Campus News

Published by Communications and Public Affairs 519 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338

News Release

December 04, 2006

TV Film Crew Returns to U of G

The television production company that is filming a new series at the University of Guelph will be back on campus Dec. 7 and 8. Most of the filming will take place outside Macdonald Hall and the Ontario Veterinary College (OVC).

Once again, a “base camp” of about 10 tractor-trailers has been set up in P13, the parking lot east of the Eccles Centre and South Residences. In addition, about eight trucks that supply hydro and other essential services to the film crew will be parked along Macdonald Lane Thursday and OVC on Friday. The Dec. 8 shoot will run from 4 p.m. to 4 a.m., but will be restricted to OVC.

The series, called The Best Years, is a one-hour drama that will air on CHTV in Canada starting in 2007 and on The N, a cable network channel in the United States. The N is owned by Viacom Inc., which runs more than 120 networks around the world, including MTV, VH1, Nickelodeon, Nick at Nite, Comedy Central, CMT and Spike TV.

The Best Years follows a 19-year-old orphan, Samantha Best, to university and chronicles the social, educational and personal challenges she and her friends face. “The Best Years is about forgetting who you were, discovering who you want to be and finding the friends who’ll get you there,” says Aaron Martin, the show’s creator and executive producer. Martin previously served as the head writer and show runner for Degrassi: The Next Generation.

“This is a dream cast, hand-picked from across Canada and the United States, playing ‘bright young things’ as they navigate the social wilderness of university life,” he says. The series stars Charity Shea, who appeared in the film Alpha Dog.

The series is set in Boston. Guelph’s walkways and buildings will appear on the small screen as the fictitious Charles University, and some U of G students will appear as extras. Most of the interior scenes for the series are being shot at the Toronto Film Studios. There, crews have re-created student residence rooms and common areas based on those found on Guelph’s campus.

Prof. Pat Flood, English and Theatre Studies, recently took students enrolled in her course “Production Design for Film and Television” to Toronto for a tour of the set. “The art director and head carpenter took us through some of their standing sets for the series and introduced us to the graphic designer and the set designer,” said Flood. “They all talked to us about the work they do and pointed out interesting features of the set.”

She says the visit was a practical illustration of the work done in her class. “I wanted the students to see real sets in a studio so they could better understand how to approach their final project — designing the set and doing a storyboard for a particular production. I also think it’s very useful for students to meet professionals in the field because it lets them see how the theory is applied. And it’s very useful for me when a professional reinforces something I’ve said in class.”

All revenues the University receives from location fees paid by the TV production company will be used to benefit students and the campus, ranging from supporting residential programs to dealing with deferred maintenance and making improvements to parking lots.

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, 519 824- 4120, Ext. 53338, or Rachelle Cooper, Ext. 56982.

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