October 2, 2000
Features and Television
Bellwood does second flick
Making the festival rounds with their first feature Deeply, Carolynne Bell and Sheri Elwood of Bellwood Stories are in
development with their second feature, Clue in the Fast Lane.
A coproduction with Berlin-based Wolfram Tichy's Time and vif
(also the coproducer on Deeply), the roughly $10-million film is
a loose adaptation of the Canadian play by Ann-Marie MacDonald
and Beverly Cooper.
"Sheri has never even read the play," says Bell, reinforcing
how loosely based the script is.
As with Deeply, which recently premiered at the Toronto
International Film Festival followed by a special presentation
screening at the Atlantic Film Festival in Halifax, Clue is
being written and directed by Elwood, with Bell and Tichy
attached to produce. Tichy also serves as exec producer.
"[Working with Tichy] is quite a blessing," says Elwood.
"He's the godfather of Canadian independent film. His European
sensibility and sensitivity to director- and writer-driven
projects is astounding, and it was a real leap of faith for him
to come on board (on Deeply) with two first-timers."
Slated to shoot next summer in Canada and Germany, with a
couple of scenes in New York, Clue is described as a comic
psychological fantasy with heart, as it follows the adventures
of a 16-year-old "loser," who, after an apparent suicide attempt
is befriended by a fictional teen-girl superhero.
Further down the pipeline, Elwood (I Was a Sixth Grade Alien)
is in development on Galaxy 5000, a family action-adventure film
she is cowriting with Michael DeCarlo (Drop the Beat).
A special fx-based film to be produced by Bell for somewhere
between $5 million and $8 million, the "Disney-type" story
follows a 12-year-old who sends away for a space device gadget,
advertised on the back of a comic book, that turns out to be the
real deal. Elwood is also attached as creative producer.
Also in development is the feature The Ballad of Amaranta
Caruso, a dark comedy about a teenage girl bullfighter in
Elwood is writing and will direct, and Bell will produce the
film that, given the plot-line and setting, will likely become a
copro with Mexico or a co-venture with a Texan company.
Outside of Bellwood, Elwood is developing a series called
SaraSaraJane, 22 half-hours about two 15-year-old girls living
on opposite sides of the Atlantic whose fates are connected.
"It's like a Sliding Doors for teens."
Eventually the project will be funneled through Bellwood, but
for now, Elwood is actively seeking a broadcaster. If the series
receives enough support, she says, there's potential for it to
turn into a one hour.
Meantime, in development outside Bellwood, Bell is working
with producer Vibiki Bianchi and Gemini Award-winning director
Steven Williams (Milgaard) on Parole, a 13-part, one-hour tv
Currently in the treatment stage, the series, set and to be
shot in Toronto, is about a parole officer and her adventures in
the criminal world.
*Hamori emerges with 51st State
Andras Hamori's new production company H2O Motion Pictures
has gone to camera on its first film, 51st State.
Shooting on location in Liverpool from Sept. 25 until
mid-December, the $28-million feature is produced by Hamori,
Seaton McLean, Jonathan Debin and Samuel Jackson, alongside
Focus Films' David Pupkewitz and Malcolm Kohll.
Cowritten by Simon Davis Barry (The Art of War), David Leland
(Mona Lisa) and Stel Pavlou, the film tells the story of a
street-wise American master chemist who becomes entrenched in
Directed by Ronny Yu (Bride of Chucky), 51st State stars such celebs as Samuel Jackson (Shaft) and Robert Carlyle (Angela's
The film was financed by Alliance Atlantis in association
with the Artists Production Group, The UK Film Consortium and
Momentum Pictures - a joint venture between aac and Kinowelt,
which is distributing the film in the u.k. Alliance Atlantis
Pictures is handling worldwide sales and Alliance Atlantis
Motion Picture Distribution will handle the Canadian release.
Hamori has a multi-film output deal with Alliance Atlantis.
*Gross curls into feature filmmaking
In his off-time, that is, when he's not playing lead in the
Stratford Festival's Hamlet four days a week, homegrown
sweetheart Paul Gross is busy rewriting the script for Men With
Brooms, a feature film about curling he is developing with
co-scribes Paul Quarrington and John Karizanc.
Set to be Gross' feature directorial debut, the film follows
four friends who reunite to win a curling tournament for their
deceased coach. "But Paul says the script is about
unemployment," says assistant Penny McDonald.
Likely a high-priced film, in Canadian terms, the budget is
currently being kept under wraps.
Gross is also producing and set to star in the film, which is
slated to shoot in late winter 2001. A location has yet to be
Emmy-Award winning producer Frank Siracusa (Summer's End),
Gross' partner in Whizbang Films, is also attached to produce.
Toronto-based Whizbang, slated up until recently to produce
ctv's Steelstring - which was supposed to star Gross as a
burnt-out rock star turned private investigator - was launched
one year ago.
Since then it has been paying the bills by providing service
work for American mows shooting in Toronto, while Gross has been
busy on stage and in development on a number of projects.
Currently, the fledgling company is handling the Toronto
shoots of Sanctuary for cbs (Sept. 11 to Oct. 6) and Crash
Course (Oct. 10 to Nov. 3) for Lifetime in the u.s.
Victorious goes to camera on Century Hotel
more than a half a dozen stories make up Victorious Films'
latest feature Century Hotel.
The film, which goes to camera Oct. 10 to Nov. 11 in Toronto,
marks co-screenwriter David Weaver's feature film directorial
debut. His short, Moon Palace (an ofdc/Showcase calling card
project), recently premiered at the Toronto International Film
In Century Hotel, cowritten by Bridget Newson and produced by
Victoria Hirst in the ballpark of $750,000, seven interwoven
stories play themselves out in a downtown hotel room over the
course of 100 years.
tva has worldwide distribution, except Germany. Citytv is
Sandra Oh is rumored to star in the feature, which was one of
the four projects this year to receive production funding from
Telefilm Canada's Toronto office.
Coincidentally, Victorious is also in development with a
feature film about curling, called The Living End.
*Roadhouse, Balmoral produce Internet feature
Roadhouse Productions, operators of the Gun for Hire studio
in Toronto, has just wrapped on the trailer for blindeye, the
company's, and perhaps the country's, first hd feature film made
primarily for the Internet.
Following in the path of Rashomon, the film, a coproduction
with Balmoral Pictures, is the story of one series of events
told from three different perspectives. A battle of the sexes,
the story focuses on an episode in which one character claims
she was raped, one character claims it was consensual sex and
another character must decide who he believes.
Through the interactive capabilities of the Internet, the
viewer can either see the events from one of the three
perspectives, from each of the three perspectives or toggle
between the three perspectives in real time.
While the film was written and designed for the Internet, and
will premiere on the Web (blindeyethefilm.com), it will also be
shot so it can translate to traditional media.
A fourth ending has been written in for it to make sense on
the big screen, says Roadhouse co-president Howard Rosen, who's
coproducing the film with partner Albert Botha.
Tim Ware wrote the screenplay and Balmoral
principal/commercial director Greg Sheppard is directing.
Currently in the casting process, the film, which Rosen
assures will be 100% Canadian, shoots in and around Toronto,
Nov. 27 to Dec. 15.
The film is budgeted at roughly us$2 million, but Rosen says
its cash budget is "considerably less."
The ultimate goal for the film, which is somewhat of an
experiment for the production team, is to syndicate it all over
the Internet and eventually sell it for broadcast and theatrical