Friday, July 22, 2011

Daily Gleaner: Film to focus on team's triumph after tragedy

Talk about drivel. They'd love to make a feel good movie so they wouldn't have to deal with the reality that seven boys died because of government cutbacks to school transportation. And the hypocrisy. Taxpayers' money should be spent on childrens' safety, not on a movie about seven boys who died because they were driving in an unsafe vehicle under the guidance of the NB Department of Education.

Click here to read original article in the Daily Gleaner

Homemade | Movie will be shot in Fredericton and Bathurst

Bathurst High School's dramatic march to the victory podium at the 2009 provincial basketball championships seemed cinematic at the time.

Only 13 months earlier on a snowy highway, a tragic motor vehicle accident claimed the lives of seven of the team's players and the wife of its coach, leaving the northern New Brunswick community in the depths of despair and the school's basketball program in shambles.

So it's fitting New Brunswick-based film production company Dream Street Pictures will partner with CBC Television to make a movie about the awe-inspiring tale.

The project, which is tentatively titled The Phantoms and will be written by Gemini Award-winning screenwriter Andrew Wreggit and directed by Sudz Sutherland, is slated to be shot on location in Bathurst and Fredericton between now and November.

Timothy Hogan, a co-producer of the film with Dream Street Pictures, said the production company is aware the emotions tied to this story are still quite raw.

So that's why the story will be focused on what happened a year after the fateful crash leading up to the team's triumph in a thrilling 82-50 win over the Campobello Vikings at the Aitken University Centre.

"We're not going to (portray) the accident at all. That story's been told," he said.

"Quite frankly, we're just not interested in going there for obvious reasons. We felt that this particular story (of the team's perseverance), although it did make headlines across the country, deserved to be told on a larger scale. From Day 1, our intention was to tell an inspirational story."

Hogan, a Bathurst native, said he believes the tale will resonate with Canadians from coast to coast and be a fitting tribute to the Boys In Red.

"It's about New Brunswickers. It shows the spirit these kids put forward," he said.

"These kids inspired a community that was still healing. And the community then turned around and supported these kids during their championship run. We felt that needed to be chronicled, that we needed to show that to the rest of the country."

The producer said he was unable to provide any details about the budget for the production, but it will be similar in style and scope to Sticks and Stones - the locally made film about the 2004 Friendship Series involving kids from Fredericton and Brockton, Mass.

Hogan said the project should give Fredericton and Bathurst a welcome financial boost, thanks to the money spent on hotel accommodations and meals, and other economic spinoffs tied to the production schedule.

"It does generate a significant impact in a short span of time," he said.

Hogan said Dream Street Pictures, which filmed Canada - Russia '72 in Fredericton in 2007, is also working on two documentaries: one about the sexualization of teenaged girls for CBC's Doc Zone and another about seniors and driving for the Documentary Channel.

Click here to read original article in the Daily Gleaner