Vancouver actor Wesley MacInnes takes to the courts as Kevin O’Neill in the upcoming CBC / Dream Street Pictures production, The Phantoms (airs Sunday, November 18 at 8 PM on CBC Television). A true story about the courageous fight in memory of lost teammates and the quest for a basketball championship.
The Phantoms is inspired by the heart-warming, real-life events surrounding the 2009 New Brunswick provincial championship victory of the Bathurst High School (BHS Phantoms) boys varsity basketball team, a year after a terrible road accident that took the lives of seven players and the coach’s wife. In the following school year, as the tragedy hung over the community, the BHS Phantoms were reconstituted. The ragtag bunch of players gelled as a team, and as their season progressed, they lifted community spirit, and went on to win the coveted provincial basketball title for the first time in team history.
MacInnes relocated to the town of Bathurst, New Brunswick for two months in late 2011 where the project was filmed. Before any cameras rolled he spent weeks going through an intense basketball training camp run by Alan Doucet and Glenn States (the actual coaches from the 2009 season), along with his teammates Tyler Johnston (The Killing, Keep Your Head up Kid: The Don Cherry Story, Less Than Kind), Kyle Mac (Degrassi: The Next Generation), Jacob Neayem (Degrassi: The Next Generation) and Emmanuel Sarpong. With former basketball player Sudz Sutherland directing the film “The emphasis was really on the game. It had to be authentic in order to tell this story with the care and respect that it deserves. We all understood that and gave it everything so that what we captured on film would properly convey the life of this real team,” said MacInnes on the process of becoming The Phantoms.
The filming utilized many of the locations in Bathurst where the actual events took place; the community played a large part in the film, as Bathurst residents took on many of the film’s acting and background performer roles. Additionally, many of the Bathurst High School players from the 2009 season returned to the town to appear as basketball players on the competing teams. “Getting to live in Bathurst, to work with the real coaches and players, and to film in so many of the true to life locations was unlike any filming process I’ve ever seen,” said MacInnes. “The sense of community and strength there was remarkable.”
Off the court, his character, Kevin O’Neill was a musician and MacInnes drew from his own musical background to play the part, contributing multiple onscreen performances, as well as a song he produced for the film’s sound track.
Prior to working on The Phantoms, MacInnes has played roles on Smallville, Continuum, Magic Beyond Words: The JK Rowling Story, A Dog Named Christmas, The Vampire Diaries and CBC’s Heartland where he portrayed up and coming country musician Austin Mars throughout the shows fifth season.
MacInnes presently resides in Vancouver, BC where he is filming, writing and recording for new projects set to air in 2013.
CBC Television presents an inspiring real-life story of triumph in a small town, as one high school basketball team bands together to rebound from tragedy in THE PHANTOMS, airing Sunday November 18 at 8 p.m. (8:30 NT). Inspired by the events surrounding the 2009 New Brunswick provincial championship season of the Bathurst High School varsity basketball team, THE PHANTOMS recounts the team’s difficult road to success after a devastating road accident took the lives of seven players and the wife of the Coach.
In the following year, as tragedy hung over the community, the BHS Phantoms returned to the court to honour the members they had lost. Against the odds, the ragtag group of players gelled as a team, and lifted not only their school ranking, but the spirit of their community. THE PHANTOMS is an inspiring Canadian story about determination, courage and the power of community.
Penned by Gemini award-winning screenwriter Andrew Wreggitt (Mayerthorpe; The Don Cherry Story,) THE PHANTOMS is directed by acclaimed director Sudz Sutherland (Guns; Love Sex & Eating the Bones) and produced by Timothy M. Hogan and Rick LeGuerrier (Canada Russia ’72; Sticks & Stones).
The ensemble cast includes Tyler Johnston (The Killing, Keep Your Head up Kid: The Don Cherry Story, Less Than Kind), Kyle Mac (Degrassi: The Next Generation), Wesley McInnes (Heartland), Holly Deveaux (Less Than Kind), Joy Tanner (Degrassi: The Next Generation) Wally MacKinnon (Canada Russia ’72), Greg Bryk (History of Violence), Tammy Isbell (The L.A. Complex) and Wendel Meldrum (Less Than Kind).
The Phantoms is produced by Dream Street Pictures, in association with CBC, and with the participation of the Canadian Media Fund, the Shaw Rocket Fund, the COGECO Program Development Fund, and, the New Brunswick Film Tax Credit.
CBC/Radio-Canada is Canada’s national public broadcaster and one of its largest cultural institutions. The Corporation is a leader in reaching Canadians on new platforms and delivers a comprehensive range of radio, television, Internet, and satellite-based services. Deeply rooted in the regions, CBC/Radio-Canada is the only domestic broadcaster to offer diverse regional and cultural perspectives in English, French and eight Aboriginal languages, plus five languages for international audiences. In 2011, CBC/Radio-Canada celebrated 75 years of serving Canadians and being at the centre of the democratic, social and cultural life of Canada.
About Dream Street Pictures Inc.
Dream Street Pictures is an award-winning full service independent film and television production company specializing in drama, documentary and arts programming. Based in Fredericton, Dream Street has produced the Gemini Award-winning mini-series Canada Russia ’72, the Gemini-nominated MOW Open Heart, and the television movie Sticks & Stones, which captured the prestigious Shaw Rocket Prize and was named Best Picture by the International Family Film Festival in Hollywood.
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