Saturday, October 01, 2005

Attractions October Article

I met with producer Karen Davies, of Cedarwood Productions, recently, and we sat and talked about the Mile Zero TV series she and her husband Dai (Welsh form of David) are producing. They're both 22-year veterans of the BBC and moved to Vancouver Island just three years ago. Karen quickly noticed that there were no soap operas; in England there are about eleven soaps, each set in the shooting locale, all in a country the size of Vancouver Island. This is what they want to do with Mile Zero, a soap shot, set, and about, Victoria and its people.

Karen and David found 68 other people to share the dream with them, and managed to shoot two half-hour pilot episodes. The crew side of the camera ranges from people with little experience to a former wardrobe mistress of Twentieth Century Fox; in front of the camera is similar, but as a team they have a hope and passion for what they are doing.

This project not only highlights the actors and crew of the production but also features other artistic talents. Any time an office scene is shot, instead of decorating with generic posters, local artists works will be on the walls and then the piece and the artist will be featured on the Mile Zero website. Local musicians will also receive exposure when the credits roll; each episode will highlight a different band or singer as the credits roll at the end.

Last minute editing is wrapping up as I write this, with a completion date of October 1st set and Karen is ready to take the finished tapes to KVOS and Shaw Vancouver for their consideration. Shaw, has committed to airing episode one on the community channel 11, on October 15th at 7pm and again on the 16th at 3pm. Episode two will air the next week Saturday October 22nd 7pm and repeat on the 23rd at 3pm and the audience will determine the continued fate of the series. Be sure tell your family, friends and even enemies to watch so that Victoria can have a regular series shooting here, and hopefully that will bring more film production to the area.

Before all of this happens The Fairmont Empress Hotel is sponsoring a Gala Premiere Event in their luxurious Crystal Ballroom on the evening of October 6th. The pilot will be viewed and everyone will get a chance to mingle with the stars and crew as The Empress hosts this occasion complete with Red Carpet arrival of the stars at 6:45pm, including Miss Canada and Miss Canada runner-up, and media and fans are invited to greet them along the carpet. If you want to attend this debut experience tickets are $25 and available through mail@mile-zero.ca. There will be deserts and chocolate fountains as well as a no-host bar. Just remember that this is a Black Tie event and dress code is in effect. There will also be a Silent Auction with great prizes.

Barry Dodd of the Victoria Film Commission said that he feels that what Karen and David and their crew are doing is terrific and that he would love to see an indigenous industry here on Vancouver Island and especially in Victoria. This is exactly what Cedarwood Productions is hoping for; work close to home for islanders so they don’t have to move south to LA or east to Vancouver or Toronto to get work.

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The Victoria Film Commission is also busy preparing for the arrival of two more productions here in Victoria. Vancouver’s Front Street Productions, makers of The Deal and We Don’t Live Here Anymore, are getting ready to lens Safe Harbour a movie of the week, for an as yet undisclosed network. The other production is not yet ready to discuss their project, but I can say that it’s by the same group that brought The Engagement Ring and Patricia Heaton to town early this summer.

Nanaimo’s Cameron Bright was at the recent Toronto Film Festival for the premiere of Thank You For Smoking, about a boy who idolizes his father, a cigarette spokesman. The night before the first showing, CTV aired an interview that they did with the twelve-year-old actor on the E-Talk daily program, which covered Cameron’s acting work as well as his love of soccer and paintball.

A recent talk with one of the producers of X-Men 3, now shooting in Vancouver, revealed that the character Gambit will not appear, but he may be in the next film. The assumption has been that this is the last X-Men film but this statement may reveal plans or at least a willingness to continue making X-Men films.

The flannelled one (aka George Lucas) has put a call out for screenwriters for the planned upcoming Star Wars television series. Any writer who accepts a position will have to work at the Skywalker Ranch in California and of course, as is the way with all employees of the Star Wars Universe, they’ll have to sign a confidentiality clause. The series is set to run for 50 Hours, but how this is going to be divided up is hard to say. My guess is that we’ll see three seasons of sixteen one-hour episodes with two extra hours thrown in. The series is supposed to follow the Imperial Bounty Hunters with a few extra side stories. The series will take place in the time between Episode Three: Revenge of the Sith and Episode Four with Luke Skywalker. The majority of filming is set to take place in Australia.

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