N.S. FILM DEVELOPMENT CORP.–Trailer Park Boys an UnconventionalSuccess How did a locally produced, low-budget film emerge as one ofCanada’s hottest comedy series? Perseverance, humour and acommitment to the unconventional. When Dartmouth director Mike Clattenburg screened his filmTrailer Park Boys at the Atlantic Film Festival in 1999, itbecame an instant favourite with audiences. Clattenburg had relied on his old high school buddies, John PaulTremblay and Robb Wells, to play the key roles of Julian andRicky, two guys who live in a trailer park and are alwaysplanning the big score that will let them retire before they turn35. Veteran producer/actor Barrie Dunn, who was among the film’s fans,saw even greater possibilities. He approached Clattenburg and suggested that the film be developed into a television series. Before long, Clattenburg and Dunn were joined in the project byMike Volpe — lawyer, producer and owner of TopsailEntertainment, the company behind such shows as Black Harbour andThe Bette Show. It was a partnership that would change the way Canadiantelevision is created. “Our initial concern was how television broadcasters would reactto the show,” says Dunn, who also helps write the show and starsin the series as Ricky’s dad, Ray. “The mockumentary style, whichis not done a lot, and some of the language and stories may haveput some people off.” In the end, however, it was that very style –coupled with thecomedic and improvisational abilities of the cast — thatattracted an audience. “The Nova Scotia Film Development Corporation was approached inthe early days of Trailer Park Boys,” says Ann MacKenzie, CEO ofthe corporation. “We are pleased to have been able to provide thesupport necessary to get this highly successful Nova Scotiaproduction off the ground.” Volpe, executive producer of the series, says the team wasconcerned the series might end after the first season. “But thefans keep coming back for more. At its zany heart, Trailer ParkBoys is really about friendship and loyalty — I think these arevalues that everyone can appreciate.” A growing number of fans agree. In fact, Trailer Park Boys hasreached cult status in Canada after only 21 episodes over threeseasons on Showcase. “The boys” — who now also include fanfavourite Mike Smith as Bubbles — tour with bands like Our LadyPeace and appeared on the cover of Maclean’s magazine this year. Soon viewers south of the border will also be getting a taste ofthe trailer park’s humour. BBC America will begin airing thefirst season of Trailer Park Boys in the United States onThursday, April 15. And talk of a major feature film continues to attractinternational attention thanks, in part, to the Nova Scotia FilmDevelopment Corporation which recommended the show to arepresentative of Endeavour, a large Los Angeles-based talentagency, who was in Nova Scotia scouting another project. Not bad for a hit show that began as a locally produced, low-budget film. -30-
The discussion around updating sex-ed has been ongoing for years but now Premier Kathleen Wynne says the changes will be in place by September.In the new health and physical Education curriculum, grade 1 students will learn the proper names for body parts, by grade 3 kids will be taught about same sex relationships. Students in grade 4 to 6 will learn about online risks of posting or sharing sexual images or information and discussions about contraception, anal and oral sex, preventing pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections will happen in grades 7 and 8.Education minister Liz Sandals says the revisions will bring Ontario in line with the rest of the country and that a lot of the information contained in the 240 page document is already in the curriculum now, it will just be taught at an earlier grade level. The liberals backed away from updating the sex ed curriculum in 2010 after protests from some religious groups.The opposition says there wasn’t enough parental consultation this time around but they still haven’t had a chance to review the document’s contents. While the province’s education minister says the old policy was badly out of date, not everyone is in agreement with the new one.