Category Archives: Arctic Air
Last night’s Leo Awards nominations, celebrating the best of B.C.-made film and television, favour Jesse James Miller’s 70s-era coming-of-age film Becoming Redwood, Vancouver-cop-from-the-future TV series Continuum and northern adventure TV series Arctic Air. The many tweets of congratulations to all the nominees today are a great way to recognize B.C.’s creative talent ahead of tomorrow’s provincial election. So please go vote and as the hashtag says, #SaveBCFilm.
Becoming Redwood‘s 14 nominations include well-deserved director and writing nods for Vancouver-born-and-raised Jesse James Miller and performance nods for Ryan Grantham as the young golf-obsessed long-haired title character Redwood; Jennifer Copping (Miller’s wife) as Redwood’s mother; Chad Willett (producer) as Redwood’s draft-dodging, pot-dealing father; Derek Hamilton as Redwood’s red-neck stepfather Arnold and Scott Hylands as Arnold’s basement-dwelling elderly father Earl. Miller shot the Vancouver International Film Festival’s most popular Canadian feature in rural Langley for 24 days in the late spring of 2011.
In the television category, Continuum dominates with 16 nominations, including nods for creator and UBC grad Simon Barry for his season one finale script End Times and for performances by Richard Harmon, Brian Markinson, Jennifer Spence and Liber8 “terrorist” Lexa Doig. Lead cop Rachel Nichols is not nominated but she is American and not considered a BC actor, even though she lives here for half-a-year each season and owns Vancouver Canucks season tickets (what more do you need?)
Over at Arctic Air, bona fide BC actors Kevin McNulty and Pascale Hutton are nominated for their lead performances on the filmed-in-Vancouver-and-Yellowknife aerial adventure series, two of 14 nominations for the CBC show.
Lots and lots of tweets in my timeline from B.C. film & TV people yesterday. The good: filmed-in-Vancouver sci-fi Showcase hit Continuum and northern adventure CBC hit Arctic Air both nabbed first-time Canadian Screen Awards nominations as Best Dramatic Series, along with the filmed-in-Toronto Bomb Girls, Flashpoint and King. The bad and the ugly: Premier Christy Clark’s BC Jobs Plan boosted several industries last week but not our declining film & TV biz, provoking a SAVE BC FILM petition and a hashtag #SaveBCFilm to wake up the government about the cost to the province of losing film & TV productions to places with better tax credits like Ontario. Among other things, American productions build the infrastructure that make local successes like Continuum and Arctic Air possible.
Back to the good: the made-in and set-in-Vancouver sci-fi procedural Continuum racked up the individual CSA noms too, with a writing nomination for its creator Simon Barry (in the photo below with cast ); a directing nomination for Jon Cassar; a VFX nomination for Adam Stern of Artifex Studios; and an original musical score nomination for Jeff Danna — all for the show’s stunning pilot A Stitch in Time which travels in time from Vancouver in 2077 to Vancouver in 2012.
Joining Continuum as a first-timer in the Best Dramatic Series competition is the filmed-in-Vancouver-and-Yellownife series Arctic Air from Omni Films. The visually-spectacular aerial adventure drama
Published January 9th, 2013 on Vancouver is Awesome
Published September 13, 2012 on Vancouver is Awesome
How much does the CBC love Arctic Air? Heaps. At the CBC Upfronts in May, host George Stroumboulopoulos introduced the cast of Arctic Air first in the Prime Time segment, ahead of the Dragon’s Den Dragons. And for good reason. The Vancouver-and-Yellowknife-shot adventure series, starring Adam Beach and Pascale Hutton, averaged just under a million viewers in its first season, making it the most-watched debut season for a CBC drama series in fifteen years.
Arctic Air, which returns for a second season in early 2013, is just one of CBC’s Canadian dramas to look forward to this fall and winter. Long-running 1890s Toronto detective series Murdoch Mysteries, starring Yannick Bisson, relocates to the CBC next Monday, September 17th, airing a repeat of its fifth season before unveiling a new sixth season on the public broadcaster (Bisson joked at the upfront that leaving City-TV for CBC was like the girlfriend who got dumped but married a surgeon). And the rollicking father-and-son private detective series Republic of Doyle, set in picturesque St. John’s, Newfoundland, returns for a fourth season in the new year. It not only stars Newfoundland native Allan Hawco, it is produced and often written by this impressive multi-tasker. Also coming this winter on CBC is a new, present-day Toronto detective series Cracked, starring David Sutcliffe (Rory Gilmore’s Dad) as the police detective and Stefanie von Pfetten as the psychiatrist, who work together in a Psych Crimes Unit.
The yet-to-be-cast 13-episode CTV series Motive, about a “feisty female Vancouver detective” solving murders, is the latest TV drama series to let Vancouver play itself. We’ve gone from zero to four in a very short time– possibly five if Endgame is resurrected.
Why now? Some credit the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games for making our city “cool” and recognizable the world over.
While CBC’s hit adventure series Arctic Air mainly films its Yellowknife interiors on permanent sets in Aldergrove and its exteriors in Yellowknife, when the action is in our city, as it was in the wonderfully-titled episode Vancouver is Such a Screwed-Up City, then Vancouver plays itself.
And Showcase’s out-of-the-box hit Continuum features not one but two Vancouvers. In the part sci-fi, part procedural Continuum, a future police officer travels back in time from Vancouver in the year 2077 to Vancouver in the year 2012, swept up in an escape by a group of terrorists — Liber8 – who plan to change the future from the past by targeting the corporations that will come to rule the world. Here’s Rachel Nichols’s officer-from-the-future at the Vancouver Public Library.
Over at SPACE’s upcoming sci-fi and procedural series Primeval: New World, we can look forward to seeing apartment-building-sized dinosaurs and other primeval creatures rampaging through our neighbourhoods like Stanley Park, Coal Harbour and the Olympic Village.
Published May 31, 2012 on Vancouver is Awesome
Live-tweets turned out to be the best thing about last weekend’s Leo Awards celebrating the best of B.C.-made film and television. Tweets from @LeoAwards gave an award-by-award account plus details of all the hijinks in between at both the Celebration and Gala Awards: hijinks that ranged from Property Brothers Drew and Jonathan Scott mock-fighting over their award to Gala co-hosts Amanda Tapping and Robin Dunne calling each other evil twin and English MILF to Nancy Robertson and Ryan Robbins pitching a new comedy series to Emilie Ullerup re-enacting Angelina Jolie’s notorious one-leg Oscars pose to acting legend Gabrille Rose swearing on stage while presenting the final award to Sisters & Brothers for Best Feature Film.
It was a great way to let the public share in this celebration of artistic talent after a tough week, which had started with the official cancellation of homegrown sci-fi series Sanctuary, the most-recognized B.C. production by far with 18 Leo nominations going in. Sanctuary ended up winning four Leos for its fourth and final season, but only one on the night of the gala for a guest performance by Arctic Air’s Pascale Hutton, who sang beautifully and turned her head right around in the Glee-meets-The-Exorcist episode Fuge.
I’d hoped for a repeat of last year’s wild times on the red carpet outside the Hotel Vancouver on West Georgia Street, but organizers moved the red carpet inside the hotel this year to the conference floor and restricted access. Most of the nominees kept the party going after the red carpet to take a turn at the new Media Wall by the bar where I had a spot, but it was so dimly-lit I had to jack some light from the pro-photographers’ flashes. Here’s The Express’s Johanna Ward interviewing nominee and eventual winner Johannah Newmarch on the red carpet about her supporting performance in mockumentary Sunflower Hour. Ward later dropped by the Media Wall to wrangle nominees Ali Liebert from Bomb Girls and Emilie Ullerup from Arctic Air as a backdrop to her standup.
You can see the start of Emilie Ullerup’s one-leg Angelina homage and how the popular Cassini brothers photo-bombed the arrangement. That’s Frank on the left and John on the right. Frank Cassini later won a roar from the crowd and a Leo for his supporting performance on
How much does the CBC love its new hit drama series Arctic Air? Heaps. At the CBC upfronts earlier this month in Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary to unveil next season’s schedule to advertisers and media, host George Stroumboulopoulos introduced the Arctic Air actors first in the opening Prime Time segment, ahead of the Dragon’s Den Dragons.
And for good reason — Arctic Air was the most-watched debut season for a CBC drama series in fifteen years, averaging just under a million viewers (965,000) for its first ten episodes. I watched all ten and even live-tweeted the finale in mid-March, along with so many other Canadians. Arctic Air is a classic adventure series — filmed mainly on permanent sets in Aldergrove with most exterior scenes filmed in Yellowknife — where the main trio are often in peril. It started with Bobby Martin (Adam Beach)’s return to Yellowknife to help keep alive the maverick airline co-founded by his dead father and the notorious curmudgeon Mel Ivarson (Kevin McNulty). There he reunites with Mel’s daughter Krista (Pascale Hutton), a former flame and hot-shot pilot. In the season finale cliffhanger, much of it filmed near Clinton in B.C.’s Cariboo country, Mel has internal bleeding after helping the other survivors of a plane crash. What? “Mr. Crankypants better be with us next season,” I tweeted.
Two months later, I got a chance to ask three of the Arctic Air cast, in an interview ahead of the Vancouver season preview. if Kevin McNulty’s absence meant Mel didn’t survive the season finale. “This is the Adam Beach Show” quipped Beach, intimating McNulty had gotten too big for his boots. But Beach is joking. Only the writers know what will happen in season two’s thirteen episodes next year. I did volunteer how much I’d enjoyed Beach punching Brian Markinson’s sleezy mogul Ronnie Deardon in the bar after one-too-many a-hole remarks by Deardon. And later when Aleks Paunovic’s prospector Jim McAlister single-handedly took on a group of thugs. Beach says Paunovic’s nickname on set is the “Griz”. A question about who’s left for Leah Gibson’s hotel receptionist Candi to sleep with in season two got some laughs, too. Pascale Hutton opined that Candi might have run out of options in Yellowknife.
When asked what they enjoyed most about the first season, though, the answer was quick — CBC’s support. It really was an unprecedented rollout for a Canadian drama series, like nothing we’ve ever seen before in this country, and the backing continues. Unfortunately Adam Beach and setmance girlfriend Leah Gibson had a previous engagement so they couldn’t stick around for the presentation, to George Stroumboulopoulos’s surprise. He’d expected both Beach and Hutton to be on stage against that beautiful backdrop of the far north, as they were in Toronto.
It’s unlikely Adam Beach or Kevin McNulty will show at the Leo Awards this Saturday night at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver either. Arctic Air has nine nominations, including one for Best Dramatic Series, but none for the performances of the main trio (Pascale Hutton got a separate performance nomination for The-Exorcist-meets-Glee musical episode of Sanctuary). I am happy that screenwriter Susin Nielsen is nominated for the only episode actually set in our city, the wonderfully-titled “Vancouver is Such a Screwed-Up City”, about Bobby going south with Mel and Krista to buy a new plane in Vancouver and finding his old life here coming back to haunt him. Among supporting cast, Stephen Lobo and Emilie Ullerup are both nominated for their back-in-Yellowknife roommate hookup in this episode, as they should be. Lobo’s giddy face as Dev-after-sex is a wonder. Carmen Moore and Timothy Webber are nominated for a different episode, CTVAC, about Bobby putting lives at risk to find out how his father died. And two guest actors, Bradley Stryker and Luke Camilleri, are nominated for their work hijacking an Arctic Air flight. Add a well-deserved picture editing nomination for Lara Mazur for the season finale and that makes nine.
UPDATE: Susin Nielsen won the Leo Award for best screenwriting for the set-in-our-city episode, Vancouver is Such a Screwed-up City. And that was it for Arctic Air at this year’s Leos (Pascale Hutton did win a Leo for her guest appearance on Sanctuary).
TV rules at B.C.’s Leo Awards, which is the opposite of most American award ceremonies where the hierarchy goes film, then television. So it’s fitting that this year’s hosts on May 26th at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver will be Amanda Tapping and Robin Dunne, the stars of homegrown sci fi series Sanctuary, which earned a whopping 18 nominations, including lead performance nominations for both Tapping and Dunne.
If you follow either of them on Twitter or tracked their progress at Comic-Con last year you’ll know that Amanda Tapping and Robin Dunne are a madcap comedy duo off screen.
The other big TV series represented at this year’s Leos is CBC’s northern adventure series Arctic Air with nine nominations. Adam Beach wasn’t nominated for his lead performance but he’s probably not considered a B.C. actor. I was surprised though not to see Pascale Hutton or Kevin McNulty’s names on the list for Arctic Air, but pleased by the supporting performance nominations for Stephen Lobo and Emilie Ullerup plus a writing nomination for the one episode that was actually set here, the wonderfully-titled Vancouver is Such a Screwed Up City (Tim Webber and Carmen Moore got supporting performance nominations for the episode CTVAK).
The thing that made me happiest though is reborn-on-Hulu but cancelled-on-Showcase Endgame getting a dramatic series nomination for its production filmed mainly in the Westin Bayshore Hotel in Vancouver. Various B.C. actors Warren Christie (Alphas), Laura Mennell (Alphas), Erin Karpluk (Being Erica) and Meg Tilly (Bomb Girls) also got lead performance nominations for their productions filmed in Toronto, while Carmen Moore (Blackstone) got a lead performance nomination for her production filmed in Calgary. And there were other nominations for B.C. crew and actors on American productions filmed here, such as a guest performance nomination for Keegan Conner Trcy as the Blue Fairy/Mother Superior on Once Upon a Time and a supporting performance nomination for Brandon Jay McLaren for his role as Rosie’s teacher and suspect in her death on The Killing.
And in the youth or children’s drama category, The Haunting Hour is squaring off against multi-camera sitcom Mr. Young. I’m thrilled to see the talented Gig Morton and Milo Shandel get nominated
Published January 31, 2012 on Vancouver is Awesome
Wow. The CBC is kicking simulcast-American-show butt this winter with its made-for-Canadians-by-Canadians dramas, comedies, unscripted and current affairs programs, led by set-in-Yellowknife aerial adventure series Arctic Air and set-in-St. John’s father-and-son private detective series Republic of Doyle. Both dramas premiered in the Million-Canadian-Viewers-Plus Club earlier this month and remain there after three episodes apiece, although Arctic Air dipped below a million viewers for its second outing before climbing back up.
While nothing is going to touch this country’s love for CTV’s simulcast of American comedy hit The Big Bang Theory, CBC shows like Dragons’ Den, the Rick Mercer Report, new comedy series Mr. D. and a rejuvenated Marketplace have all hit the Million-Plus Club and are winning or placing well in their time blocks. As is Global’s new hit mini-series Bomb Girls, filmed in Toronto. So what happened to CTV, proud home of Corner Gas, during this resurgence of homegrown shows? Well our most financially-successful Canadian TV network has no Canadian dramas or comedies on its prime time 2011-12 schedule so far although it remains a giant in covering Canadian news and sports.
Why are CBC’s dramas so popular this winter? Just as The Beachcombers represented B.C.’s West Coast to the world for almost twenty years, Arctic Air and Republic of Doyle showcase a specific region of Canada with adventure and humour, plus something new — sexiness. Feel free to argue, but Bruno Gerussi with his giant medallion on his overly hairy chest on The Beachcombers did not exude sexiness like today’s CBC leading men — Adam Beach of Arctic Air and Allan Hawco of Republic of Doyle.
Adam Beach has said he likes that the Arctic Air creators made his character Bobby Martin a “player”, especially because — in a sweet twist — Bobby’s first hookup on returning to Yellowknife is Frontier Hotel receptionist Candi played by Leah Gibson, who became his real-life girlfriend. Gibson is on Beach’s right in the photo below (the pair even kissed for the cameras). And Allan Hawco has been juggling dozens of women for two seasons and counting as swaggering Jake Doyle on Republic of Doyle in Newfoundland. Last week’s episode ended with his character in a hot kiss with his remarried ex-wife.
I was fortunate to be invited by the CBC to the red carpet premiere of Arctic Air at the Vogue Theatre on January 10th and an Actors Studio-style session at the Vancouver Film School with Republic of Doyle star and Newfoundland native Allan Hawco a week later.
It all began late last November when I got the chance to meet the stars of CBC’s 2012 Winter Season out in Aldergrove
Published December 2, 2011 on Vancouver is Awesome
Vancouver as Yellowknife. That’s a first. Upcoming CBC adventure series Arctic Air works on two episodes at a time, filming the exteriors in Yellowknife for a week and the interiors on Vancouver sets for two weeks. Walk into these sets out in Aldergrove and you’ll feel like you’re in real-life Yellowknife institutions like Bullock’s Bistro and The Explorer Hotel, or flying in a cramped, ramshackle Buffalo Air DC3.
Years ago, I experienced all three: flying up to Yellowknife on a prop plane with someone’s household goods in the back; staying in The Explorer (long before Will & Kate made it famous); and walking very quickly in sub-zero temperatures down the hill to Bullock’s Bistro, where everyone signs their name — on walls, on tables and on the bar.
Is this the CBC’s next Beachcombers? Adam Beach, whose American credits include big feature films like Cowboys and Aliens and Flags of our Fathers, and Pascale Hutton, who sang beautifully on Sanctuary’s Glee-meets-The Exorcist episode last week, hope their new series will represent Canada’s North to the world as well as The Beachcombers did with the West Coast. Although perhaps not for as long. Beach looked taken aback at the thought of matching The Beachcombers record of nineteen seasons. In Arctic Air’s 10-episode first season debuting on January 10th, Beach is the headstrong son of the now-dead partner of a renegade prop airline, who after a decade down south returns to Yellowknife where he reunites with his childhood friend Hutton, whose TV father Kevin McNulty is the very much-alive and cantankerous other partner of this dysfunctional two-family business. The fourth lead has to be the place itself. “Yellownife is another member of our cast,” Hutton told me.
Since Arctic Air owes its inception to the success of documentary series Ice Pilots NWT, I expected filming of the new drama series to be done up north too.