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TV series pilot filmed in Iqaluit

Adam Johnson
Northern News Services

Iqaluit (Dec 18/06) - Nunavut's capital may be the part-time home of a future CBC series, set against the backdrop of global warming and questions of Northern sovereignty - that is, if all goes well.

Toronto film company Slanted Wheel Entertainment (SWE) has finished filming a pilot for a new series, The Dark Room, which takes place - and was filmed - in both Toronto and Iqaluit. The series is set to be directed by Canadian director Bruce MacDonald, best known for the punk-rock mockumentary Hard Core Logo.

"It was important for us not to fake it," said SWE co-producer Rachel Rafelton.

She described the show as a "family mystery," but explained it was much more than that. The plotline follows a murder in Iqaluit and a kidnapping in Toronto, as well as a high-class gala where everyone is a suspect. As the series unfolds, it explores the lives of these guests and other characters, jumping around the timeline as the clues unfold against a backdrop of corporate intrigue, as companies vie for a stake in an increasingly open and lucrative North.

Of course, the series has to be approved for any of this to see the light of day.

"We should hear sometime in February," she said. "We're excited about the possibilities."

"We're just hoping for the best," said John Houston, president of Drumsong Productions in Iqaluit.

SWE called on his company to help with the Northern components of filming, such as organizing an Iqaluit crew and managing travel arrangements. He said he was excited about the concept of the show, as well as what it means for the Nunavut film industry.

"It's quite timely, because you read this stuff in the news; it's in the minds of Canadians right now," he said.

"At the industry-building level, there could be nothing that would be better for Nunavut at this time."

He said the work and money involved in a regular series would help local film workers hone their skills and gain exposure like nothing else.

"There's no way that it's not good," he said.

But again, this will happen only if CBC chooses to pick up the series.

If it does, Houston's concern is the lack of economic infrastructure in Nunavut to deal with a project of this size.

"Other jurisdictions have a lot of measures and incentives in place to handle this sort of thing," he said.

"We just have to really work carefully with the Nunavut government to try to put something together that's enough to offset the very serious costs of shooting significant parts of a series in Nunavut."