July 16, 2004
(Executive Council)
(Tourism, Culture and Recreation)


New television series to be filmed in province

Premier Danny Williams today announced that a new television series will be filmed in the province this year. Life with Derek is a 13-episode series targeted towards teenage audiences to be produced for the Family Channel. The Premier made the announcement at the Atlantic Studios Cooperative Sound Stage in Corner Brook, the location of filming for the series. He was joined by Paul Shelley, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation, and Norm Whalen, Chair of the Newfoundland and Labrador Film Development Corporation (NLFDC), along with Leo Furey, Executive Director of the NLFDC and Paul Pope, Pope Productions.

"Creative and culture industries are key to the diversification and expansion of the province�s economic base, and I am pleased to be here in Corner Brook for this exciting announcement," said Premier Williams. "I have always been a great supporter of the growing film industry in this province and know first-hand its incredible potential, having served as the former chair of the board of directors for the Newfoundland and Labrador Film Development Corporation. The filming of Life with Derek will not only result in economic return to the region but this project represents the first step to building the film industry on the west coast. In the long term, this project and the utilization of the new sound stage will enhance the province�s ability to attract other major productions to the province. In addition to our annual funding to the NLFDC through the Equity Investment Program, our investment of $500,000 specifically to this project will certainly reap tremendous benefits for the economy and people of Newfoundland and Labrador."

Life with Derek will be produced by Shaftesbury Films of Ontario and Pope Productions of Newfoundland and Labrador. Pope Productions is a locally-owned television and independent film house, whose productions include the feature film Rare Birds and the television series, Going the Distance. Set construction for Life with Derek will begin in late August, with filming to take place at the Atlantic Studios Cooperative Sound Stage in Corner Brook.

Minister Shelley said that the film industry in the province has continued to grow in recent years, particularly through the efforts of the Newfoundland and Labrador Film Development Corporation. "Since its inception, the NLFDC has been successful in developing and attracting over 90 film industry projects, including feature films The Shipping News, Rare Birds and the television series Random Passage, generating approximately $53 million in local production activity. The film and television industry also provides intangible benefits to the province, including a sense of provincial pride and an increased level of awareness of Newfoundland and Labrador as a tourism destination."

The Newfoundland and Labrador Film Development Corporation has committed approximately $1 million to the project through its Film Equity Program. Total production costs are estimated at $5.265 million.

"Our financial contribution to this project has leveraged significant outside investment and will result in increased opportunity for the province and the film industry. In fact, a detailed economic assessment of the industry has indicated that the payoff in GDP to the province from its film incentive program is in the range of $3.65 for each $1 spent," said Mr. Whalen. "Over 60 jobs will be created in a three-month period in the Corner Brook area with as many as half of the jobs going to local residents. Life with Derek also represents the first project to be filmed in the Atlantic Studios Cooperative, which we anticipate will result in increased potential for the industry. This project will also further develop the human and physical infrastructure in the province, particularly the West Coast, and enables the NLFDC to attract productions throughout the province."

The Newfoundland and Labrador Film Development Corporation was established in 1997 and is mandated to promote the development of the indigenous film and video industry in the province, as well as to promote the province in national and international film and video markets as a location for film, television, and commercial productions.

Local casting calls for Life with Derek will take place in the coming weeks. For more information, visit Pope Productions Web site at

Media contact:

Elizabeth Matthews, Office of the Premier, (709) 729-3960 or (709) 690-5500
Tansy Mundon, Tourism, Culture and Recreation, (709) 729-0928

2004 07 16                                       11:30 a.m.

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