Whizbang makes drama, not war

Despite being set in a demilitarized zone and shot in Bosnia, the eight-parter ZOS isn't really about war, according to executive producer Frank Siracusa

ZOS: Zone of Separation, the new drama produced by Whizbang Films (Men with Brooms), has returned from its 12-day stint in Bosnia and is now filming in Toronto and southern Ontario.

The eight-parter, about the enforcement of a UN-brokered ceasefire in the fictional Sarajevo-like town of Jadac, isn’t a story about war, stresses executive producer Frank Siracusa (H2O).

‘It’s about what happens when you remove civility from a community; about the absence of law… Our log line is ‘The truth is a lie,’ so it’s about how all of the [people] involved deal with finding the truth in this zone of separation.’

With a budget of $12 million, ZOS will film interiors in Toronto. Exterior shoots are planned for nearby Hamilton and Dundas. ‘Oddly enough, both Hamilton and Dundas look a lot like Tuzla,’ a valley in Bosnia, says Siracusa.

Drawn from the rich history and experiences of Canada’s peacekeepers, Siracusa credits writer Malcolm MacRury (Canada Russia ’72 ) with really bringing ZOS to life. MacRury, Paul Gross (Slings and Arrows) and Mario Azzopardi (Savage Messiah) are also exec producers, with Azzopardi directing.

ZOS expects to wrap filming Sept. 27, with an anticipated delivery of early spring 2008. It will air on Movie Central in the west and The Movie Network in the east later that spring.

On a lighter note, Whizbang is set to begin filming the two-hour TV movie The Good Witch. The 16-day, mainly exterior shoot begins Aug. 10, and will also take the cast from Toronto to Hamilton.

‘It’s about a woman with mystical, magical powers who comes to a small town,’ says Siracusa. There’s also a bit of love thrown into the mix.

Catherine Bell (Army Wives) and Chris Potter (Hairspray) are the leads. Craig Pryce (Life with Derek) directs, Ian McDougall (Whistler) produces and Orly Adelson (Ruffian) and Siracusa exec produce. A smaller budget production, The Good Witch will air in the U.S. on the Hallmark Channel later this year. Movie Central is handling Canadian distribution.