Oct. 8, 2004
FREDERICTON (CNB) - Open Heart, a made-for-television movie shot on location in Saint John, will make its broadcast premiere on CBC Television on Sunday, Oct. 24 at 8 p.m.
Open Heart, made in partnership with New Brunswick Film, is set in a fictional Maritime hospital and stars Megan Follows as pediatric nurse Sherry Cardinal. Shocked by the discovery of lethal abuses in her cardiac surgery unit, Sherry must find the courage to stand alone and blow the whistle on a hostile hospital administration and the surgeon determined to crush her.
Inspired by real events in Canada and abroad, Open Heart explores the consequences of an under-funded health care system in a drama of heart-wrenching poignancy and moral choice. Also starring are Raoul Bhaneja, Vincent Walsh, Joseph Ziegler, Kim Roberts, Kate Lynch and Karl Pruner.
"We were struck by the wide variety of terrific locations in New Brunswick, and the level of cooperation we received when making locations arrangements," said Phyllis Platt, Toronto-based producer of Open Heart. "People bent over backwards for us, and we found everything we needed, all at close range. We had terrific experiences with the New Brunswick crew, and can't thank them enough for their hard work, good humour, and can-do attitude."
Actor Megan Follows also wanted to pay tribute to the crew and to the people of Saint John. "I love the Maritimes," said Follows. "I just think the people are extraordinary. We had a great crew, people worked extremely hard, and put their hearts and a lot of labour and time into making the actual reality of the story being told all come together."
Timothy M. Hogan, president of New Brunswick-based Dreamsmith Entertainment, Inc. and executive producer of Open Heart, also singled out the province's capabilities in the film industry. "The collaboration between the director, the actors, the film crew and the producers was unprecedented in the telling of this heart-wrenching story," said Hogan. "Our goal in New Brunswick was to show the world that we are capable of handling a serious drama in this province. And now, when decisions are being made by industry players, there can be no question that filming in New Brunswick is a viable, financially-prudent solution that can lead to dramatic success."
"The film and television industry is full of promise in New Brunswick," said Business New Brunswick Minister Peter Mesheau. "You don't have to turn to locations like Los Angeles or New York City to produce quality movies anymore. We are seeing all kinds of interest and growth in this sector right here at home which helps to strengthen the prosperity of our province by creating jobs and attracting new investments. At the same time, cultural opportunities generated by the industry help to improve our quality of life. All these benefits are consistent with our government's Cultural Policy."
Megan Follows has a personal empathy for nurses and nursing, for reasons that went well beyond her film role. "As fate would have it, my own daughter was sick in a Toronto hospital while I was filming Open Heart in New Brunswick, and I was flying back and forth between the two places all through that time," said Follows. "I saw first-hand the passion and hard work the nurses were putting in on behalf of my child on the floor at night, and the one-on-one interaction. In their roles as caregivers, nurses have a tremendous amount of empathy and compassion. As a mother myself, I have incredible respect for them."
Follows is immediately recognizable to audiences around the world for her starring role as the headstrong, redheaded orphan "Anne Shirley" in the three, internationally popular Anne of Green Gables movies based on L.M. Montgomery's beloved books. The films are among the most popular ever made in Canada and have been broadcast in over 145 countries. Follows performances won her Gemini Awards as Best Actress in the first two movies, plus a Best Actress Gemini Award nomination in the third. The first movie, Anne of Green Gables, also won an Emmy Award as Best Children's Movie.
New Brunswick Film's mandate is to establish an economically stable, viable and vibrant film and television industry in New Brunswick, ensure continuing production of quality New Brunswick films and television series appealing to a variety of audiences, and increase opportunities for New Brunswick residents working in the New Brunswick film industry. New Brunswick Film is a business unit of Business New Brunswick.
MEDIA CONTACT: Sarah Ketcheson, communications, Business New Brunswick, 506-444-4983.