Twenty years ago who would have thought Sudbury would have a medical school and a thriving film industry?
The made-in-Sudbury television drama, Hard Rock Medical, inspired by the Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM), will likely be broadcast this summer on TVO in Ontario and nationally on APTN. Sudbury will soon be famous in Australia as it will be shown on Aussie TV too.
The co-creator, writer, director and executive producer is Derek Diorio, who lives in Ottawa. Sudbury is his second home because he has been making television shows in the city for several years.
The tag line for Hard Rock Medical is, “A diverse group of students navigating their way through a four-year adventure in the most unusual medical school in the world.”
As far as Diorio knows, TVO has plans to air the first 13 half-hour episodes during the summer. There is something of a trend among smaller broadcasters to lure a TV audience bored by reruns on the major networks. (Note to Mad Men fans: season six starts April 7 on AMC.)
Plans are underway for a second season which would start filming in the fall and into early winter. Sudbury actor and musician Stéphane Paquette, who Diorio worked with previously on the TFO French comedy Meteo+, is one of the lead actors. The show also stars Angela Asher and Tamara Duarte, who both appeared on Degrassi: The Next Generation, and Patrick McKenna, who played Harold Green on the The Red Green Show.
Viewers will see places and people they know in the show which is “unapologetically set in Sudbury” says Diorio.
Jim Calarco of Cast North in North Bay did the casting. About 60 Northern Ontario actors were used in the series as well as many extras.
“It is important to have people from the community in the shows…I come from Ottawa and I am used to productions coming from out of town, paying us 10 cents, using our resources and blowing out of town. Nobody benefits from it in any shape or form. It has always irked me to no end. So when I work elsewhere, I try to treat people how I would like to be treated, says Diorio.
While he can’t give an exact date for when the show will air, Diorio says, “The thing I can guarantee is that it is not going to look like a Canadian television show…it is stunning. The backhanded compliment we get is, ‘wow it doesn’t look Canadian’.”