Category Archives: Sanctuary
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
B.C.’s own 6′ 4″ actor Christopher Heyerdahl isn’t scary but his characters sure are: from a wraith on Stargate: Atlantis to a triple role as a bigfoot and abnormal/serial killer on Sanctuary to a vampire on The Twilight Saga to the Swede on Hell on Wheels to a Vampire Authority Chancellor on season five of True Blood. I knew Heyerdal was one busy actor but hadn’t heard about his latest role until I read Glen Schaefer’s blog at The Province.
Vampire Authority Chancellor Dieter (link to HBO photo) could be Heyerdahl’s scariest character yet. It’s his distinctive, deep voice in the True Blood promo saying: “We were created in God’s image, not humans. And their flesh shall nourish yours, their blood shall flow within you. For as the beetle nourishes the lark, so shall human nourish vampire.” In other words, the Vampire Authority are fundamentalists who believe that humans are nothing but a food source for vampires. Forget mainstreaming. Forget synthetic vampire food like “True Blood”.
We’ll have to wait to meet Chris Meloni’s Leader of the Vampire Authority Chancellors Roman and Christopher Heyerdahl’s Vampire Authority Chancellor Dieter until episode two of season five which premieres tonight on HBO.
Below are my photos of Christopher Heyerdahl at the Leo Awards in 2012, 2011 and 2010. He won this year for his performance on R.L. Stine’s The Haunting Hour and in 2010 for his roles on Sanctuary as Biggie and bald abnormal John Druitt. And when he quietly winked at me while I was taking his photo this year and last, I immediately understood how he seduced and murdered all those women in Druitt’s secret identity on Sanctuary as the notorious Jack the Ripper. There’s something hypnotic about him.
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
Syfy’s official cancellation today of our own little sci-fi success story Sanctuary marks the end of an era in Vancouver. For the first time in a decade, American cable network Syfy (formerly Sci-Fi) doesn’t have a single TV series filming here. They began with the sixth season of Stargate SG-1, then Stargate Atlantis, Battlestar Galactica, mini-series Tin Man and Alice, Caprica, Stargate Universe, pilot Blood and Chrome, Eureka and Sanctuary, which both wrapped filming here last summer.
Until today there was a sliver of hope for a Sanctuary renewal even though the series, co-created by Stargate star Amanda Tapping, Stargate director Martin Wood and Stargate writer Damian Kindler, had to give up its Burnaby studio and even sell sets while it waited for a decision. Finally it came this afternoon: Sanctuary would not be returning for a fifth season, making last year’s fourth season its final one.
“Bloody hell,” tweeted star Amanda Tapping, exactly as her immortal Brit character Helen Magnus would say. She and co-star Robin Dunne will be co-hosting the Leo Awards Gala celebrating the best of BC-produced film and television at the Hotel Vancouver this Saturday night, where Sanctuary has a whopping 18 nominations. Here’s hoping that this is the year Sanctuary takes home the award for Best Dramatic Series. Even if it doesn’t, a good time will be had by Team Sanctuary. Dunne and Damian Kindler even co-hosted last year’s after party.
Sanctuary ended its series with a deadly assault on the abnormal Homeland, filmed mainly at the Terminal City Ironworks complex in east Vancouver, and then the revelation that Helen Magnus had spent the last 140+ years creating a brand-new utopian underground sanctuary with beautifiul natural light, foliage and waterfalls for abnormals. It could have led to the next chapter in the saga but also served as a great place to leave it. I do regret not having the opportunity to see Sanctuary filming except once a year ago when they took their green screens outside to turn an office just behind their studio into an Indian Ocean airport.
“We’re honored to have been part of this incredible series. In addition to garnering unmatched devotion by fans worldwide, Sanctuary was a bona fide trailblazer, setting new standards with its highly innovative production techniques–including pioneering green screen and RED camera technology–and Emmy-nominated visual effects,” Syfy Original Content President Mark Stern said in a statement.
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 July 21, 2011 on Vancouver is Awesome
How’s this for Comic-Con craziness? Twihards starting lining up outside the San Diego Convention Center three days early (on Monday) to be among the six thousand lucky enough to get into The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn 1 panel in Hall H, which took place just before lunchtime today. Breaking Dawn 1 was the first panel in Hall H so that Twihards couldn’t ruin Comic-Con like they usually do. What’s even more crazy? That the vampires and werewolves of the mainly Vancouver-shot Breaking Dawn 1 aren’t the most popular panel of the hundreds at Comic-Con 2011. Not even close. That honour belongs to the zombies of AMC TV series The Walking Dead.
Breaking Dawn 1 isn’t even among the most popular of Vancouver-filmed movies and TV series at Comic-Con, which has become less about big movies and more about cult television series in recent years. Locally-shot TV series Pscyh cracked the Top 25 most popular panels and Fringe, Eureka, Supernatural and Alcatraz are all in the Top 50. Breaking Dawn 1 and Underworld Awakening (the fourth in the movie franchise but only the third to star Kate Beckinsale and her vampire cat suit) barely made the Top 50 cut.
Psych presented today to standing-room-only, people-turned-away capacity, with Psych-os either dressed as pineapples or carrying them. Apparently series star James Roday (seen above directing a vampire-themed episode) improvised with a pineapple in the show’s premiere and there’s been one hidden in every episode since. Nominally a detective series, Psych knows how to play to a Comic-Con crowd, with several episodes in its sixth season (now filming in Vancouver) crossing over into genre stuff like vampires, super heroes and Star Trek. In a real casting coup, the original Captain Kirk — William Shatner — plays the father of one of the main cast in an episode filmed
Published May 20, 2011 on Vancouver is Awesome
I did not expect to be able to feature all-Canadian sci-fi success story Sanctuary in this series because it almost never goes on location, filming everything on greenscreen at its Burnaby soundstage, with virtually no physical sets whatsoever. And then a friend of a friend’s husband watched Sanctuary bring its greenscreens outside a week ago to film a bloodied and beat-up Amanda Tapping at a nearby office complex, masquerading as an airport on the Indian Ocean islands of Comoros.
When I arrived, I joked with Sanctuary crew about the number of green travelling mattes (used for special effects) they’d brought to a real location, including a stack of smaller sizes on a cart at the back of their studio, an immense street-width screen by the Departs door and one regular-sized screen at the Arrive door. This is where I photographed guest star Sandrine Holt and Sanctuary star Amanda Tapping already in character and about to turn around to the camera to meet guest stars Carlo Rota ( 24 and Little Mosque on the Prairie) and Martin Cummins (V and Shattered) on the steps above. Sanctuary had filmed explosions the day before at Mammoth studios and Tapping did not go unscathed: wardrobe had dressed her in an artfully ripped sweater and bandaged arm and makeup painted blood on her knees.
Who is Amanda Tapping? She is our Queen of Sci-fi after ten seasons in combat boots on Stargate SG-1 as scientist-soldier Samantha Carter, followed by more seasons as Carter on Stargate spinoffs and then coming-up-on-four seasons in stilettos on Sanctuary as immortal 160-something Dr. Helen Magnus from Victorian England, who rescues genetic mutants called Abnormals and harbours them in her stately gothic mansion overlooking the fictional Old City in the modern world.
What makes Sanctuary so unique is that this castle-like facility doesn’t exist, except as an empty set with some minimal props