Extracting buckshot from the back of a hunter’s head in a mosquito-infested tent by a peat bog may not sound like medical school.¬† Nor does a four-hour snowmobile ride to a remote cabin in the bush.¬† But that’s the day-to-day reality at Hard Rock U, a fictional medical school at the heart of an upcoming television series announced today in Sudbury.
Hard Rock Medical is a new, offbeat half-hour drama that follows a diverse group of medical students navigating their way through the school’s four-year program. Multiple plotlines will gravitate towards one ultimate question: Do these students have what it takes to succeed? And if they do, will they stay in the north?
“TVO is really proud of the role we play in supporting Ontario’s independent producers and we’re delighted to be collaborating with the amazing teams behind Hard Rock Medical Productions, as well as with APTN, to open a unique window onto the people, places and culture of Ontario’s North,” said Lisa de Wilde, TVO’s Chief Executive Officer. “We’re all very appreciative of the investment the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation is making to bring this exciting project to life.”
The TVO-commissioned series is a Canadian-Australian co-production from Hard Rock Medical Productions Inc. and Moody Street Productions. Hard Rock Medical Productions is a joint venture of Ottawa’s Title Entertainment Inc, Distinct Features Inc., and Carte Blanche Films. The series will also appear on the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN). Ontario Minister of Northern Development and Mines, Rick Bartolucci today announced funding from the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation to support the regional production of the series.
“We’re very pleased to have formed Hard Rock Medical Productions Inc. with Carte Blanche Films and Distinct Features,” said Frank Taylor, President of Ottawa’s Title Entertainment Inc.¬† “They have been making French-language series in Sudbury for several years and have built up a solid team and production infrastructure which make this new series possible.”
“Hard Rock Medical has the potential to shine a spotlight on the issues of health-care challenges in Northern Ontario.¬† The series, loosely inspired by the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, may bring wider attention to a distinct model of distributed, community-engaged medical education‚ÄĒa socially accountable solution committed to addressing a shortage of physicians and health professionals for which NOSM is internationally renowned,” said Dr. Roger Strasser, NOSM Dean. “On behalf of NOSM, I congratulate Hard Rock Medical Productions Inc. and TVO on the development of this series, and wish Hard Rock Medical great success.”
The Ontario government’s Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation is providing $1 million toward the production of the series through the Emerging Technology Program. This program is designed to encourage both the private and public sectors to develop exciting and viable new technologies that will contribute to future northern prosperity. Since 2005, the NOHFC has approved more than $36 million for more than 50 film and television production projects.
“Over a period of just a few years, the Ontario government has made a significant investment to help Northern Ontario’s film and TV production industry get established and grow,” added Rick Bartolucci, Minister of Northern Development and Mines. “I’m excited by the potential of this new series to raise our region’s profile, and to continue to contribute to Sudbury’s economy through production jobs and support services.”
Production on the series will begin in and around Sudbury in 2012.