Shelburne included in plans for Book of Negroes filming

Greg Bennett
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A television mini-series based on the award-winning Lawrence Hill novel The Book of Negroes, is expected to film part of the production in Shelburne in the spring.

By Greg Bennett

A production company developing a mini-series based on the Lawrence Hill novel, The Book of Negroes, plans to film in Shelburne in the spring.

Officials with Film and Creative Nova Scotia were helping location scouts and producers with visits to several areas of the province, including Shelburne, in early November.

“This is all at the very beginning stages,” said Marly MacNeil, of Film and Creative NS, who said that producers are “99 per cent sure” that Shelburne will be one of the filming sites.

 One of the recent scouting visits brought producers to Dock Street, the site of the 1994 film Scarlet Letter and of the more recent mini-series Moby Dick.

“They really did like the look of it,” said Leah Griffiths, the curator of the Shelburne Museum Complex, who noted that producers who met with historical society representatives expressed a particular interest in the Ross-Thompson House.

Pre-production work has already begun in South Africa and early plans are to film in Shelburne in April.

The Canadian company partnering in the production, Conquering Lion Pictures, is an independent production company based in Toronto and is under the leadership of Damon D'Oliveira and Clement Virgo, The company’s films have in the past been selected for Cannes, Berlin, Sundance and TIFF (the Toronto International Film Festival), and have been sold around the world.

According to the company’s website, the six-episode miniseries will largely follow the 2007 award-winning novel, written by Lawrence Hill.

The story follows Aminata Diallo, who is kidnapped from West Africa at the dawn of the 19th century, survives a harrowing Atlantic crossing, is separated from her love and must navigate the American Revolution before returning to Sierra Leone, and ultimately securing her freedom in England.

Shelburne, Birchtown and the Black Loyalists all figure prominently in the novel.

Organizations: Shelburne Museum Complex, Ross-Thompson House

Geographic location: Shelburne, Lawrence Hill, Toronto Dock Street South Africa Cannes Berlin West Africa Sierra Leone England

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