CHUM Television begins shooting first feature film


TORONTO - With a theatrical release slated for the summer of 2004, CHUM Television announced yesterday it has begun principal photography its first theatrical feature to be wholly owned and produced by the company.

The working title is The Road Movie and is, not surprisingly, a youth-oriented film, said to be a romantic comedy. It's being shot beginning location in Newfoundland with other locations in Toronto, Montreal, Alberta, Vancouver Island and the B.C. Lower Mainland yet to come.

"With over 250 Canadian features currently under license, CHUM has played a major role in the development and pre-licensing of over 50 homegrown features in the past two years alone. Now CHUM is stepping into the film production arena," says the company's press release.

"Film production is an important and exciting new direction for CHUM. From development and financing, to promotion and exhibition, we have a proven track record in providing pivotal support for Canadian films in all phases of the process," said Stephen Tapp, executive vice-president television, CHUM Limited. "Now, as producers, we are able to collaborate with Telefilm on the goal of increasing box office for Canadian films by leveraging our special relationship with audiences loyal to our brands."

"Starring an exciting young cast, the film showcases cameo appearances by notable actors, MuchMusic VJs and some of Canada's hottest music stars. Slated to wrap production in early October… The Road Movie follows the cross-country misadventures of three teenage buddies and the two young women they meet on the road," says the release.

"CHUM's new young stars were discovered in a series of coast-to-coast auditions," it continues. "Christopher Jacot (Mythquest, Going The Distance) and Shawn Roberts (Word of Honor, A Home at the End of the World) come from Ontario. Upcoming stand-up comedian Ryan Belleville (The Sean Cullen Show, What The Canuck?) is originally from Calgary, Joanne Kelly (Jeremiah, Mentors) is a Newfoundlander and Mayko Nguyen (Doors, Mysterious Ways) hails from Vancouver.

The music guests featured in the movie will include Avril Lavigne, Matthew Good, Sum 41, Swollen Members, Gob and Greg Nori with actors Matt Frewer, Jackie Burroughs, Andy Jones and August Schellenberg. More names will be announced at a later date.

The Road Moviehas been supported by Telefilm Canada and the Canadian Television Fund - License Fee Program. Producing the film are Diane Boehme, director, independent production for CHUM, and Brightlight Pictures Inc. partners Stephen Hegyes (Last Wedding, Dirty, Double Happiness) and Shawn Williamson (Try Seventeen, House of the Dead). They have assembled a crew led by director Mark Griffiths, (with over 16 feature films to his credit including Au Pair, Au Pair 2, The Miracle of the Cards and Beethoven's Fifth) and Director of Photography Greg Middleton (Punch, The Five Senses). The film is being executive produced by Boehme and Moses Znaimer and distributed in Canada by Seville Pictures.

"We are extremely excited and honoured to be associated with CHUM in this venture," said Andrew Austin, senior v-p and general manager of Seville Pictures. "This is a no-holds-barred commercial feature that we believe will have something that is all too often lacking in Canadian films - wide commercial appeal. We are certain that the combined talents of CHUM Television and Seville will ensure that this film captures the broadest audience possible, ultimately resulting in tremendous box office success."

Here's the movie's synopsis, released by CHUM:
He may have just graduated but Nick (Christopher Jacot) has it all figured out - marriage, a lucrative career and a totally different lifestyle from that of his West Coast hippie parents. When he discovers that his future wife may be falling prey to a powerful and oversexed music producer, Nick is determined to fly to Toronto to win her back. Lifelong buds and dedicated surfers Tyler (Shawn Roberts) and Dime (Ryan Belleville) have other ideas for their staid best friend - the road trip adventure of his life. With only three days to make it to the MuchMusic Video Awards, the unlikely road warriors head off. Two sexy hitchhikers, Sasha (Joanne Kelly) and Jill (Mayko Nguyen), complicate matters and a series of accidents, orchestrated by a malevolent stranger, sabotage the trip turning Nick's future plans upside down.

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