Production Begins on New CTV Original Movie HORSES OF MCBRIDE

  • Starring Aidan Quinn, Kari Matchett, and Mackenzie Porter -
  • Anne Wheeler writes and directs moving tribute inspired by real-life -

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TORONTO, Feb. 29, 2012 /CNW/ - CTV and Whizbang Films announced today that production is underway on the new CTV Original Movie, HORSES OF MCBRIDE. The two-hour movie is inspired by the heart-wrenching true story of how the community of McBride, B.C. pulled together to rescue two starving horses trapped on a mountainside during Christmas 2008. Written and directed by Anne Wheeler (BOMB GIRLS, END GAME, THE GAMBLER, THE GIRL AND THE GUNSLINGER), HORSES OF MCBRIDE stars Aidan Quinn (PRIME SUSPECT, WEEDS, BURY MY HEART AT WOUNDED KNEE) and Canadians Kari Matchett (COVERT AFFAIRS, LEVERAGE, 24) and Mackenzie Porter (DINOSAPIEN, WILD ROSES, THE HAUNTING HOUR). Principal photography is underway in and around Calgary, Alberta through March 16, 2012.

**Media Note** Photography for HORSES OF MCBRIDE is available online at BellMediaPR.ca .

In HORSES OF MCBRIDE, cowboy-outfitter Matt Davidson (Quinn) has decided to sell his family ranch and find work in the city. His daughter Nicki (Porter), who dreams of being a guide with her dad, is shocked and angry. It's late December when two starving horses are discovered high up on the Rockies trapped in a prison of snow more than 30 miles from any road. After seeing the spirit in their eye, Nicki commits to getting them off the mountain - somehow. With no other options, she picks up a shovel and starts to dig out the mile long path of deep snow, inspiring her father, family and an entire community to pitch in.

The story came to Whizbang Films' attention on Boxing Day three years ago when the horses' story appeared on the front page of newspapers across the country. The producers approached Anne Wheeler to write and direct the project and she enthusiastically accepted the challenge. In researching the story that inspired the film, Wheeler spent considerable time with the Jeck family in B.C, who were instrumental in the horses' rescue.

In casting the equine "stars" of the film, the producers have rescued two live horses which, with the support of the SPCA and under the watchful eye of legendary wrangler John Scott, will underline the miracle that took place in McBride three years ago. The mare's name is "Lady", rescued near Cochrane, Alberta. The gelding, "Slim", was rescued near Penticton, B.C.

"The story of McBride and these horses captured the attention of the entire country," said Phil King, President, CTV Programming and Sports. "CTV is proud to stand behind this captivating tale of community and conviction and we look forward to bringing this story to life again for viewers."

"This is a story about a determined family and community who rallied behind two incredible horses and riveted a nation for many days as the drama unfolded under extreme conditions," says producer Frank Siracusa of Whizbang Films. "It's a privilege to make this film with such a talented creative team."

"There was a great deal on the line, not only for the horses, but for the family and a town facing profound change." says Wheeler. "But shoveling a path over a mile long to save two starving horses says a lot about what these people are made of. I am grateful to have this opportunity to tell their story."

HORSES OF MCBRIDE is produced by Whizbang Films in association with Bell Media, with the participation of the Shaw Rocket Fund, Alberta Multimedia Development Fund, the Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit, the British Columbia Production Service Tax Credit and the Ontario Media Development Corporation, and is distributed internationally by Entertainment One. HORSES OF MCBRIDE is written and directed by Anne Wheeler and executive produced by Frank Siracusa (BREAKAWAY, COTTAGE COUNTRY, THE YARD) and Paul Gross (CRA$H & BURN, ZOS: ZONE OF SEPARATION, H2O). Gosia Kamela is the Bell Media Production Executive working with the movie. Trish Williams is Director, Drama, Independent Production, Bell Media. Corrie Coe is Senior Vice-President, Independent Production, Bell Media. Mike Cosentino is Senior Vice-President, Programming, CTV Networks. Phil King is President, CTV Programming and Sports.

About Whizbang Films
Whizbang Films is a dynamic producer and distributor of high-quality, award-winning feature films and dramatic TV series. Headed by Paul Gross and Frank Siracusa, in 2011 Whizbang released Hobo with a Shotgun and Breakaway. In 2008 Whizbang released the World War I feature film Passchendaele, which received five Genie Awards including the Golden Reel Award for highest box office for a Canadian Film. Visit: www.whizbangfilms.com

About Bell Media Independent Production
Bell Media has produced some of Canada's most-watched and most-acclaimed original programming in partnership with Canadian independent producers, including, most recently, ratings success stories FLASHPOINT and THE LISTENER, the upcoming new drama SAVING HOPE, Emmy Award-winning period drama THE BORGIAS, international hit DEGRASSI, Gemini Award-winning comedy TODD & THE BOOK OF PURE EVIL, sci-fi fan favourite SANCTUARY, critically acclaimed sketch comedy series PICNICFACE, theatre docu-series WAY OFF BROADWAY, mythological action/adventure series PRIMEVAL: NEW WORLD, and new young adult drama THE L.A. COMPLEX, which was recently acquired by The CW. Bell Media has also ordered the two-hour drama pilot, BOREALIS.

About CTV
CTV, Canada's Olympic Network, is also Canada's largest private broadcaster. Featuring a wide range of quality news, sports, information, and entertainment programming, CTV is Canada's most-watched television network and lead broadcaster of the London 2012 Olympic Games. CTV is a division of Bell Media, Canada's premier multimedia company with leading assets in television, radio and digital. Bell Media is owned by BCE Inc. (TSX, NYSE: BCE), Canada's largest communications company. More information about CTV can be found on the network's website at ctv.ca.

For further information:

Tonia Addison, CTV, CTV Two, 416.384.2194 or tonia.addison@bellmedia.ca
Jim Quan, CTV, CTV Two, 416.384.5311 or jim.quan@bellmedia.ca

Unit Publicity:
Fran Watson, 403.703.0388 or fran@franandcompany.com
Jenn Avis, 403.875.3966 or jennavis@shaw.ca