by Dustin Dinoff, published on September 4, 2006|
Winnipeg: Production is underway in Winnipeg on writer/director Kari Skogland's big-screen adaptation of Margaret Laurence's classic novel The Stone Angel, which is scheduled to wrap Sept. 22.
A coproduction between Winnipeg's Buffalo Gal Pictures and Toronto's Skogland Productions, Angel tells the story of Hagar Shipley, a 90-year-old woman looking back at her life from a nursing home.
According to Buffalo Gal producer Liz Jarvis, Skogland first adapted the novel for Alliance Atlantis. When AAC started moving away from film production, Skogland retained the rights to the script and took it to Buffalo Gal, finding a fan of the 42-year-old novel in Jarvis.
"I was immediately drawn to the project because the book was a real epiphany for me as a teenager, and I found out [Skogland] had a similar experience with it," says Jarvis from the set of the film during the second week of shooting. "It has been a challenge, and continues to be, but we think this is an important story to tell."
Skogland is also serving as a producer on the $8-million feature, which has funding from Telefilm Canada, Manitoba Film & Sound, The Harold Greenberg Fund, Canadian distributor Odeon Films and worldwide sales agent Sequence Films.
The film stars Ellen Burstyn (The Wicker Man) as Hagar, and features Dylan Baker (Fido), Kevin Zegers (Zoom), Ellen Page (X-Men: The Last Stand) and newcomer Christine Horne.
This has been a busy summer for Buffalo Gal, which wrapped the MOW Maneater - about a Georgia community that is terrorized by an escaped Bengal tiger prowling the Appalachian Trail - in late August.
The Peace Arch Entertainment production - serviced by Buffalo Gal under the watch of honcho Phyllis Laing - was directed by local helmer Gary Yates (Niagara Motel). It stars Marina Stephenson Kerr (Haunting Sarah), Ty Wood (On Thin Ice) and Gary Busey (The Gingerdead Man). Maneater is the second in Peach Arch's six-MOW deal with U.S.-based RHI Entertainment Distribution, announced in June. The first, Grizzly, which was also serviced in Manitoba by Buffalo Gal, wrapped in July.