine Turner returns to the Pacific Northwest for Circle of Deceit, an abc mow thriller about woman who is stalked and framed by her estranged husband. It shoots until March 14.

- usa mow Daughters retells the tragic true story of a woman who marries an abusive man. Featuring Holly Marie Combs (Picket Fences) and Roxanne Hart (Chicago Hope), it shoots until the end of the month and could air as soon as May.

- Teri Garr is featured with Full House’s Candace Cameron Bure in nbc’s The Soul of Laura Fairgate, a tv movie about a woman who turns up in a town on the anniversary of the death of another woman whom she resembles. The project just wrapped Feb. 22.

- And the inaugural episode of Stargate, the new mgm series that takes up Studio 5 at The Bridge Studios, was launched Feb. 18. The series, based on the sci-fi feature, stars Richard Dean Anderson.

-Them thar hills

British Columbia Film is offering filmmakers outside Greater Vancouver a 10% bonus on their contributions from the Market Incentive Program. It’s a move expected to stimulate production centers outside Vancouver, especially on Vancouver Island. The funding agency says that companies from Victoria, Kelowna and other small centers already access the programs on a modest basis. mip payments are triggered by broadcaster and distributor presales.

-Studios, ahoy

Hoping to cash in on increased volumes this summer, the new Westcoast Victoria Studios expects to have paying customers by May. The principals of Victoria Studios signed a deal at the end of January to lease a vehicle maintenance facility at CFB Esquimalt.

The 13,000-square-foot space has clear spans and lots of parking, says backer Ian Ferguson, a business consultant who is in partnership with b.c. publisher David Black and commercial real estate player Frank Summers.

Leasehold improvements are underway; the investment should come in under $300,000.

With referrals from the B.C. Film Commission and overbooked The Bridge and North Shore Studios, Ferguson hopes to land a tv series. While rates will be competitive and some incentives will be offered to woo projects to the Island, there are no leads yet.

-Movement afoot

Vancouver’s embattled Motion Works is once again moving forward. The multimedia company that was purchased by Greenlight Communications (47%) last year, has embarked on a future that includes special effects. Motion Works – with its Flame system and Emmy-winner designer – is doing 140 effects shots for Greenlight’s feature Lazer Hawk, which is currently in post.

Motion Works is also designing the cd-rom for the first animated feature from 20th Century Fox – Anastasia.

-But driving six white horses?

She Makes Mountain Calls is a documentary from Mayne Island-based producer/director Barbara Reid. The show – which airs in March on Vision and April on wtn – chronicles the life of physician Joan Ford of New Westminster and her humanitarian work in Nepal.

Mountain Calls is the first in Reid’s six-part series entitled To Light a Candle which looks at the international efforts of six Canadians. Reid’s next segment, A Man Called Bob, will begin shooting in Vietnam in June.

Meanwhile, short film Bernice – written and directed by Vancouver filmmaker Elizabeth Murray – aired Valentine’s Day on cbc’s Canadian Reflections.

Bernice is the story of three women: a flower shop owner, her grumpy and terminal aunt and an eccentric tap dancer. The film stars local actors Mary Black, Brenda McDonald and Pat Armstrong.

Murray’s two other short films – Murmuration and Vancouver 37 – have previously met with critical, festival and broadcast success.

-Plugged in

Terminal City – the first evidence that Susan Stranks and Lisa Purdy are at work at cbc Vancouver’s new television development office – will air its first episode March 1. The half-hour music and comedy show features Vancouver musicians and a different Canadian celebrity host each week.

First up, Winston Rekert (Neon Rider) plays host to rockers 54-40 and Celtic band Paperboys. Week two features host Sara Botsford (e.n.g.) and alternative group Pluto and hard-to-label singer Veda Hille. Other hosts include William B. Davis (The X-Files), politician Svend Robinson and figure skater Brian Orser.

Upcoming acts include Jim Byrnes, Barney Bentall and Molly’s Revenge.

The show, airing at 11:30 p.m., will only be seen in b.c.