Tag Archives: Farm Crime

Big Cedar Films wraps production on Season 2 of CBC Gem original series Farm Crime

From a media release:

Big Cedar Films has wrapped filming on the second season of its hit CBC Gem original documentary series, Farm Crime.

Production began in February but was shut down until August due to COVID-19, when the company resumed filming with a local crew in Nanaimo, British Columbia. Five of the six episodes in the season were filmed during the pandemic, which also included shoots in Nova Scotia, Ontario, Manitoba and Alberta.

Created by Big Cedar Films’ principal Geoff Morrison, and produced by Morrison and Christina Carvalho, Farm Crime launched in August 2018 and set a then record as the most-streamed CBC Gem original unscripted series over its first seven days, and over its first 12 weeks. Farm Crime earned Canadian Screen Award and Banff Rockie Award nominations, and won a raft of web series prizes, including Best Canadian Series and Best Documentary Series at 2019 ToWebFest.

The true crime-style doc series looks at unconventional offences in the world of farming and agriculture. Season one included stories of cattle rustling, the theft of millions of bees, and a 100K load of stolen blueberries. The stories for season two, which received Bell Fund and CMF Web Series funding, have yet to be announced. Season 2 of Farm Crime is targeted to premiere on CBC Gem Spring 2021.

Big Cedar Films also announced today that the Farm Crime format has been optioned by Warner Bros. Unscripted Television to develop a US version of the show. This is the second format option for the CBC Gem original, following a deal with Warner Bros. International TV Production New Zealand earlier in 2020.

This summer, Big Cedar Films teamed up with Lost Time Media to release the acclaimed CBC POV doc, Above the Law, examining police violence and accountability in Calgary. A feature version of the film, No Visible Trauma premiered at the Vancouver International Film Festival and is touring Canadian festivals.

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True crime in agriculture and farming is the focus of CBC’s excellent, unique Farm Crime

True crime is a hot genre right now thanks to podcasts like My Favorite Murder and Someone Knows Something and television series like Making a Murderer and The Detectives. But where those—and the genre on the whole—mostly deals with crimes against humans, Big Cedar Films’ Geoff Morrison takes the craze in a different direction.

Morrison, whose latest projects for CBC were Brand Canada and the excellent and creepy “The Missing Tourist,” returns to the network for the six-episode web series Farm Crime. Now available for streaming on the CBC site and app, Farm Crime investigates offences in the world of agriculture and farming. Morrison notes the infamous maple syrup heist of 2011—when 3,000 tons of the sticky stuff was stolen from a storage facility in Quebec—was the inspiration for Farm Crime. Each instalment is free-standing, so I checked out “George of Green Gables” first.

In it, co-producer and director Christina Carvalho tells the tale of PEI oysterman George Dowdle of Green Gables Oysters, who spends his waking hours tending to his oyster crop. Buoys mark each oyster farmers’ plot of water. But, unlike a piece of property being fenced in to stop thieves, there is nothing like that on the water. The result? As George says, an “arsehole” can abscond with tens of thousands of dollars in oysters in a short amount of time. But once such theft in 2016 was particularly tough on George; it occurred at the same time his wife battled brain tumours. Set against the rustic beauty of PEI, George’s story is heartbreaking and horrible as he and partner Andy Black retrace the poaching, capturing the culprit, and its aftermath.

Morrison and his team pack a lot into an episode, managing to not only outline the crime but explore the life of the victim or victims and the legal entities involved. That’s a tough job to do in an episode that clocks in at under 15 minutes, but he does it well.

Other Season 1 stories include pigeon and cattle theft, a black market butcher, a blueberry bandit (this one plays out like a good mystery) and disappearance of five million bees. All six episodes of Farm Crime are streaming on CBC’s website and the CBC App.

Image courtesy of Big Cedar Films.

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