From a CHUM media release:
Screen Legends, a series of vignettes and a companion book celebrating Canada’s stars of the silver screen, launches September 8
From the silent images of the 1900s, to the technological innovations of the 21st century, Canadians have played not only prominent but crucial roles in the history of film. Screen Legends, a new series of vignettes released through a partnership between CHUM Television, NBC Universal Canada and the Historica Foundation of Canada, and a companion book by McArthur & Company, celebrates 50 of Canada’s greatest stars of the silver screen with an official launch on September 8th at the CHUM Festival Schmooze party.
Narrated by renowned film and stage actor Colm Feore, the Historica Screen Legends one-minute vignettes portray the extraordinary lives of Canadians who left their cities, towns and farms to make their mark on the world’s screens. Patrick Watson, creative director of the Historica Foundation, and Michael A. Levine are executive producers for the Screen Legends series. Award-winning Mitchell Gabourie directs the profiles, which are written by journalist and filmmaker Bruce Yaccato. The series is dedicated to Brian Linehan, who wrote three of the profiles before his passing in 2004.
Among the little-known facts included in the new Screen Legends vignettes: Hamilton’s Florence Lawrence was called “Hollywood’s First Star;” Montréal’s Douglas Shearer invented the equipment and technology to make sound on film possible and won 14 Academy Awards for his efforts; and three of the first four Best Actress Oscars were won by Canadians.
The Screen Legends project is about the celebration of Canadian stars, and the importance of recognizing the remarkable talent that comes from this country,” said Marcia Martin, Vice President, Production, CHUM Television. “CHUM has long been committed to fostering and supporting a Canadian star system, so naturally we are delighted to be involved in this project.”
“We are pleased to be working with CHUM and the Historica Foundation once again to commemorate the Canadians who have made such great contributions to the worlds of film, theatre and television. This is a fantastic opportunity to share more of the stories we can all be proud of,” said Ron Suter, Senior Vice President, Universal Studios Canada.
“This series of one-minute biographies gives viewers the essence of these larger-than-life Canadian legends,” said Patrick Watson, Historica’s Creative Director and Executive Producer of the series. “Building on the success of the acclaimed Historica Minutes, Screen Legends bring new and often-times forgotten stories from Canada’s past into living rooms and classrooms across Canada.”
CHUM and NBC Universal each contributed $500,000 to fund the not-for-profit project, and the profiles were produced by CHUM Television for the Historica Foundation. The series will air on Star! beginning September 15,which will premiere 10 Screen Legends vignettes – one a week for 10 weeks, every Friday at 7pm ET – after which all 50 will air in rotation on CHUM stations and be distributed for educational use. Screen Legends DVDs will be available for purchase at www.histori.ca at the end of September 2006.
In-depth profiles on each of the legends will also be available in a companion book, Screen Legends, published by McArthur & Company and written by Bruce Yaccato, who digs deeper into these amazing stories. Through extensive editorial and visual research, Yaccato takes readers into the world of Canada’s legendary film stars and gives insight into the reviews – good and bad – of the most formidable film critics ever. The book delves into the successes, failures, challenges and performances of Canada’s first and most celebrated stars of the silver screen.
“Screen Legends is the latest in a continuing list of bestselling books McArthur & Company has published in partnership with the Historica Foundation and Patrick Watson,” said Kim McArthur, President & Publisher, McArthur & Company, Toronto. “McArthur & Company is always proud to publish interesting and little-known stories about Canadians and their history for our readers in Canada and internationally.”
To further support the project, the Toronto Star will be launching a weekly feature on the first 10 Screen Legends profiles airing on Star!. Every Friday for 10 weeks, the Toronto Star readers will have the opportunity to read excerpts from the life story of these celebrated legends, followed by the television premiere at 7pm on Star!.
“Screen Legends is a fabulous educational project that will remind Canadians of the wealth of talent this country has produced over the past 100 years. The Toronto Star is pleased to augment our coverage of Canada’s film community by sharing its worthy endeavor with our readers,” said Janet Hurley, Entertainment Editor, Toronto Star.
The Historica Foundation is a charitable organization dedicated to helping Canadians discover the fascinating stories that make our country unique. Through our education programs and authoritative resources we connect Canadians to our many histories. We invite you to discover your place in history at www.histori.ca.