TV, eh? | What's up in Canadian television
TV,eh? What's up in Canadian television

Preview: Smithsonian’s Hell Below heads for new waters in Season 3

Hell Below is heading to new heights in Season 3.

The documentary series from Parallax Film Productions Inc.—the crew behind Hitler’s Last Stand, Battle Castle and two previous seasons of Hell Below—has added CGI aircraft to its toolbox. The Vancouver company’s storytelling sets it apart from other projects in this genre with its grittily realistic filming, achieved through as much in-camera filming as possible, including explosions.

The purpose of Hell Below continues to be tracking submarine warfare throughout the course of the Second World War, and Parallax always hit the mark.

Returning Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET on Smithsonian Channel Canada, “Killer Strike” spotlights U-47 and its commander, Günther Prien, who is credited with the first official U-Boat kill of the Second World War when he sinks the SS Bosnia. Prien is recalled from patrol early and offered a secret mission to strike the British Royal Navy at its home port of Scapa Flow, in Scotland’s Orkney Islands. Used as far back as the Vikings, Scapa Flow has served as the Royal Navy’s base of operations since the First World War. Fighting heavy currents and dodging blockships, Prien breaks into Scapa Flow, but there is no guarantee he will make it out again.

Expert analysis, re-enactments, stock footage and always-impressive CGI help tell these tales.

Future episodes cover the true stories of German U-Boat Commander Fritz Julius Lemp and the sinking of the SS Athenia, attacks on Allied shipping off the coast of Australia, and the rescue of George H. W. Bush by a submarine after he was shot down.

Hell Below airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. Eastern on Smithsonian Channel.

Image courtesy of Parallax Film Productions Inc.

Facebooktwitterredditlinkedinmail

Shaftesbury aces inclusive stories with Crave’s The D Cut

Shaftesbury truly is a production company providing stories for everyone. Want a time period drama? Check out Murdoch Mysteries, Frankie Drake Mysteries or Dead Still. How about a more middle of the road mystery? There’s Hudson & Rex and Departure, each with their own storytelling twist. Those looking for LGBTQ2S+ characters and stories can find that too, in Carmilla, CLAIREvoyant and the brand-new series The D Cut.

The D Cut, which debuted six Season 1 instalments on Crave, visits a combination bike shop and hair salon, the latter serving the LGBTQ2S+ community. Based on a true story, The D Cut stars Marie Marolle as hairstylist D and Amrit Kaur as her newest client Viva; the web-length instalments follow D as she interacts with her existing clients, friends and Viva.

The D Cut cast.

“The D Cut was inspired by a Montreal artist [who] had a salon that was in the back of a bike shop,” says Audrey Dwyer, who co-wrote the project with Wendy Litner (How to Buy a Baby). One of the interesting things about that, she explains, was there wasn’t a set price for haircuts, so it made the experience more accessible to people who wanted to explore their look or wanted just a simple haircut. Dwyer—an actor, director and playwright—was teamed with Litner by Shaftesbury, presented with a few real stories from the shop and created their own. And while there is a dramatic tale regarding the future of the salon hanging over all, the heart of The D Cut is the will-they-or-won’t-they between D and Viva.

The D Cut co-writer Audrey Dwyer.

“[Amrit and I] had very little time to connect,” Marolle says with a laugh. “We had just one day of rehearsal and had to make a connection right away. It wasn’t easy, but we hit it off and it went really well. I was super-nervous but there also wasn’t time to be nervous.” Though they had a tight production schedule of just four shooting days—with D. W. Waterson directing—in Toronto preceded by one day of rehearsals, the chemistry between Marolle and Kaur is there from the moment D and Viva lock eyes. It gave me goosebumps. It’s performances like theirs that get me excited about Canadian content, especially when there are inclusive, diverse stories being told.

“It’s actually pretty awesome watching a brown person kiss a French woman on-screen,” Kaur says. “I’ve never seen that, so I was really excited to be a part of it. Hopefully, I get to tell more gay stories because I love to.”

All six episodes of The D Cut are available on Crave now.

Cast images courtesy of Shaftesbury. Audrey Dwyer image courtesy of Caro Ibrahim.

Facebooktwitterredditlinkedinmail

Cristina Rosato and Greyston Holt among first to film during pandemic

While many cities and provinces are still mapping out how, exactly, television and feature films will resume production during COVID-19, Cristina Rosato and Greyston Holt are already back at work.

The real-life couple is among the first of North America’s actors to re-start filming, starring in the TV-movie For Better or Worse, in B.C.’s Okanagan Valley. And while Rosato and Holt didn’t have to worry about social distancing when it came to working with each other—they are a couple after all—not so the case with the rest of the cast and crew.

“We originally thought we might be back filming For Better or Worse, very conservatively, in August, September or October,” Holt says, on the line from Vancouver alongside Rosato. “When we got the call that we would potentially be filming on June 8 as a start date, it was surreal. It didn’t make sense that something was coming back that early.” But, with pandemic cases in B.C. holding steady, the project went to camera with guidelines to keep everyone safe.

Rosato describes the taking and recording of daily temperature checks for everyone on the cast and crew, with the stipulation that anyone having a fever would be immediately tested and would not return to set until the testing was complete; no one had a fever or became sick. Everyone reported to a sanitization station and put on masks. Champlain Media, the production company behind For Better or Worse, had everyone involved in the project stay in the same resort during filming.

“We just always wore a mask,” Rosato says. “And then when we were rolling, we would take them off.” Because of the way the script was written, day players and extras were kept to a minimum and only a very small, core cast interacted with each other.

For Better or Worse stars Rosato as Olivia Owens the owner of a community garden centre. Holt portrays Brian Wolf, a property developer for low-cost housing. Brian’s aim is to tear down Olivia’s garden in favour of subsidized housing. There is, of course, friction between the pair that only grows when they’re paired up for a friends’ wedding. It’s the light-hearted TV-movie fare we’ve come to expect from projects like Holt’s previous work in A Very Country Wedding, A Puppy for Christmas and Love is a Piece of Cake. Holt believes that, with the world being such a crazy place, viewers like to watch people falling in love and jump at the chance for some light escapism.

With pandemic fears continuing, For Better or Worse couldn’t be more timely, content-wise. And, with production ramping back up, Rosato and Holt realize For Better or Worse could serve as the template for TV and film.

“We felt a real responsibility to do it right and not mess it up for everyone else,” Rosato says. “We were very, very aware of playing by the rules and we hope that other people can get back to work because of it.”

Image courtesy of Shawn Goldberg/Shutterstock.

Facebooktwitterredditlinkedinmail

Link: ‘These queens are fierce’: Canada’s Drag Race brings a maple flavour to RuPaul’s franchise

From Debra Yeo of the Toronto Star:

Link: ‘These queens are fierce’: Canada’s Drag Race brings a maple flavour to RuPaul’s franchise
“Whenever I’m in other countries, people always say, ‘You’re Canadian?’ as if it’s a shocking thing. We have some amazing talent here and drag is one of those amazing talents.” Continue reading. 

Facebooktwitterredditlinkedinmail