Apple and Spice shooting New Blood

With a wrap date scheduled for Dec. 19, production is underway in Toronto on New Blood, a feature thriller from local production company Apple Creek Communications and Spice Factory of the u.k.

Written and directed by Canadian newcomer Michael Hurst and produced by Apple Creek’s Andy Emilio and Spice Factory’s Jason Piette, the Canada/u.k. copro features a strong cast with international appeal and name recognition.

John Hurt (Love and Death on Long Island, The Elephant Man) stars along with Nick Moran (Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels), Shawn Wayans (The Wayans Bros., Don’t Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in The Hood), Carri-Anne Moss (The Matrix) and Joe Pantolino (The Fugitive, La Bamba).

New Blood will be distributed worldwide by Scanbox, Denmark, except in Canada where Lions Gate Films will handle the flick.

The film’s plot concerns Hurt’s character, Alan White, making a deal with his mortally wounded hoodlum son Danny (Moran), to protect Danny’s criminal band of friends from vicious mobsters in exchange for Danny donating his heart to his twin sister who desperately needs a transplant.

And so begins the most terrifying night of Alan’s life.

Got it? Good.

*Chamberlain biopic has Canuck coproducer

The filmed life story of basketball superstar Wilt Chamberlain will be shot in Canada, most likely as a Canadian film, as part of a four-picture deal inked between Toronto-based NCH Entertainment and Chamberlain’s prodco Hundred Point Films.

In addition to The Wilt Chamberlain Story, other films to be produced under the pact over the next two years include Grizzly Six, an action-adventure starring Chamberlain; Dance or Die, a ‘girl-powered’ action-adventure story; and Bliss, a detective mystery based on the Lenny Bliss novels by Bob Sloan.

According to nch president Ian Ng Cheng Hin, the majority of films will be shot in Vancouver. Preproduction on Grizzly Six has already begun in Vancouver and principal photography will commence in the new year.

nch, which has offices in Toronto and Beverly Hills, is an affiliate of NCH International of Toronto.

*Film One has its ‘Claws’ in again

Producer/actor Jalal Merhi’s prolific martial arts/action movie production company Film One Productions is at it again, shooting the third installment of its Tiger Claws film series along with fellow t.o. prodco Annex Entertainment.

Tiger Claws iii is written and directed by J. Stephen Maunder, with Annex’s Richard Borchiver and Paul Wynn exec producing. Merhi is producing the chop-socky pic and Curtis Peterson is the dop.

This time out, police detectives Richards (Merhi) and Masterson (Cynthia Rothrock) encounter an ancient evil force – the spirits of three Chinese master killers who have reawakened to wreak havoc on modern-day New York.

Hong Kong action star Carter Wong also appears.

As usual, the latest Tiger Claws installment is being shot at Film One’s studio facilities housed at a converted theater space on Donlands Avenue in Toronto’s east end. The complex has been expanded and now contains a soundstage, production offices, two fully equipped film editing suites, a video offline suite and a 25-seat 35mm screening room.

Tiger Claws iii will most likely be distributed on video by mca, and may enjoy a theatrical release in Europe, South Asia and even parts of North America.

Next up for Merhi’s prodco is a film called Fatal Exchange. Directed by Roger Vadim, Fatal Exchange is in preproduction and will begin shooting in the new year.

Merhi is also developing Saber Hill, an action thriller in association with Lotus Pictures that will shoot entirely in the u.s.

Tiger Claws iii marks Film One’s 13th feature since its inception in 1989.

*Calling all 5’4′ francophones

A pair of historical docudramas shooting in Toronto earlier this month put the skills of casting directors Paul E. Jackson and Linda Continenza of Toronto-based Masala Blue Casting to the test.

The pair was asked to cast roles needed for a docudrama on Niagara Falls, produced by Toronto-based Screenlife for a&e, as well as for CineNova’s Napoleon’s Fleet: The Battle of The Nile.

While both shoots were non-union, which severely limited the choice of talent, according to Jackson, finding a suitable Napoleon was the biggest challenge. ‘There just aren’t that many five-foot-four non-actra members who speak both English and French and look like Napoleon,’ he says.

*Not-for-profit TV

This one’s hot off the Canada Newswire service. Gary Nolte Films & Talent is an Ottawa-based non-profit federal corporation whose objective ‘is to produce movies for tv and on-screen viewing.’

The organization’s founder is Gary Nolte, a Canadian thespian who, according to a press release distributed by the organization, ‘has been in a various number of productions.’

Gary Nolte Films & Talent is currently working on a sitcom about ‘a Christian family living in the ’90s’ called For Heaven’s Sake. According to the same communique, ‘the cost to produce just one episode is approximately $65,000. . . [and] due to high expenses and demand by the film and television industry we are in great need of donations.’

An address where personal cheques can be sent is then provided.

You must admit, this method does remove the middleman (Telefilm, ctf) in getting public dollars into producers’ pockets.

Calls to the organization were not returned at press time.

*OFDC remains dialed in

The Ontario Film Development Corporation and its Calling Card program sponsors have selected another round of calling card teams and announced a Showcase Television broadcast date for the completed short films.

The awarded projects are Closing Time (Marteinn Throsson, producer; Thor Hendrikson, director) and Shooter (Dennis McGrath, producer; Mark Morgenstern, director).

The first four completed films, which include Moving Day, winner of the best short film prize at Sudbury’s Cinefest, will be broadcast on Dec. 19 at 7 p.m. on Showcase.

To date, 15 Calling Card films have been greenlit since the program’s inception in October ’97.


While producer Colin Brunton of Toronto’s Mainline Creative is an accomplished director, having helmed a number of films in the past, he is not attached to direct his project Vigilance, a movie in development with the cbc.