Canuck-made movies makes 190 hours of TV p'gramming

MONTREAL — Alliance Communications has added four new movies to its already busy TV slate, bringing its production tally for the year up to a record 190 hours of TV programming. This reps a 41% increase over last year, when Alliance produced 133 hours of TV fare.

The four new TV pics have been placed with Canuck broadcasters and will screen next season. The projects are from indie Canadian producers, with Alliance Intl. picking up all world rights to the movies.

True tale

Set to lens in Manitoba, “Hard Time: The David Milgaard Story” is the true tale of a man wrongly convicted of murder. It’s a Barna-Alper/Bar Harbour/Marble Island Pictures production. Laszlo Barna, Ritchard Findlay and Martin Harbury are executive producers and it has been presold to CTV/Baton in Canada.

“North of 60: The Movie” is based on the long-running CBC-TV series, but it has more of an action-adventure plotline than the dark, dramatic series, according to Christine Shipton, senior vice president of creative affairs at Alliance Television. The movie, to air on CBC, is an Alberta Filmworks production, with Tom Dent-Cox and Doug MacLeod serving as executive pro-ducers.

International murder story

Set to shoot in Ontario, “External Affairs” is a Shaftesbury Films production about a Canadian ambassador who is implicated in the murder of a Russian artist. Executive producer on the made-for-CBC telefilm is Christina Jennings (“Camilla”).

The fourth pic announced by Alliance Monday is “One Heart Broken Into Song,” the story of a black woman’s struggle against the odds in Depression-era Nova Scotia. The movie is a Picture Plant production, with Bill MacGillivray executive producing.

Alliance will begin selling the four TV movies this fall, likely unveiling them at the upcoming Mipcom mart. The fact that the four projects are all made-in-Canada stories is not a minus for Alliance, Shipton said.

“We don’t see them as tough sells,” said Shipton. “There’s a tremendous appetite around the world for this type of product.”

With the four movies, Alliance will be delivering 42 hours of TV movies and miniseries this year. In addition, the Canadian company will be producing 128 hours of drama series and 40 half-hours of animation.

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