B.C. Scene: Mandalay sends Mercy Point to Vancouver, but where?

Vancouver: It isn’t the show that shot the pilot in Vancouver or the show with the Canadian lead. Lions Gate Entertainment division Mandalay Television will produce Mercy Point, a one-hour sci-fi medical drama for upn, in Vancouver.

Details from Lions Gate were non-existent at press time, with the company not even confirming reports that the show is earmarked for Vancouver. But camera union IATSE Local 669 includes the show in its production listings.

And according to Lions Gate Studios, Mandalay’s sister company, the show won’t be shot there, even though the producers were looking at space at the facility.

According to iatse, production begins this month and runs 13 episodes until December.

Mercy Point is one of four shows on Mandalay Television’s fall slate.

Cupid, Rude Awakening and Oh Baby are the others.

– Hard time

A Prince George prison will be the backdrop during three weeks of filming of Double Jeopardy, Paramount’s new $50-million-ish feature which goes into production this month with stars Tommy Lee Jones and Ashley Judd.

In the story, Judd plays a woman wrongly convicted of killing her husband, a man who staged his own death and is eventually tracked down by her and her parole officer. Production is scheduled to wrap Oct. 2.

In other American features news, Lions Gate Studios-based Pittsburgh (formerly Ball Busted) has switched studios from mgm to Universal.

Apparently, mgm was disappointed with the star, Norm MacDonald, and the box office performance of his previous effort Dirty Work. Universal picked up the orphaned project for the sake of Pittsburgh’s writers, who have been signed to script the Andy Kaufman biopic, starring cash cow Jim Carrey.

– Shavick antics

National Lampoon’s Golf Punks, with Tom Arnold in the lead, wraps production this month for Fox Family Channel. Vancouver service producer James Shavick again leads the local action on the show, billed as a kind of Bad News Bears on the links.

Shavick is also behind the feature I’ll Remember April, a $2 million to $3 million coproduction between Shavick Entertainment and l.a.-based Regent Entertainment.

Production runs July 27 through Aug. 12 on the story set in 1942 when a Japanese sailor is stranded in California and hidden by some kids. No actors were signed at press time.

– Busy B

Service animator Studio B has expanded its facilities in Vancouver to accommodate more people and more business.

In the past 12 months, the company grew 80% to 78 employees working in 10,000 square feet. In addition, Studio B has partnered with Clint and Reg Eland of Eland FX Group to form Mercury Filmworks, a 2D digital ink-and-paint effects house.

Currently, Studio B is producing 39 episodes of Timon and Pumbaa for Walt Disney Television and 13 episodes of Ned’s Newt for Nelvana. It’s also doing two videos, Little Witch for Sony Wonder and Raggedy Anne and Andy’s Snowman Adventure for Fox Home Video.

Studio B’s proprietary title Yvon of the Yukon is still in development for ytv.

– Chilling budget

With a production budget of only $50,000, Dark Water was made on a dental floss – rather than the more robust shoestring – budget, says publicist Chris Shachtay.

A psychological thriller, Dark Water is described as a cross between Jacob’s Ladder and Seven and features a disturbed central character who comes to believe that he is the killer of pedophiles. Locals Gerry Currie and Holly Ferguson star, with Kathleen Duborg and Ron Sauve in supporting roles. Production wrapped at the end of June.

Part of the storyline, written by director Ron Chartier and Anthony Harrison, involves new investigative technology developed by a Vancouver police officer. The geographic profiling system allows investigators to pinpoint a suspect’s location from the coordinates of the crimes.

Dark Water is produced by Helen Graham. It will go immediately into post-production to be completed by the end of August. The film is bound for the festival circuit to search for a distributor.

– Links to production

Thirteen episodes of The Golf Show from Vancouver’s Divot Productions began airing on Bellingham-based kvos on July 5. Cohosts/producers/golfers Brad Ewert and Hal Quinn review Vancouver-area courses and include instruction tips and personality profiles in each episode. One guest is Barry Houlihan, one of the sports anchors ousted from bctv in its ‘out-with-the-old’ housecleaning last year.

kvos also airs locally produced reality cop show To Serve and Protect and the weekly technology program David Chalk’s Computer Show.

– Room with a view

Shangri-la’s Pacific Palisades Hotel, one of the major suppliers of accommodation to the film industry in Vancouver, has added a 16-seat screening room. The theater features Dolby sound, tiered and plush seating, theatrical lighting, and dvd, laser disc, vhs and Internet capabilities.

The film industry represents 33% of the hotel’s overall business and the Palisades is opening 300 new extended-stay suites in its four new towers.

Room rates start at $3,200 per month

– At large

Gordon Currie’s 20-minute film 2 Extra Days will debut at the Montreal World Film Festival this fall. Starring local actors Michael Rogers, Lochlyn Munro, Bernie Coulson, Ian Tracey, Nicolle Nattrass and John Taylor, the short tracks two days in the lives of movie extras.

– Word on the Street’s Kids Film Festival is looking for short films and videos about books, reading and storytelling. Deadline is July 31 and the festival will be held Sept. 27 at Library Square in Vancouver. Admission is free.

All literacy-minded, non-violent and humanistic projects under 45 minutes are eligible, even those by children. For information call (604) 224-6162.