TPB scores again with Telefilm

Telefilm Canada has invested almost $3.7 million in two Atlantic Canada features, paving the way for the new Trailer Park Boys and the feature debut of Newfoundland’s Sherry White.

The sequel to the hit TPB movie will receive $3.4 million through the funder’s Canada Feature Film Fund, while White’s Crackie will get $200,000 from the same fund’s Low Budget Independent Feature Film Assistance Program.

These allocations come after a strong year for Atlantic feature films, including Chaz Thorne’s Just Buried, Justin Simms’ Down to the Dirt and Michael Melski’s Growing Op.

Gordon Whittaker, Telefilm’s regional director of business development, lauds White’s talent as a writer and short filmmaker. He describes Crackie as ‘very accomplished on the page… For us it’s a special project because she came out of a program that we helped to establish.’

Telefilm partnered with the Newfoundland Independent Filmmakers Co-operative on Picture Start, a project to benefit short filmmakers, which helped make White’s TIFF-screened short A Fine Catch.

The budget of the new TPB movie – shot in September and entitled Trailer Park Boys: Countdown to Liquor Day – is $6.6 million. Producer Mike Volpe notes that Telefilm kicked in slightly more money towards the new feature than it did for the first big-screen take on the popular Showcase series, which recently wrapped after seven seasons.

‘It was proportionally similar,’ says Volpe. ‘It was based largely on the increase in the Nova Scotia tax credits. It raised Telefilm’s potential for investment… I wouldn’t say it was easy to put it together, but all the same people came to the party.’

Another benefit was Telefilm’s policy of rewarding producers of films that have done well at the box office, the bonus performance envelope. ‘It’s great, this was the first film in that envelope for us,’ says Volpe. The first movie grossed almost $4 million at the box office.

Producer Barrie Dunn credits Ralph Holt, former head of the Telefilm Atlantic region, as one of TPB’s first fans, before even the TV show, when creator Mike Clattenburg conceived it as a black-and-white short feature.

‘When we first started nine years ago, it was tough sell, a very different kind of show,’ says Dunn. ‘But Telefilm has been a terrific supporter over the years. It’s a show that has done well commercially and, in a way, by having a successful show we have repaid our investors.’

Trailer Park Boys: Countdown to Liquor Day is tentatively scheduled to be released in October, three years to the weekend that Trailer Park Boys: The Movie came out.