Everything about Hard Rock Medical, eh?

Link: Hard Rock Medical is us: True North and fun

From John Doyle of the Globe and Mail:

Hard Rock Medical is us: True North and fun
Hard Rock Medical (Sunday, TVO, 8 p.m.) is also anchored firmly in Northern Ontario and it returns for another season this weekend. It isn’t as grand, as sweeping or as grim as Cardinal, but it’s a fascinating, sometimes fabulous little show that is a lopsided look at us – the Canada that isn’t usually the focus of TV drama. By the way, all episodes of Hard Rock Medical are streaming on TVO’s website starting Monday. You don’t have to be in Ontario to see it. Continue reading.

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TVO’s Hard Rock Medical embraces North Bay in Season 3

Derek Diorio uses the word “talent” a lot when talking about North Bay, Ont. The city, almost four hours up Highway 11 from Toronto, was the new home for Season 3 of TVO’s Hard Rock Medical.

Returning on Sunday, Jan. 8, at 8 p.m. ET on the network, Diorio not only sings the praises of the city and its environs but the folks who live and work there too. After two seasons of filming in Sudbury, Ont., the medical drama decamped for a couple of reasons, one of which was a partnership with Canadore College.

As with previous seasons, these new nine instalments follow the adventures of medical students enrolled in the fictional Hard Rock U, loosely based on Lakehead University and Laurentian University’s Northern Ontario School of Medicine. Sunday’s debut and the second episode boast some intriguing storylines: Gary (Mark Coles Smith) and Charlie (Stéphane Paquette) are embedded with an EMS team, Eva (Andrea Menard) and Melanie (Melissa Jane Shaw) are placed on a First Nations reserve, and Dr. Healy (Patrick McKenna) begs to return to work. We spoke to Hard Rock Medical co-creator Diorio about the move to North Bay and what fans to expect from Season 3.

Season 3 was filmed in North Bay, Ont., after being in Sudbury for two seasons. Why the change?
Derek Diorio: There is always a bit of a gap in production of about 18 months. And in the interim, Sudbury really got hot. The Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation has put funding into a lot of productions and just as we were about to go into production, they also financed Cardinal. That was a big, huge, production and they sucked up a lot of the local resources and shooting days. If they were shooting for 50 days we were shooting for 30.

In previous seasons, I had built a relationship with Canadore College and the students in two of the programs there, Television and Digital Cinema. It was such a great experience working with the kids in the program. Conversations took place and I was asked if I would move production to North Bay. It was an ideal fit. I cannot say enough good things about the people running the program at Canadore. There are really good programs in Toronto at Ryerson and here in Ottawa with the Algonquin program, but there is something special going on in North Bay. The people who are there really care about what they’re doing and there is money because of the NOHFC and an industry. We had so much talent there, and it raised the game of the show.

I love the fact that, through this partnership with Canadore, the students are not only getting paid to do the work but are getting a hands-on education working on a television series.
What I keep stressing is that Canadore is unique. You can attend their programs and you can graduate with a television or film credit. I don’t think there are any other programs in North America that come close. It’s a small college, but it has a really good program.

We’re a small production and our budget is extremely low. There are lots of great actors in Toronto that I don’t really have access to because I can’t bring a day player in from there because it costs me $3,000. We designed the show, very heavily this year, around actors that were available to us in the North Bay area. I think we put 45 actors from North Bay in continuing roles. And the music that we use in the show are from acts in the area; our music is composed by a guy from North Bay. I think the area has improved the show.

A storyline that struck me in Episode 1 was Eva and Melanie out on Nipissing First Nation and a patient with cancer. It’s a very timely storyline.
There are two things we try to do with the show. Every year we loosely follow the curriculum of the Northern Ontario School of Medicine. It’s great because it gives us structure. We also look at what the school does and come up with our own premise or torn from the headlines stories. The whole First Nations storyline began torn from the headlines and we drifted off into a completely different storyline. We’re writing for the environments that are easily accessible to us, so 80 per cent was shot in and around Canadore and the edge of Nipissing First Nation is about five minutes from the campus. We were driven a lot by location and made it Eva’s reservation. And then you just start exploring what can happen on a reserve. The idea of bringing Melanie into the storyline was very much a fish out of water. Part of our theme for Eva this year is that it’s tough to go home. She has the ambitions to do it, but it turns out to be a lot harder than she thought it would be.

Gary and Charlie are embedded with the EMS. I was surprised to see Charlie break down following the scene of a car accident.
Charlie is the least likely to succeed and he’s our comic foil as well. We want to show his scope and the reality of students who have three or four kids and decide to go back to school. The pressure is unbelievable and one of the things that comes up is marriages are really tested by medical school. Most people who enter medical school are doing it coming out of university and are footloose and fancy-free and very few are connected. But what happens with Charlie is actually pretty funny too.

So, it’s just you and co-creator Smith Corindia doing all of the writing?
That’s it. We don’t have a choice, dude. But there is a huge advantage to that. We pound out a story arc for a character or two characters and go through all of the episodes. And then it’s lather, rinse and repeat for the rest of the characters. And then you assemble them all into the episodes and you find that one episode has 40 scenes in it and other has 15 and you adjust. You adjust the outlines and then you go to script and it’s actually quite a fast process.

Hard Rock Medical airs Sundays at 8 p.m. ET on TVO. All of the episodes will be available on TVO.org beginning on Jan. 9.

Hard Rock Medical airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET on APTN beginning on Feb. 8.

Images courtesy of TVO.

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APTN brings new stories for the New Year

From a media release:

Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN) announced its new winter schedule today. The fresh lineup blends exciting new shows with returning favorites.

Hard Rock Medical, Season 3 – A diverse group of students navigate their way through a dramatic four-year adventure in the most unusual medical school in the world.

Guilt Free Zone, Season 2 – Derek Miller and the GFZ Tallboys will unveil a brand new song on every episode of their comedic music/variety show series.

Les Sioui-Bacon, Season 5 – The Sioui-Bacon clan are stronger than ever and under the same roof.

Tribal Police Files – Officers share the most dangerous moments they have faced in the line of duty while stressing the importance of cultural practices. Ride along as the real-drama unfolds.

Dene A Journey, Season 2 – A documentary series following urban Indigenous individuals undertaking the task of discovering their traditional Dene roots.

underEXPOSED, Season 4 – Grace Dove gets her final crack at becoming a successful action sports photographer.

Taken – Continuing the search for missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in Canada, Taken airs in Cree as part of the Aboriginal-language programming.

Be sure to tune in every Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 9:00 p.m. for APTN Movies. See aptn.ca/movies for the star-studded movie schedule!

APTN’s 2017 winter programming season launches on January 2. See the full schedule at aptn.ca/schedule!

APTN PROGRAMMING HIGHLIGHTS FOR WINTER 2017

NEW ORIGINAL SERIES
TRIBAL POLICE (WORLD PREMIERE – DOC SERIES)
Ride along as the real-life drama unfolds with the Stl’atl’imx Tribal Police Service. This docu-series explores the challenges faced by officers serving on BC’s only tribal police force.

aptn e Friday, March 3 7:30 p.m. ET
aptn w Friday, March 3 7:30 p.m. MT
aptn n Friday, March 3 7:30 p.m. CT
aptn hd Friday, March 3 7:30 p.m. ET

NEW SEASONS
HARD ROCK MEDICAL, SEASON 3 (APTN PREMIERE – DRAMA)
Set against a harsh Northern landscape at the most unusual medical school in the world. Multiple plotlines will gravitate towards one ultimate question: Do these students have what it takes to make it in the North?

aptn e Wednesday, February 8 8:30 p.m. ET
aptn w Wednesday, February 8 8:30 p.m. MT
aptn n Friday, February 10 1:30 p.m. CT
aptn hd Wednesday, February 8 8:30 p.m. ETBack-to-back episodes

GUILT FREE ZONE, SEASON 2 (WORLD PREMIERE – MUSIC/VARIETY)
Anchored by the comic stylings of some of Canada’s best comedic/improv actors and JUNO winner and host Derek Miller. From mad scientists to double agent janitors and more, the situations are anything but common at this fictitious urban speakeasy.

aptn e Saturday, March 18 11:30 p.m. ET
aptn w Saturday, March 18 11:30 p.m. MT
aptn n Saturday, March 18 11:30 p.m. CT
aptn hd Saturday, March 18 11:30 p.m. ET

DENE A JOURNEY, SEASON 2 (WORLD PREMIERE – DOC SERIES)
Trek with Indigenous urbanites on a journey to connect with their culture, discovering themselves along the way.

aptn e Tuesday, March 7 7:00 p.m. ET
aptn w Tuesday, March 7 7:00 p.m. MT
aptn n Saturday, March 11 1:00 p.m. CT
aptn hd Tuesday, March 7 7:00 p.m. E

underEXPOSED, SEASON 4 (WORLD PREMIERE – YOUTH SERIES)
Find out what it takes to capture extreme athletes in action. From the waves to the slopes, aspiring action sports photographer Grace Dove shows how it’s done.

aptn e Tuesday, January 3 4:30 p.m. ET
aptn w Tuesday, January 3 4:30 p.m. MT
aptn n Saturday, January 7 11:00 a.m. CT
aptn hd Tuesday, January 3 4:30 p.m. ET

HIT THE ICE, SEASON 5 (WORLD PREMIERE – YOUTH SERIES)
See dreams come true as the best young male Aboriginal hockey players compete at an intense training camp. Not everyone will make the team! Who will make the cut?

aptn e Thursday, February 2 4:30 p.m. ET
aptn w Thursday, February 2 4:30 p.m. MT
aptn n Thursday, February 4 11:30 a.m. CT
aptn hd Thursday, February 2 4:30 p.m. ET

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Link: Hard Rock Medical returns with North Bay-shot season on TVO

From Ryen Veldhuis of Bay Today:

Link: Hard Rock Medical returns with North Bay-shot season on TVO
“I’ve shot a lot in the winter up north and you always have trailers that break down among other things, and it costs a fortune and the schedule is always late. But Canadore is blessed with a lot of things, rooms, programs, and a lake and a river and huge amounts of forestry behind it. We staged at Canadore and could do pretty much everything from there.” Continue reading.

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School’s back in session with TVO’s Hard Rock Medical

From a media release:

TVO’s first commissioned drama series, Hard Rock Medical, returns with nine new episodes in January 2017. The episodes premiere on TVO starting on Sunday, January 8 at 8 pm, and for the first time, all of new the episodes will be available on demand on tvo.org following the January 8 broadcast.

Loosely inspired by the world-renowned Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM), Hard Rock Medical’s students navigate their way through an offbeat medical training program in the North at Hard Rock U. With another year of med school under their belts, the stakes are raised with the students travelling by snowmobile to rescue a lumberjack with severed fingers, tending to patients with hypothermia, and caring for seniors with addiction issues.

The students are immersed in all areas of Northern life, as they grapple with issues of medical ethics, and struggle to keep their personal lives together. In the Nipissing First Nation, Eva and Melanie face a difficult cancer case that is complicated by Eva’s relationship with the patient’s mother. Gary and Charlie are embedded with EMS teams, working alongside paramedics, local police, and emergency room doctors. Cameron and Gina are based out of a downtown clinic doing outreach to street kids, seniors, and drug addicts, and Nancy and Farida learn what it takes to be a doctor in a small regional hospital.

The series’ ensemble cast returns including Canadian talents, Patrick McKenna (The Red Green Show, Traders), Angela Asher (18 to Life, Degrassi: The Next Generation), Tamara Duarte (Degrassi: The Next Generation) and Northern Ontario favourite, Stéphane Paquette.

Mini docs that give an in-depth look into life in the North accompany the series. Created by students at North Bay’s Canadore College, topics include: the Full Moon Ceremony, inspiring accounts from the Nipissing First Nation, and the art and music of Hard Rock Medical. The short films will air on TVO in January and be available on tvo.org following the broadcast.

New episodes of Hard Rock Medical premiere on TVO beginning on Sunday, January 8 at 8 pm and repeat Mondays at 10:30 pm and Fridays at 7 pm. All nine 30-minute episodes will be available on demand on tvo.org, directly following the broadcast premiere, where viewers can also catch up on past episodes. The series will also be broadcast on the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN).

Hard Rock Medical is produced by Distinct Features and was co-created by Smith Corindia and Derek Diorio. The series received funding from the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC) to support the regional production of the series, which is shot entirely in Northern Ontario. Filming for the new episodes took place exclusively in North Bay.

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