Norflicks Productions Ltd. - Mission Statement

Simple survival in the television and film production business anywhere is an achievement, and Norflicks is proud to have been around for 25 years. Look at most of the big names that began in production that long ago, and I will show you a company that has segued into distribution. That’s where production companies go, to prosper or to die. Norflicks so far has resisted the temptation to do either.

But we would not have been around so long if we had not gone beyond the Canadian broadcasting system and its various funding agencies for our program financing. Norflicks and its predecessor companies have co-produced with Britain, (the BBC, Carlton, London Weekend and Southern Television) the US, (Time Life Films, RKO the New York times, WNET, WNED, and Showtime) Germany (Polyphon, NFP teleart, Sudwest Funk) Czech Republic, (Czech Television) France, Japan, Australia and South America (Brazil).

In addition, 40 of our programs were produced in a second language, primarily French, which provided a modest additional source of funding. More than two thirds of the funding for our highly acclaimed war series’ No Price Too High, Far From Home, Test of Will, Night Fighters, Seapower to Superpower, came from Canadian foundations not usually associated with the funding of television productions or with broadcasting.  

Sponsors such as Noranda, Imperial Oil, and General Motors were important contributors until this kind of sponsorship was effectively ended by Canadian broadcasters. Government, and other mandated sources of funding have not been neglected, and a number of Norflicks productions have had CTF and Telefilm support, and we’ve done a number of co-productions under co-production treaties with Germany , Britain and the Czech Republic . This variety of funding has enabled Norflicks to concentrate on programs that originated with us or our co-producers; driven by content which engaged our passions, our intellect and our sense of humour.  

For a variety of reasons not always of our making, Norflicks has tended to concentrate in certain specific areas such as military history, (more than 30 hours of programming) the work and thoughts of Jean Vanier, (40 programs with one of the leading Christian thinkers and activists on the planet) more than 20 programs on social issues, 30 half-hour episodes of Wingfield, a successful television adaptation of the popular one-man stage show featuring Rod Beattie, some notable biopics of artists such as Alden Nowlan, poet, Karen Kain, ballerina, and William Hutt, actor, the latter nominated for a Gemini for Best Canadian Documentary in 2007, plus more than 150 contemporary profiles in the series The Originals with CITYtv.  

Past productions also include a memorable series on great cities featuring international figures of prominence including: Peter Ustinov’s Leningrad, John Huston’s Dublin, Elie Wiesel’s Jerusalem, Glenn Gould’s Toronto, Jonathan Miller’s London, George Plimpton’s New York, and others. In a previous co-production with the BBC and Time Life Films, we produced hour long programs on St. Augustin, Blaize Pascal, William Blake, Soren Kierkegaard, Leo Tolstoy, Theodor Doestoeyovsy and Deitrich Bonhoeffer.  

Drama has been more difficult to fund, but Norflicks also has a respectable record of drama production starting with The Newcomers/Les Arrivants, a 6 part mini-series which won an Emmy nomination; and The New Avengers starring Patrick Macnee and Joanna Lumley. Four MOW drama/comedies – Billy Bishop Goes to War, with John Grey and Eric Peterson, 1982, winning the Anik Award for Best Picture; Quebec Canada 1995 in 1983 starring Kenneth Welsh, Martha Henry, John Neville, Jackie Burroughs, Louise Marlow and Albert Millaire ; Labour of Love with Maury Chaykin and Michele Scarabelli in 1990; and Balls Up! with Brent Carver, Albert Schultz and Torri Higginson in 1998 .  

We’ve also done two MOW bio-pics: Hal Banks, Canada’s Sweetheart in 1987 (Anik Award Best Picture, also Best Director Donald Brittain, Best Screenplay by Richard Nielsen) and Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Agent of Grace, starring Ulrich Tukur, Robert Joy, John Neville and Johana Klante, (which won the Nymphe D’Or for best MOW, Monte Carlo, 2000). Two dramatic features: The Wars, 1981, starring Brent Carver, Martha Henry, and Bill Hutt, garnering 3 Genie awards and 8 nominations; and Oh What a Night! 1993, starring Corey Haim, Robbie Coltrane, Barbara Williams and Geneviève Bujold, written Richard Nielsen and produced by Norstar.  

Children’s drama: The Little Vampire, Writer/Producer Richard Nielsen, Director René Bonnière, a 13 part children’s television series based on the book by Angela Sommer-Bodenburg, a co-production between Norflicks, Polyphon and Southern Television UK, rated #1 with viewers 18 and younger in England and Germany and #2 in France, starring Gert Frobe, Michael Gough, Lynne Seymour, Bruno Gerussi, Joel Dacks, Christopher Anton, and Marsha Moreau. Norflicks credentials in investigative journalism include the series Connections, which Richard Nielsen executive produced, at the request of the CBC, which exposed the existence of organized crime in Canada . Connections consisted of 6 programs in 1977 and 1979. The second program of the first series according to the Book of Lists achieved the highest ratings ever for a Canadian program. Connections was produced by Bill MacAdam and Marty n Burke and researched by James Dubro.