BY JENNIFER HOEGG
Kings County Advertiser/Register
Call Me Fitz and its star, Jason Priestley, are coming back to the Valley.
Laszlo Barna, executive producer with eOne Entertainment, confirms filming of the second season of the show begins September 22 in New Minas. Crewmembers are already on set and at the Wolfville production office.
“Yes, we are coming back. We’re very happy to be coming back because, anytime you are renewed is good, and the interest is huge in the show.
With good media presence and overseas sales, things look good from Barna’s point of view.
“It is very exciting. The response is overwhelming”
Whether or not any future seasons of the half-hour show are filmed in the area is up to the provincial government’s film tax credit, Barna points out.
“We’re still a little bit on pins and needles because we applied to FilmNS for financing for this season, and I believe we’re on hold. “I know there is positive support from Minister Percy Paris. FilmNS is behind it.
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“We’re just trying to convince everyone else to get on board.”
Call Me Fitz is receiving provincial tax credits, but not the equity investment they received in season one. Popularity is one of the problems, Mike Souther, producer with AMAZE Film + Television, adds.
“It’s oversubscription. FilmNS wants to support us - they just don’t have the funds.
“We’re hopeful that they really see the value for this region,” Souther says of the 100-per-cent Canadian production, with a large contingent of Nova Scotian cast and crew.
“We love shooting here and we fought to come back, but it’s not without its challenges.”
While the attraction of being near series creator Sheri Elwood and production partner Big Motion Pictures’ home bases, provincial funding is a deal breaker, Barna says.
“The television industry is one of the most competitive in North America and the shows are forced to go hither and thither to follow the tax credits and the money. Of course we’re going to do season two here, but it would be crazy if we had to pick up the tent and move in season three, four or five of a hit show.
“But there are no rules when it comes to film. They film New York in Toronto and Toronto in Milwaukee.”
Commitment to Call Me Fitz would be good for the local area, he adds. If the series did run for five years, $50 million in spin-off spending could be generated.
“I like to think we have an impact.”
The Eastern Kings Chamber of Commerce also thinks the production - spending two to three months in the county for a second year, shopping, renting and hiring - has an impact. The chamber is supporting the production with a letter to the province.
For now, Barna says he is happy to be headed back to the Valley, with faith government cash will come.
“We had such a good experience in Nova Scotia. The crews were great. The location is great. The most important thing is the Valley resonates with the scenes of this show - a very personal thing for Sheri.
“We love shooting here and we fought to come back, but it’s not without its challenges.” - Mike Souther
“It’s not just an out there show, it’s about real people.”
The first season of Call Me Fitz, filmed in New Minas last year from October to January, airs on TMN September 19. The series is produced by Amaze Film + Television, Big Motion Pictures and Entertainment One, with the financial participation of The Movie Network and Movie Central.
The Advertiser and Register have a pair of passes to a Sept. 19 screening of the first two episodes of Call Me Fitz for a reader 19 years of age or older. Enter to win by emailing email@example.com with your name, location and phone number and tell us what the name of Fitz’s car dealership is before 9 a.m. Sept. 16.