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Monday, January 18, 2010

Mounties Under Fire - January 21, 2010 on CBC

CBC-TV’s Doc Zone Presents The World Broadcast Premiere of Mounties Under Fire on Thursday, January 21 at 9:00 pm (9:30 NT)

Given unprecedented access to the RCMP during its darkest days, filmmaker Helen Slinger and Bountiful Films reveal a flawed force in the throes of painful self-examination.

Mounties Under Fire, premiering on CBC Television’s Doc Zone on Thursday, January 21 at 9 pm (9:30 NT), is a gripping journey into the heart of the RCMP during a period of profound crisis. Notorious for closing ranks, the Mounties open up to documentary cameras, revealing a painfully flawed organization fighting for its life.

It’s been a most difficult decade for Canada’s national police force. Faith in the RCMP has been shaken – by Maher Arar’s betrayal, the pension scandal, harassment cases, and too many deaths on duty. And especially by the captured-on-video taser death of Robert Dziekanski at Vancouver International Airport, and the Braidwood Inquiry into that death. A 2009 Canadian Press Harris-Decima poll found over 60 per cent of Canadians don’t buy the RCMP version of the events at Vancouver airport that lead to Mr. Dziekanski’s death. That number jumps to 71 per cent in BC, where it happened.

Woven into the big picture - and sometimes colliding with it – are the very human stories of young recruits still willing to step into a force under heavy fire. During some of the RCMP’s darkest days last winter, documentary filmmaker Helen Slinger and Bountiful Films were granted unprecedented access to Depot, the fabled RCMP training academy in Regina. There, Slinger followed a troop of idealistic new recruits during their six months of basic training. Mounties Under Fire profiles: Alex Rouhani, from Gatineau, Quebec, by way of Paris and Tehran; Emily Schmidt, from Cranbrook, British Columbia; and Steffan Manuel, from Grand Bank, Newfoundland. Will these three recruits survive the challenges, and the culture of Depot, to become Mounties?

The camera’s remarkable access doesn’t end at Depot. From top brass to beat cop, Bountiful Films captures a force in the throes of painful self-examination, struggling to get back to its core values.

Filmmaker Slinger was struck by the frankness with which senior RCMP responded to the film. “When commenting on the intimate view of the force that resulted from the open access we were able to negotiate, one senior Mountie said it all: ‘Riveting, but it hurts.’”

Bountiful Films was formed in 2001 by Helen Slinger and Maureen Palmer, to produce Leaving Bountiful, the story of one woman’s courageous flight from the fundamentalist Mormon polygamous colony of Bountiful, British Columbia. Since then, Bountiful Films has specialized in documentaries which capture compelling characters as they confront contemporary challenges. Recent titles include How to Divorce & Not Wreck the Kids for CBC’s Doc Zone, the Bully’s Mark, Polygamy’s Lost Boys and Alexandra’s Echo, for Global Television. In 2010 Bountiful will deliver two new films. With rare and exclusive access to hours of videotaped therapy sessions, When the Devil Knocks for CBC's The Passionate Eye promises to be a spellbinding journey into one of psychiatry's most intriguing conditions, Dissociative Identity Disorder, formerly known as Multiple Personality Disorder. Cat Craze for Doc Zone explores our fascination for cats, and the crisis created by that obsession.

Mounties Under Fire is written and directed by Helen Slinger, and produced by Slinger, Maureen Palmer and Sue Ridout. Narrator is Ann-Marie MacDonald. Director of Photography is Steve Rendall; Editor is Tim Wanlin; Music by Michael Friedman and Edward Henderson; Sound Design by Larry Baker and Location Sound by Ed Seneshen. For CBC’s Independent Documentary Unit: Linda Laughlin, Senior Producer; Michael Claydon, Area Executive Producer. Mark Starowicz is Executive Director, Documentary Programming.

Mounties Under Fire is produced by Bountiful Films in association with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, with the participation of the Canadian Television Fund created by the Government of Canada and the Canadian cable industry, the Province of British Columbia Film Incentive BC, and the Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit Program.

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