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Kevin McNulty

WEEK: July 8-14, 2013

LEO AWARDS: Brent Butt & Nancy Robertson Host Leo Awards on June 8th

Published May 29, 2013 on Vancouver is Awesome

Hometown comedy couple Brent Butt and Nancy Robertson are set to co-host the 15th anniversary of the Leo Awards, celebrating the best of B.C.-made film and television, at the Westin Bayshore Hotel on Saturday, June 8th. Expect more than the usual hijinks with professional comedians as hosts and and a crowd of outstanding homegrown nominees led by Vancouver born-and-bred Jessie James Miller’s feature film Becoming Redwood with 14 nominations, Vancouver-cop-from-the-future series Continuum with 16 nominations and filmed-in-Vancouver-and-Yellowknife aerial adventure series Arctic Air with 14 nominations.. For tickets, click here.

The 1970s era coming-of-age film Becoming Redwood‘s 14 nominations include well-deserved director and writing nods for 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. By contrast, Random Acts of Romance, the only other motion picture nominee I’ve seen on screen, filmed in several downtown and East Van locations like the Waldorf Hotel, as befits a movie whose tagline is “Sex, Abduction, Stalking and You Thought Romance Was Dead” about interconnected Vancouverites. Director Katrin Bowen is nominated for the twisted romcom, as is Sonja Bennett for her performance as a wacky stalker.

Becoming Redwood production still – courtesy of Jesse James Miller

In the television category, Continuum dominates with 16 nominations for its first hit season, including nods for creator and UBC grad Simon Barry for his season finale script End Times about time traveller Kiera Cameron’s failure to stop “terrorist” group Liber8 from blowing up a downtown tower, a definitive moment in her corporations-rule-the-world future. Continuum digitally-imploded an Arthur Erickson-designed tower on West Georgia on screen and then filmed the aftermath on a blast-and-rubble set at CBC Vancouver.

Read More »LEO AWARDS: Brent Butt & Nancy Robertson Host Leo Awards on June 8th

LEO AWARDS: Film BECOMING REDWOOD & TV series CONTINUUM & ARCTIC AIR Top 2013 Nominations

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.

Related: Jesse James Miller’s Becoming Redwood Opens at International Village

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. Read More »LEO AWARDS: Film BECOMING REDWOOD & TV series CONTINUUM & ARCTIC AIR Top 2013 Nominations

ARCTIC AIR Trio Talk about First Hit Season on CBC

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.

Read More »ARCTIC AIR Trio Talk about First Hit Season on CBC

BIG READ: CBC Dramas ARCTIC AIR & REPUBLIC OF DOYLE Soar

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 Read More »BIG READ: CBC Dramas ARCTIC AIR & REPUBLIC OF DOYLE Soar

BIG READ: Vancouver as Yellowknife for CBC’s ARCTIC AIR

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. Read More »BIG READ: Vancouver as Yellowknife for CBC’s ARCTIC AIR