Anyone who tunes into CTV after the Superbowl will see Vancouver playing itself.
Two Vancouver-based production companies have banded together to create the new crime drama Motive, which premieres Feb. 3.
Its an incredible city and we really wanted to show off the vibrancy of Vancouver as this dynamic, post-Olympic glory of a city of glass and vistas and incredible scenery and neighbourhoods, and that its a really word-class, cosmopolitan city, said executive producer Rob Labelle of Foundation Features. Its just the perfect place to set it given that all of the producers live and work here.
He adds that with Vancouver often pretending to be another locale, be it Seattle or New York or Boston, it can be a challenge to ensure Vancouvers distinct features get edited out. In the case of Motive, however, the city doesnt have to pretend its something its not.
With the designer Don MacAulay and Mathias Herndl, whos our DP [director of photography], we can shoot whats before our eyes, said Labelle, adding that Motive features Vancouver as a character in a really dynamic procedural that weve turned on its ear.
Each episode begins by highlighting not only the murder victim, but also the killer. Detective Angie Flynn, her homicide team and viewers subsequently solve the murder mystery, uncovering how the crime was executed and why.
Audiences will see a crime scene in Stanley Park with downtown glistening in the background on a clear night, the distinctive Vancouver Special houses of the East Side and hear real neighbourhood names.
Vancouver has previously played itself in TV series that include Da Vincis Inquest, Continuum and Endgame.
Da Vincis Inquest was one of my favourite shows of all time, but it really resides so much in the Downtown Eastside. Its a darker, gritty, almost cinema verite feel to it, Labelle said. Were playing it really real, as well, but were really opening up what our backdrop is and where we can go.
Motive highlights the citys natural beauty alongside whats new and shiny. The fictional Metro Vancouver police department is housed at what in reality is the Creekside Community Centre in the former Olympic Village. Other cheats include pretending a house in Deep Cove resides in Kitsilano.
Motive stars Kristin Lehman, who acted in the AMC series The Killing, which was filmed largely in Vancouver but set in Seattle, and Louis Ferreira, from Stargate Universe. Other cast members include Lauren Holly from NCIS, Roger Cross (Arrow), Brendan Penny (The Assistances and Cameron Bright (The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn).
Labelle is the executive in charge of television with Foundation Features, which produced movies Capote, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus and Hard Core Logo 2. Foundation has teamed up with Lark Productions (Gastown Gamble, The Real Housewives of Vancouver) to bring Motive to life in association with Bell Media. Labelle feels fortunate for the support of the media giant, which commissioned the series Flashpoint, and of CTV. He has seen Vancouvers film and TV industry slide into serious decline over the last seven years.
[The provincial government is] misportraying what tax credit system is in B.C. and what it is in Quebec and Ontario. Its not a subsidy. Its not a hand out, said Labelle, who argues credits that help draw productions to B.C. multiply benefits to other businesses such as dry cleaners and restaurants, generating more tax revenue for the province.
If something doesnt change, it will continue to decline, he said, adding Foundation Features prefers to shoot in Vancouver, where the company is based and where theres a robust talent pool, but production companies like his need to consider their bottom line.
But when Labelle isnt sounding off about the dire state of the TV and film industry in B.C., this dual citizen of Canada and the U.S. and 15-year resident of the Lower Mainland sounds upbeat about seeing his adopted home looking fresh on screen in Motive.
Its completely thrilling, he said. Its a show of international calibre, so be able to put Vancouver front and centre is just icing on the cake.
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