Blog

Wed, Feb 12, 2014

Not "just a banker"... Not "just a bank"

Have you met Morgan Gunnarsson - WindCity's RBC Royal Bank's employee extraordinaire? Morgan is a true financial advisor who impressed us with RBC's diverse capabilities.

We first meet Morgan in episode 1 as she was striving to provide Dylan and Kate financial advice about their business at one of RBC's retail stores. In this scene, we find Dylan interacting with RBC's touch screen technology as they explore their options in one of RBC's open concept stores.

In episode 2, Morgan meets Dylan at a local restaurant to discuss business financing options. This non-traditional setting for a client meeting reflects RBC's mobile sales force capabilities. Because convenience and time are important to their clients, financial advisors will meet customers anytime, anywhere.

RBC employees go above and beyond for their clients and they do the same for their communities. The next time we see Morgan is when Dylan seeks her out at the United Way Plane Pull event. Looking like a superhero in her blue cape, Morgan is able to advise Dylan on his next steps, share a little about RBC's involvement in the community from the Pride Parade to the RBC Blue Water Project, all while leading her team of RBC volunteers as they pull a large airplane across the finish line!

Finally, as Morgan is celebrating Dylan's successful client meeting with the rest of the WindCity gang she mentions RBC's "Language Line" in response to a misunderstanding. What isn't a misunderstanding is that RBC recognizes that a challenge for newcomers to Canada is how to overcome potential language barriers. That is why RBC provides a service that enables clients to do business with RBC in over 144 languages through a three-way confidential call. It really is about tailored financial advice.

For more information on how Morgan isn't "just a banker" and RBC isn't "just a bank", visit www.rbc.com

Mon, Feb 10, 2014

One Giant Adult Playground

"The first time I walked into the Shark Club Gaming Centre I thought, 'Wow! This is like an arcade for adults!' The lights and sounds brought me back to a time of playing PacMan in the 80's, but this new iteration is way more sophisticated." – Paul Vieira (WindCity creator)

Against the backdrop of flashing neon lights and socially energized patrons having a great time, Shark Club is a giant adult playground, making it the perfect rendezvous location for our WindCity characters.

Located right next door to the MTS Centre in CityPlace mall, Shark Club Sports Bar, Grill and Gaming Centre is one of downtown Winnipeg's newest additions. Incredibly innovative and diverse, Shark Club offers fun and exciting entertainment options to share with your friends.

Jets game tonight? Meet up for a drink before the puck drops, or enjoy the game on one of the 57 high-definition TV's and a state-of-the-art sound system. Not into sports but love a social atmosphere? Come down on a weekend for live DJ music and dancing. Shopping downtown? Take a break and enjoy some delicious eats prepared by a world-class chef. After dinner, try the experience of gaming with friends! Shark Club has slot machines, Blackjack and Roulette tables.

Regardless of your fancy, there is something for everyone to enjoy at Shark Club.

Check out http://www.sharkclubs.com

Thu, Feb 6, 2014

Sam loves his college!

Arguably one of the best interns ever, the exuberant Sam Fortier is a product of his exceptional educational experience. As he puts it, "...Red River College…downtown Winnipeg! I'm in love with the whole thing!"

Offering unique shooting locations as well as fantastic and diverse subjects, Red River College was an easy choice for a WindCity brand partner.

The college is home to the fabulous Jane's featured in the restaurant scene in episode 2. Duke and Kate sit and discuss business over mouthwatering food prepared by the students and the college's celebrated chefs. The menu is full of the trendiest dishes modern culinary arts has to offer, and is served in a historic and elegantly refurbished building.

Aside from the beautiful Exchange District location, Red River College also has many other campuses throughout Manitoba and Distance Education options, making it easier than ever to connect and continue your education from wherever you call home.

If living close to campus is a preference, take a look at the best of downtown living in student residence at the Paterson GlobalFoods Institute. It can't get much better than rolling out of bed fifteen minutes before a class and still be on time!

One of the college's greatest trademarks by far, is the fact that its students come from many places, not just from Winnipeg or elsewhere in Canada. Take it from Sam himself, "I love it! Students travel here from all over the world. I have friends from China, Brazil - Let me do it in alphabetical order. Algeria, Brazil, China... Dubai... India!"

The world studies at Red River College! How cool is that?

Visit http://www.rrc.ca

View video

Wed, Feb 5, 2014

Behind the Scenes 3 - Kate Brady

Rebecca Gibson talks about being a writer and actor on the comedy WindCity.

View video

Mon, Feb 3, 2014

Behind the Scenes 2 - playing it straight

Adam Hurtig talks about playing it straight in the comedy WindCity.

View video

Mon, Feb 3, 2014

The Assiniboine Park Zoo

Did you recognize Kamal, the Asiatic Lion in the Assiniboine Park Zoo scene in episode 4? Or was it his twin brother Bhanu? It can be hard to tell the two apart!

Our team was lucky enough to get to know the two brothers a little bit better while shooting. Despite their regal appearance, the two love to play and were very curious of our crew and equipment. We also learned that the Assiniboine Park Zoo is the only North American facility to house Asiatic Lions! We are considering ourselves lucky, that’s for sure!

Although our team took advantage of fantastic subjects and amazing summer weather to shoot, the Zoo is also a great place to visit in the winter! There are a wide variety of cold-climate species that are very active in the wintertime.

Now, we know what you’re thinking. Spend all day out in the cold? No Thank You! Keep in mind however, that the Assiniboine Zoo also has plenty of warm indoor exhibits during the winter.

Toucan Ridge is a welcomed escape from the harsh winter cold. Featuring all sorts of exotic plants and animals from Central and South America, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into a tropical paradise! 

New to the Zoo this year is the first of its kind, Polar Playground. A massive, interactive children’s play area, which includes a wall-sized icicle xylophone, a moving ice-mass floor, and much more! 

The Polar Playground will also be a part of the much-anticipated Journey to Churchill. Opening this year, the world-class exhibit will be the new home for the Zoo’s four polar bears. Hudson (2 year old male), Storm (3 year old male), Aurora and Kaska (1 year old female cubs). 

Just something else that is uniquely Winnipeg!

For more information on the Assiniboine Park Zoo check out zoosociety.com

Thu, Jan 30, 2014

Longer episodes? Future seasons?

WindCity is the first of its kind - a locally-branded web series. Let’s break this down. First, it’s a web series.

A web series usually consists of very short episodes. It’s online and available on demand. You typically watch it on your computer, tablet or mobile phone.  It’s “sit-forward” entertainment. You catch episodes on the fly, on a coffee break at work or on the bus ride home, for example. At home, people typically enjoy “sit-back” entertainment.  You have a couple of hours to kill, so you cozy up on the couch to watch a movie or favourite show on TV.

Now, what we’ve consistently heard from fans is, “We want longer episodes!” This is something we’ll definitely consider moving forward. And that’s the other thing we hear from fans. “Is there more? Are you planning for Season 2?” I’ll get to that, but please let me unpack the meaning of “locally branded entertainment” by describing “locally branded.”

Locally branded means Winnipeg becomes a character on the show, having great local companies invest in the show in exchange for screen time. Entertainment has a long history of being financed by brands through advertising. But these days, people hate having their entertainment interrupted with ads. We’ve become quite efficient at avoiding them all together. So instead of interrupting people’s leisure time, why couldn’t brands provide that leisure time and engage their own audience with content that is interesting to that audience? WindCity seeks to do this at a local level.

Great local companies have partnered with us to create a show with interesting characters and a good story that hopefully makes people feel good about the place they live.  Of course, this only makes good business sense if there is an audience watching it.  WindCity must engage a local audience in order to have any chance at continuing into future seasons.

So, what lies ahead for WindCity? Well, there is so much more of a story to tell.  Season 2, 3 and beyond can tell that story.  Dylan’s last speech in Episode 6 really excites me:

It's about all the exciting and unique changes in our city. The Jets are back in the loudest arena in North America. We've got polar bears, a new stadium, a new airport, new hotels, and the Canadian Museum for Human Rights!

A new Winnipeg is emerging and WindCity can continue to showcase the great things that are happening here.  But future seasons of the show all depend on the success of Season 1, and that comes down to “views”!  The more views we get, the better chance we have at producing more seasons…and quite possibly even longer episodes!  So if you’re a fan, please help us!

We invite you to spread the word. Follow the show on our various social media channels and tell your family and friends about it.

http://youtube.com/user/windcitytvseries

http://facebook.com/windcitytv

http://twitter.com/windcitytv

http://windcitytv.tumblr.com

http://www.pinterest.com/windcitytv/

Now that all 6 episodes are up, I think people will want to watch them back-to-back and that’s great.  But there’s still more!  Over the next couple weeks, we will be releasing a ton of behind-the-scenes videos, images and blog posts. So please, keep coming back!

- Paul Vieira

Mon, Jan 27, 2014

Eating is a Carnaval at our East Exchange Restaurant Shoot

Did you catch waterfront hotspot Carnaval Brazilian BBQ as the backdrop of Dylan and Kate’s non-date restaurant scene in episode 4?

Here’s a little-known fact – the staff in the shots were real Carnaval staff … and the hungry look on all our faces was 100% legit, too!

We were happy to bring the restaurant into the show as a brand partner and could barely contain our salivation throughout the day we spent shooting.

The serving staff – known as Gauchos, or carvers – were constantly visiting the tables around us with freshly barbequed cuts of beef, lamb, pork, chicken and sausage and the whole crew wished we had the same cards as the patrons to ask for more!

(The restaurant serves food in the authentic Churrascaria style, which means that diners have a two-sided card they place out on the table … green side up means feed me, while red means I need a break.)

We watched as the tables around us stuffed themselves and sipped on Carnaval’s signature Caipirinha cocktails, international wines and more.

Between takes we sampled what we could and learned a ton about the authentic way of dining. After we wrapped, many of us returned for dinner and can say without question that the rest of Winnipeg should, too!

Visit their website to have a look at the delicious menu! carnavalrestaurant.com

Mon, Jan 20, 2014

The mid-way point

Now that three episodes are up, we are at the mid-way point in our story. So what do we know?

Dylan Brady

Everything revolves around Dylan Brady and for the past several years, he hasn't even noticed. Sharing a consulting company with his wife, Kate, he gradually became complacent in the tech & creative elements of the business, leaving everything else up to Kate – including raising their daughter, Olivia. When Kate decides she's had enough, leaves Dylan and wants to sell the business, he finally wakes up. Based on sound advice from Morgan (his RBC Account Manager), he must show that he can win the business of new clients to attract the confidence of a potential investor. Unfortunately, his first client engagement with the formidable Loni Chase isn't going so well. But not all is doom and gloom for Dylan. In episode 3, Dylan receives a surprising but encouraging call from Kate, who wants to meet to talk. Unfortunately, that meeting doesn't take place…thanks to conniving activity of Duke Ward.

Duke Ward

Duke Ward is a classic charming bully. He's the kind of guy who will give you a compliment that will leave you feeling like you've been knifed in the gut. Handsome, wealthy, and used to getting his own way, Duke plays with people's lives for fun. When it comes to Dylan and Kate, there is more at stake. What is Duke up to? Who else is he messing with?

Switch

Switch is painfully shy, socially awkward, and a card-carrying computer geek. Her best friends are her single mom, and her boss, Dylan, who has seen through her angsty exterior and challenged her to become more involved in the business. Switch seems loyal to Dylan…or is she? What's going on with her at the end of episode 3? She seems to have a secret that she's keeping from Dylan. You certainly get this idea from reading her blog – windcityswitch.tumblr.com

Sam Fortier

Sam is a proud Red River College student, and an intern at the RBC Convention Centre, where he serves as Loni Chase's assistant. Sam is an energetic, passionate, ever-helpful goofball. He always speaks his mind, and gets away with it because of his positive disposition. Sam loves Winnipeg, and is happy to show it off after bumping into Kate on campus. Kate's day out on the town with Sam causes some deep feelings to surface.

Kate Brady

Determined to start fresh after separating from her husband, Kate is dedicated to reconnecting with her sense of fun. Kate has grown up with wealth and privilege. Every opportunity was available to her. She was the pride of her father, that is, until she married Dylan. Kate has dedicated herself to managing every element of a successful consulting business, running a home, and raising a happy, confident tween daughter. Somewhere along the way, Kate lost sight of who she is. Will Kate embrace the new opportunity being offered to her? Will she leave Dylan behind for good?

Then there's Julia…

Julia Brady

Julia is an aging hipster who has floated from job to job throughout her adult life. Julia loves her brother, but has a hard time paying attention when he talks. If Julia could sell tickets to the inside of her brain, she'd be a millionaire. She's a lone warrior, on a mission to find her mission.

Stay tuned. Episode 4 comes out tomorrow!

Follow the characters on Twitter:
@windcitytvdylan
@windcitytvkate
@windcitytvduke
@windcityswitch
@windcitytvsam
@windcitytvjulia

Fri, Jan 17, 2014

Not Just Another Teen Actor

WindCity’s youngest cast member, 15-year-old Abbey Thickson, is certainly holding her own as Olivia – the daughter of leading on-and-off couple Dylan and Kate Brady.

Abbey came to the show with film, commercial and theatre work under her belt, and tells us she was thrilled to broaden her horizons with this web series opportunity. Listen in as Abbey tells us about the laughs and “good times” she shared with the WindCity team – a group she’s happy to now call “family.”

What does it mean to you to be a part of this production?

To me the people on this production are like a second family. Everyone looks out for each other and cares and supports each other, even when things get stressful on set. Everyone is forgiving and loving, and that is what this production is like all of the time. It is an amazing experience to meet such talented people, and now have those people who were once strangers become my family. They brought their knowledge and friendship into my life through this production, and the show, along with having a great story line, is a beautiful way to connect with our city.

Tell us a bit about Olivia – she’s stuck in the middle of her parents impending split and seems to be forced to act way beyond her age.

She is very mature for her age, always taking care of Dylan (her dad) and playing the parental role. She also wants Kate (her mom) to have a little more fun and enjoy life. I relate well to this character. I sometimes feel that I am mature for my age as well and find my parents to be similar to Kate and Dylan in some ways.

Olivia is a dancer, which I am also. Olivia wishes her parents would get back together as I assume most children of separations do (even though relating to that was a bit of a challenge since my parents are happily married).

I am excited to dig deeper into this story and into the character of Olivia. I feel she relates to many pre-teens and teenagers that are going through the same thing.

Watch Abbey take on the role of daughter, parent, mediator and fun-maker on the next episode of WindCity.

Mon, Jan 13, 2014

Sierra Noble Switches it Up for WindCity

Hers is a name already known to many Manitobans, but 23-year-old singer-songwriter and fiddler extraordinaire is about to make waves on a whole new level.

Noble – whose 10-year music career has seen her work with some of the most acclaimed musicians and songwriters in the world – recently returned to Winnipeg from time in New York City, Nashville and Los Angeles and can now be seen on our very own WindCity.

We sat down her to get the dirt on her acting debut.

What does it mean to be part of this production?

It's crazy exciting to finally get the opportunity to act! This is something I have wanted to try my hand at for years, and it's particularly special that my first acting gig is WindCity. I remember when (showrunner and producer) Paul sent me a Facebook message about it along with a rough script of the first episode. I thought it was a GENIUS idea and I was so honoured that he wanted me to be a part of it! I'm excited to see this thing take off, because I truly think that it will.

The character “Switch” is a real departure from the Sierra Noble we see on stage. Tell us about her.

I love Switch, I connect with her, I feel like I'm friends with her. Genius, very socially awkward, huge heart, trusting, and suuuuuuch a nerd! It was a blast to have to try and bring out my inner nerd to play Switch, and some of my own awkwardness - yes, I can be extremely awkward at times!

The most difficult part of playing Switch I would say was the dry heaving...ya know someone can only fake dry heave so many times before you start feeling a little sick, haha. No but really, all of it was hard.

This is such a new and foreign thing to me that it was pretty intense all the time. My brain hurt from learning new things every single second haha but it was so exciting :) I am really looking forward to doing some acting training and doing more of this!

You grew up in Winnipeg – how do you make that experience translate into creating an on-screen Winnipeg.

As dear friend Oliver Schroer said one exceptionally mosquito infested day at The Winnipeg Folk Fest, "Winnipeg is the only place where you can walk up to someone, slap them across the face, and they'll say 'Thank you!'"

Whether it's mosquitoes, or -50 cold ... as Winnipeggers we grow up knowing "we're all in this together", and that carries into everything we do. We're a community, and it's infectious. People always tease about how Winnipeggers always leave Winnipeg, and it's true, but how wonderful is that for the world?! We run off around the world spreading this effortless and beautiful sense of togetherness and community...something the world always needs more of.

See Sierra as Switch when Episode 2 premieres this week!

Switch has a blog. Follower her at http://windcityswitch.tumblr.com

Fri, Jan 10, 2014

Behind the Scenes 1 - Dylan Brady

Adam Hurtig talks about playing Dylan on WindCity.

View video

Thu, Jan 9, 2014

Get out of her way – Trish Cooper makes Loni the Boss

Tricia Cooper is a playwright, actor, and comedian. As a member of the sketch comedy troupe, the Royal Liechtenstein Theatre Company, she toured all over Canada and helped create a CBC Television special. Since then she has written and performed in three solo shows in venues across Canada and is a regular contributor to CBC Radio.

Her full-length debut play Social Studies just closed at Prairie Theatre Exchange – and now she’s bringing both her writing and acting chops to life with WindCity (before scurrying out on the road with Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre’s touring production of Miracle on South Division Street).

Like a few others on the team, the WindCity experience was unique for you as both a writer and taking on the role of the very charismatic and in-charge Loni. What was that like?

I had so much fun on the set of WindCity playing Loni Chase. I am used to playing low status roles for some reason, nerdy or scatterbrained or wacky but Loni has it going on, and is confident, blunt and dry so it was a departure for me, but I really enjoyed it.

I have worked on several projects that don’t actually go into production, so even though I was sitting in hair and makeup I still couldn’t believe that it was actually happening. Paul had a great idea that actually turned into a script and then an actual crew showed up, it was so exciting!

How is being part of such a truly Winnipeg production special for you?

I grew up in Winnipeg and spent some time in Toronto but have mostly lived here in Winnipeg. It’s not a small city, but I still have a tendency to be surprised if I meet someone new and I can’t find a mutual friend within minutes of being introduced. There is something comforting about living somewhere where you are not anonymous. It also means you really should mind your manners because you could definitely offend your sister’s boss’s best friend’s cousin without meaning to.

See more of Trish’s Loni as WindCity continues!

Mon, Jan 6, 2014

"Not in this town." Really?

"Interesting idea, but this will never happen…not in this town." I heard this a few times when I first shared the idea with others. "This city is too conservative for something like this." I didn't believe them and I'm glad they were wrong. In fact, over the past year, I've found this simply not to be true. There are amazing things going on in this city, all being driven by locally-grown innovative thinkers and visionaries. And tomorrow, it's happening!

WindCity, Winnipeg's comedy web series premieres here at winnipegfreepress.com/windcity. A web series is like a mini TV show, with each episode 6-8 minutes long. I first got the idea about 2 years ago, sitting on a bus. Movies are filmed in Winnipeg all the time, but made out to look like another place such as Chicago or Boston. Let's produce a web series that doesn't hide Winnipeg; in fact, it would celebrate Winnipeg and highlight the very best of this city. The entire production would be locally-inspired, showcasing hot local talent and world-class attractions. Yet, it would be 100% entertainment. It would be "story" first, with endearing characters and humour…a dramatic comedy!

But how would we finance something like this? Would local companies invest in the show in return for screen time? That made sense to me. If Winnipeg is a character on the show, then to tell an authentic story, we would need to showcase great local companies. Their products, services and stories would integrate naturally into the narrative because this is where our characters live. So when Dylan and Kate go to a restaurant to talk about their relationship, they go to Carvanal Brazilian BBQ. They go to a real Winnipeg place!

I knew that the show would have to have top-notch production quality, so I approached the best production companies in the city - FRANK Digital, Frantic Films and MidCanada Production Services. We became partners. Last year, we made a pilot episode with a generous investment from our first local partner - RBC Convention Centre Winnipeg. I presented the concept and screened the pilot with many other local CEO's and VP's. Several great local organizations became our partners and six months later we had our green light! In September, we went into production for a six-episode season. Tomorrow, we release episode 1.

I believe that WindCity will reposition the perception of the city, and present a new Winnipeg to the world! No other city has done anything quite like this before. But does that surprise you? It doesn't surprise me. "Not in this town." Really? This is Winnipeg.

- Paul Vieira

Mon, Dec 30, 2013

Don’t Call Her "Just a Banker"

Ali Tataryn lends her chops to Morgan Gunnarsson – our no nonsense banker, who helps her clients in every way she can without ever crossing the line.

Just prior to working on WindCity, Ali worked on a quirky Canadian project, Teen Lust, directed by Blaine Thurier, starring Cary Elwes and also took part in Heaven Is For Real with Greg Kinnear.

When not onscreen, Ali runs Frame Arts Warehouse and will be taking part in the upcoming International Women's Week Cabaret of Monologues with Sarasvati Productions as a slam poet.

Read on to see how this all-around artist fell into step with her much more straight-laced character!

What does it mean to you to be a part of this production?

Being part of this production was a fabulous experiment for me. I'm very interested in new media forms and am fascinated by the process of telling a heartwarming story while still working with the funders involved to serve their needs. Aside from that, just being able to work so closely with some of the most talented and known names in Winnipeg was a big honor, and a little intimidating! Seriously!

Tell us a bit about Morgan. Can you relate to her at all?

Playing Morgan was such a fun challenge for me. I LOVE Morgan because she is so intelligent and still so funny. I have to admit, I get intimidated by top-to-bottom business suits, but I realized that I have more in common with her than I thought, now that I run my own business.

I can relate to her also, because she is very much "stuck in the middle" of the separation, but she always kept things professional.

See how Morgan brings straight-laced to life when WindCity premieres January 7!

Fri, Dec 27, 2013

Don’t Call Him No Second Fiddle

As Sam Fortier – a Red River College student, RBC Convention Centre intern and unofficial class clown – actor Kyle Nobess is able to let his inner goofball shine through.

That's comfortable territory for Kyle, whose hijinks will soon also be seen on APTN as both a police officer involved in a twisted love triangle (Mohawk Girls) and the goofy casino pit boss on Season 4 of Cashing In.

On WindCity, Sam jigs, cracks wise and speaks his mind … and gets away with it – and we gave him a chance to do that off-screen too.

Talk about your experience talking your city up on the small screen.

It means a lot for me to be a part of this production. There was so much work and determination to get this project off the ground and I really think it's going to showcase this through the final cut. I am very proud of this show and everybody involved. It's a unique concept and it's going to be really great to see so many people looking at our city in this way.

Serious answer! Now for the not so serious … talk about Sam.

He is the overly joyful intern who gets to work side-by-side with the big boss, Loni. I really enjoyed playing Sam. It was one of the most entertaining experiences I had playing a character. The director gave me a lot of freedom with the energy and choices I had for Sam. There wasn't anything too character specific with how they saw Sam Fortier so I almost had free reign with what I wanted to do with the character and was very pleased to get the positive feedback and approval from the creators.

The only challenge I came across was when we had some overnight shoots. I was coming back from another set and didn't get much rest in between. The challenge was having to find that intense excitement that Sam has and at 4 or 5 am that can be tough to do. The cast was so helpful and we all pulled the performances out of each other.

See Kyle joke and jig when WindCity premieres January 7!

Mon, Dec 23, 2013

Good to Be Bad

Every show has to have a resident bad boy. Duke – played by local actor Karl Thordarsson – is ours.

Karl recently appeared on stage in Maple Route- a story of the struggles Canadian soldiers are presented with while coping with PTSD. His other stage credits include work with Shakespeare in the Ruins (Henry V), Sondheimfest (Sunday in the Park with George) and Churchillfest (The Skriker), as well as most proudly, Étoile a KDSZ show for the Winnipeg Fringe that he created with his wife Daina, starring their two beautiful children - Sativa and Zsigunnar.

You may have also seen him on screen as German composer G.F. Handel in Heaven is for Real, being tortured by Samuel L Jackson in Reasonable Doubt and winning the Avco Cup in the CBC's The Gordie Howe Movie.

This time around, Karl's Duke is Dylan's lifelong rival – a playboy who's lived a life of privilege and is used to getting what he wants. A classic and charming bully, he's the kind of guy who will give you a compliment that will leave you feeling like you've been knifed in the gut.

We made it through this chat without any wounds, and talked to Karl (who's quite nice off-screen) about the fun to be had playing the guy not many people will cheer for.

Tell us a bit about the character you play.

Duke is classically overcompensating for his insecurities. With Duke, it's all on the outside. He shows what he wants people to see, which he feels allows him to pursue his objectives without detection. It was challenging to present someone so outwardly confident while at the same time allowing for glimpses into the uncertainty he feels when he's exposed.

I think we can all relate to wanting to be in control of how we're perceived, and experiencing the discomfort of struggling to maintain that. Duke just set the bar so high for himself and it's funny to watch him fail.

What does it mean to you to be a part of this production?

I'm very excited – the concept has so much potential and the character of Duke is such a fun one to explore. It's also a treat to be among such a supportive and positive group. It's inspiring that everyone tries to offer their best to this work.

You're a Winnipegger, through and through. What's the best part about living here?

It's rare to find a place where all four seasons still exist, each with their own charm and anticipation. I love that … except winter seems to blend beyond its calendar dates. But that's ok, for a kid who loved playing hockey, either on the rink or on the street, you couldn't ask for better conditions.

It's also a sincere and humble place, where the best of its people follow the city's lead.

Check out Karl, as Duke, when WindCity premieres January 7!

Thu, Dec 19, 2013

Write What You Know, Do What You Love

One thing is certain the moment audiences meet Kate Brady, WindCity's leading lady – she knows what she wants and will stop at nothing to get it.

That quality's a reflection of local lady-of-all-trades Rebecca Gibson, who not only plays Kate but wrote her (as a member of the writing team), too.

Rebecca's a well-known writer, actor, director, and producer whose credits include the award-winning series Tipi Tales, the television special Rising Stars, the drama H&G (which recently played at the Vancouver International Film Festival and the LA Femme Film Fest in Los Angeles), and several plays, including the upcoming The Naked Woman for which she recently won a national playwriting competition.

Here's what she has to say about breaking hearts and taking names in what might be one of her favorite roles to date.

Writer. Actor. You were in on the ground floor of this project … what does that whole experience mean to you now that we're weeks away from seeing it hit the airwaves?

When I was approached to participate in WindCity, I was so grateful to be invited to be a part of a show that celebrates Winnipeg. Over the course of my career there's been pressure to move, and I have lived in Toronto, Vancouver, and New York. But Winnipeg is my home. It's where I want to raise my kids. There's a line in the show, "the Jets are back", and that line makes me tear up even thinking of it now. Winnipeg feels so alive, so full of potential, and at the same time it feels like home.

Talk about Kate – the layers and layers of Kate.

Kate is a mom, she takes pride in working hard, she has a great sense of humour, she's a little clumsy. She loves her business partner/ex-husband Dylan, from whom she is separated because they both let their marriage go. As that was happening, Kate took on more responsibility to try to make it better, but she ended up resenting it, and losing part of herself. Throughout the show, she reconnects with who she is, her sense of fun, and tries to figure out what life she wants to live. A big part of that is whether Dylan will be a part of it -- whether he wants to be with her the way she wants to be with him, whether he's willing to fight for himself (because he lost sight of who he is) and for their love, and whether being with him is right, or whether it's really time to move on.

What do you like about the character?

I love that Kate is a well-rounded human being. She's a hot mess some of the time, working to keep it together for everyone. When she starts to take care of herself by opening up to new experiences, she's scared, because she feels the weight of her responsibility to her family and her business. Letting go isn't easy for her, but as she does she is really able to be at her best.

Is there any part of you in Kate?

I'm a mom, and I run a business (acting/writing/directing/producing), and so I relate to Kate in that I know the challenge of taking time to breathe -- it's worth it! Also, I'm a klutz, which is why Kate is, I think, because I would just do things during the shoot like fall up an escalator.

Were there challenges in playing the character?

The biggest challenge in playing the character was when the shoot was done. We'd worked so hard for a long time to get there, and the cast and crew was made up of dear friends, old and new. On the second last night, we'd been shooting an all-nighter, and Kyle Nobess who plays Sam said, "hey guys, I'm wrapped after this shot," and it just hit me that it was ending, for now. We hope for more seasons! The rest of playing Kate was a dream come true.

Sounds like the cast and crew are a tight bunch.

Darren Wall (the director) is incredible, so insightful -- he made everything fun and full of ease. And working with Adam Hurtig (Dylan) was a delight too, because we're good friends and I respect him so much as an actor. AND working with the hilarious cast and writing team -- amazing. AND even getting to know the background performers. Let's just say playing the character and being a part of this show was a phenomenal experience.

See more of Rebecca as Kate, when WindCity premieres January 7!

Mon, Dec 16, 2013

Meet the Man Behind "The Man"

Dylan Brady is the main man of the WindCity world – just one look at the trailer could tell you that! A loveable underachiever, Dylan’s buried his head in his computer and all but checked out of his life.

The character’s a far stretch for the man behind Dylan, Adam Hurtig – an emerging hotshot on the local film scene, whose determinations and togetherness put Dylan to shame. (Off-screen, of course. On-screen he makes Dylan look damn good.)

Adam made his film debut with a brief role in The Don Cherry Story 2, but has been acting since a young age. He has mostly been involved in theatre including a 5-star Winnipeg Fringe Festival play, Rogue Cop. Adam’s first prominent role was in Hallmark’s production, The Christmas Heart (Lifetime Network) but has gone on to work on such films as Jack: The Jack Layton Story and Curse of Chucky with writer/director Don Mancini.

We sat down with Adam to talk WindCity, playing an unassuming leading man and playing up the place he calls home.

You seem to be having a ton of fun with WindCity. Tell us about the experience as you see it.

I’m always looking to get involved in something that will change the filming business for the better. Whether it’s a new idea, a new style or new people, I am always trying to take in what each new idea has to offer. In the case of WindCity, the sky’s the limit. It not only has all of the above mentioned qualities but it is something that has never really been done before.

Talk about Dylan – there’s a good guy underneath all the bumbling around the audience sees in the trailer.

Dylan’s a guy that’s looking to make some positive changes in his life but has to go through a maze of challenges to get there. At heart, he’s a dreamer, a father, a husband, a passionate business man and a genuinely nice guy... He just sometimes needs a kick in the pants to get there. His character and I both find ourselves dreaming of bigger and better ways to make life around us better but we often need that push from the people we care about most to get there.

What really made the character of Dylan easy for me to wrap around was that everything he did was to help people. I’m not calling myself a saint but I do live my life in hopes of making other people lives easier. The great thing about this kind of character is that it creates interesting real moments of happiness, joy, sadness, anger, pain and humor; all things needed to tell a compelling story. He also goes through a love/hate relationship with this "one great city" much like not only myself but I’m sure many others have.

One great city – expand on that.

I think any stories I could share about living in Winnipeg will be the same as many others reading this. They would involve any of these ideas: Snow, bad drivers, 2 degrees of seperation, The Jets, The Bombers, snow, beautiful beaches, amazing people, gas prices, great deals, Osborne Village, “what’s with this traffic?!” and.... Snow.

Tune in to WindCity – premiering January 7 – to see more of Adam Hurtig as Dylan Brady.

Wed, Nov 27, 2013

Gearing up for Greatness

The excitement in the air around these parts can’t be easily explained.

Today marks the official kickoff of our WindCity teaser campaign, which means that the actual show premieres in just one month.

In four short weeks, audiences in the city (and hopefully the world) will get to watch the first Winnipeg-centric, locally produced digital sitcom to ever hit the airwaves. And that’s pretty damn thrilling for those of us who’ve been pouring our proverbial (and sometimes literal) blood, sweat and tears into the development, writing, production, editing and promotion for a concept that has been two years in the making.

What started as one person’s idea to promote Winnipeg as a city and boost local pride has grown into something bigger than any of us could’ve imagined … and we can’t wait to share it with our city and the world!

Over the next month, tune into this blog, watch the trailer and find us on social media to get behind-the-scenes peeks at WindCity, learn more about our actors and crew and – simply put – get as geared up as WE ARE for this phenomenal production.

We’ve got so much to show and tell you.

- The WindCity Team