For the Record producers eye int’l opportunities ahead of SXSW premiere

The music-themed CBC Gem original, produced by Anthology Productions and iThentic, is one of the final projects worked on by late music supervisor David Hayman.

A nthology Productions and iThentic are gearing up for the international premiere of For the Record at SXSW, with hopes the music-themed CBC Gem original will pique international interest and continue the legacy of David Hayman, the highly respected music supervisor who died last May.

julian main headshotCreated by Julian DeZotti (who is also the creator behind Whatever, Linda and Ming’s Dynasty, pictured), the six-part digital series centres on a couple who must divvy up their record collection after they break up. However, the records and the memories they conjure make the split more difficult than they had imagined.

Every episode features a “centrepiece” song, with each song coming from Universal Music Canada’s catalogue. It includes tracks from artists such as The Weeknd, The Beach Boys, Nina Simone and Bob Marley.

The project is an expansion of DeZotti’s 2017 short film of the same name. The writer, director and actor tells Playback Daily that when he brought the short to Hayman and explained his vision for expanding it into a music-themed episodic series, Hayman understood the vision immediately. “He fell in love with it and right away saw the potential as a longer-form show.”

l_baylin_headshotFrom there, DeZotti went away and began building a six-episode story arc. Lisa Baylin, VP at iThentic, joined shortly thereafter, with the project subsequently landing financing with the Independent Production Fund (IPF), Bell Fund and later Ontario Creates.

Initially, the digital series had been with Snackable TV, the planned short-form-focused OTT from Bell Media, said Baylin (pictured right). However when the media company shelved plans to launch the streamer, DeZotti and Baylin found a new home with CBC Gem.

The cast includes Anna Hopkins, Alex Beaton and Lyriq Bent, with episodes directed by Sudz Sutherland and Theresa Rebeck. It is also features a guest performance from YouTube star Johnny Orlando.

Behind the scenes, Hayman – a renowned music supervisor who worked closely alongside Canadian film and TV producers and creators throughout his career – and Cody Partridge worked tirelessly to secure the song rights from Universal Music Canada. Hayman’s company, The Supergroup, has worked on a raft of Canadian films and series including Kim’s Convenience and Schitt’s Creek.

david haymanHayman (pictured left) and the production team sent individual letters to each of the artists requesting use of the songs, according to Baylin, which she says helped seal the deal in terms of using the songs.

In Canada, the series was released on CBC Gem in Dec. 11, with a new episode premiering each week. Now, as Anthology Productions and iThentic get set for the international premiere at SXSW (March 17), the production team is hoping to attract international eyeballs with a view to building the series into a half-hour TV drama.

“Ideally we would like to find a broadcaster or a streamer who would help us develop and find a home for this,” said DeZotti, adding that he has already planned out what a future iteration of the series might look like, including another set of songs to anchor the episodes.

Asked whether he sees For the Record as a formattable series, DeZotti says “absolutely.” And with the show’s producers being selected for Telefilm|RDV Canada’s inaugural Meet The Series production company cohort for 2020-21, DeZotti says he’s hoping to sell international buyers on the show as a scripted format. Elsewhere, DeZotti says he is continuing to work to bring Whatever, Linda to the TV market, recently attaching a lead actor and planning to begin shopping the project once again later in the year.

For the Record, the first project produced through DeZotti’s prodco Anthology Productions, is a testament to the vision, support and belief Hayman showed in Canadian creators and producers, he adds.

“It’s so sad he isn’t here to see the final product, but the spirit of David Hayman is in this show.”