CBC Television, the National Ballet of Canada and Shaftesbury announce the start of production on Romeos & Juliets

One-Hour Special in Celebration of the National Ballet's 60th Anniversary Season to be
Broadcast on CBC Television in Spring 2012

TORONTO, Nov. 17, 2011 /CNW/ - CBC, The National Ballet of Canada and leading producer Shaftesbury today announced the start of production on a new one-hour special presentation for CBC Television, Romeos & Juliets. Written, directed and produced by one of Canada's foremost directors of performance-based films, Moze Mossanen (Nureyev), the documentary focuses on the world premiere of Romeo and Juliet in the studios of the National Ballet. The new production is set to the beloved score of Sergei Prokofiev and choreographed by Alexei Ratmansky, hailed by the New York Times as "the most in-demand ballet choreographer in the world." Romeos & Juliets is shooting in Toronto until December 2011 and will air on CBC Television in spring 2012.

"CBC is honoured to help commemorate the National Ballet's remarkable 60th Anniversary by bringing their reinvented masterpiece of Romeo and Juliet to Canadian audiences," said Kirstine Stewart, Executive Vice-President, English Services, CBC. "We're delighted to be working alongside our talented production partners, Moze Mossanen and Shaftesbury, and we look forward to sharing this television event with Canadians this spring."

"Romeos & Juliets will immerse audiences in the creative process of a celebrated choreographer working with both established and upcoming dancers as the legendary lead couple," said Mossanen. "The documentary will allow audiences a rare behind-the-scenes look at the dancers as they push themselves to the limits of their abilities in order to make their mark in these expressive roles."

Romeos & Juliets is an exploration of the process by which the remarkable new National Ballet production of Romeo and Juliet winds its way from rehearsals to opening night. The special follows the dancers' highly charged paths, both inside and outside the studio, and chronicles their emotional journey as they toil to fulfill the high expectations demanded of them. In the end, as opening night arrives, their efforts are realized in a suite of spectacular dances staged especially for the camera.

Romeos & Juliets is written, directed and produced by Mossanen, a prolific writer, director and producer whose work has encompassed striking adaptations of classic novels (Year of the Lion) and original screenplays (The Rings of Saturn). Most recently, Mossanen directed Roxana (2006), which won two Gemini Awards, and Nureyev (2009), which was nominated for six Gemini Awards, winning two for Best Direction and Best Cinematography in a Performing Arts Program.

Romeos & Juliets is produced by Shaftesbury in association with CBC, and with the participation of the Canada Media Fund, The Canadian Film or Video Tax Credit and The Ontario Film and Television Tax Credit. The documentary is executive produced by Christina Jennings and Scott Garvie, with Jan Peter Meyboom serving as supervising producer. The documentary will be distributed internationally by Shaftesbury Sales Company.

The National Ballet of Canada begins celebrations for its 60th anniversary season with the world premiere of internationally celebrated choreographer Alexei Ratmansky's Romeo and Juliet, which opened on November 16, 2011 and runs to November 27, 2011 at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts in Toronto. Ratmansky is currently Artist-in-Residence and Artistic Advisor at the American Ballet Theatre and the former Artistic Director of the Bolshoi Ballet. The National Ballet audiences were first introduced to Ratmansky earlier this year with his stunningly beautiful piece, Russian Seasons. His unique aesthetic, steeped in the Russian school but open to contemporary sources, is ideal for a new interpretation of Romeo and Juliet.

About CBC/Radio-Canada
CBC/Radio-Canada is Canada's national public broadcaster and one of its largest cultural institutions. The Corporation is a leader in reaching Canadians on new platforms and delivers a comprehensive range of radio, television, Internet, and satellite-based services. Deeply rooted in the regions, CBC/Radio-Canada is the only domestic broadcaster to offer diverse regional and cultural perspectives in English, French and eight Aboriginal languages, plus seven languages for international audiences. In 2011, CBC/Radio-Canada is celebrating 75 years of serving Canadians and being at the centre of the democratic, social and cultural life of Canada.

About The National Ballet of Canada
With nearly 70 dancers and its own orchestra, The National Ballet of Canada ranks as one of the world's top international dance companies. Established as a classical company by founder Celia Franca in 1951, it is the only Canadian ballet company to present a full range of traditional full-length classics. In addition to its classical repertoire, the company also embraces contemporary works and encourages the creation of new ballets and the development of Canadian choreographers. In 2006, Artistic Director Karen Kain successfully moved the company into a new era and performance venue, the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, Canada's first purpose-built ballet opera house. The National Ballet performs annual Fall, Winter and Summer seasons plus The Nutcracker and has toured in Canada and the United States, and throughout the world including performances in Germany, The Netherlands, Israel, Hong Kong, Japan, Italy and Mexico.

About Shaftesbury
Founded in 1987, Shaftesbury is an award-winning creator, producer and distributor of original content for television and multiple platforms, with programming available in more than 120 countries worldwide. Recent productions include three seasons of The Listener for CTV and Fox International Channels; five seasons of Murdoch Mysteries for Citytv, UKTV and ITV STUDIOS Global Entertainment; and two seasons of Good Dog, an irreverent comedy from acclaimed writer and producer Ken Finkleman (The Newsroom) for HBO Canada. Shaftesbury's slate of programming for kids and families includes the global hit series Life with Derek and the movie follow-up to the series, Vacation with Derek. Shaftesbury's divisions include Shaftesbury U.S., located in Los Angeles and focused on development for the U.S. market; Shaftesbury Factual, dedicated to non-fiction storytelling across a broad spectrum of genres; Smokebomb Entertainment, Shaftesbury's digital media branch responsible for the development and production of original multiplatform series and companion web experiences; and Shaftesbury Sales Company, which manages international sales and distribution for the company's content. www.shaftesbury.ca

For further information:

Naz Taylor
Communications, CBC
naz.taylor@cbc.ca

Tanya Koivusalo
Communications Coordinator, Shaftesbury
tkoivusalo@shaftesbury.ca
Office: 416 363 1411
Mobile: 416 575 4671

Catherine Chang
Senior Public Relations Manager, The National Ballet of Canada
cchang@national.ballet.ca
Office: 416 345 9686 x302
Mobile: 647 290 7736