Tag Archives: Jerry Ciccoritti

The Victor Davis Story comes to CBC TV Monday, March 26 AT 8 P.M.

He had all the makings of an Olympic champion: talent, determination and an unwavering will to win. A fierce opponent—one of his pre-race rituals was to spew a mouthful of water into his competitor’s lane—he became one of Canada’s most prominent international swimming stars by the age of eighteen. He was also proudly patriotic, sporting a tattoo of the Canadian maple leaf on his chest.

Dubbed the “enfant terrible” of the Canadian team, the driven and dynamic swimmer was as well known for his out-of-pool explosiveness as for his three world records and four Olympic medals. Yet it was this fascinating combination that made the mercurial Victor Davis one of the most compelling and complex Canadian athletes of his era.

The remarkable life and legacy of Canadian Olympic gold medalist Victor Davis is remembered in VICTOR, a two-hour dramatic movie airing Monday, March 26 at 8 p.m. on CBC Television. Through flashbacks and flash-forwards, VICTOR focuses on Davis’ turbulent competitive swimming career in the early 1980’s through his tragic death in 1989 at 25 years of age.

Canadian actor and writer Mark Lutz (Power Play, Angel, Nothing Too Good for a Cowboy) wrote the screenplay, the first of his career, and stars as Victor Davis. Likening it to a “Rocky in the pool,” about the underdog who makes it against all odds, Lutz believes Davis’s story needed to be told. And Lutz certainly knows about swimming. A competitive swimmer in his youth, Lutz went to the Olympic trials but a shoulder injury ended his Olympic dreams.

His passion for the sport and admiration of Davis, a childhood hero, led to him penning the inspirational yet tragic story of the late Canadian Olympic swimming champion. Lutz spent years interviewing those who knew Davis best—his family, coaches and teammates—writing the screenplay, shopping it around on the condition that he play Davis, and finally, working himself into shape to play an athlete legendary for his Greek-god physique.

An all-star supporting cast includes Polly Shannon (Trudeau, Lie With Me, Men With Brooms) as Davis’ devoted girlfriend Donna Clavel; Ron Lea (This Is Wonderland, The Sentinel) as Victor’s coach Cliff Barry; Peter MacNeill (A History of Violence, Queer As Folk) as Davis’ father and Sasha Roiz (Jeff Ltd., Man of the Year) as Davis’s close friend and Olympic-champion teammate Alex Baumann.

VICTOR is the compelling story of a great Canadian hero—a working class kid who, through sheer determination, overcame both physical and psychological challenges to reach the ultimate pinnacle of his sport, becoming a World Record holder and an Olympic gold medal champion at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. In November 1989, just a few months after retiring, Davis was struck by a hit-and-run driver outside a suburban Montreal nightclub. He died two days later but his spirit lived on in the six people who received his heart, both cornea, liver and kidneys.

Davis was named to the Order of Canada and voted into the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame and Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame. In his memory, The Victor Davis Memorial Award was established to provide bursaries to needy Canadian swimmers, and more than 60 athletes have benefited since its creation.

Produced by Indian Grove Productions Ltd. in association with CBC Television and Global Television, VICTOR is directed by Jerry Ciccoritti (Trudeau, Shania: A Life in Eight Albums, Net Worth) and produced by Bernard Zukerman. VICTOR is Zukerman’s third sports themed film, including the critically acclaimed Net Worth, about the NHL’s early years and the player’s quest to create a Player’s Association, plus Heart: The Marilyn Bell Story, a biopic of the 16-year-old teen who was the first person to swim across Lake Ontario.

Gripping Two-Part Thriller Dragon Boys Jan 7 and 8 AT 8 P.M. On CBC-TV

Featuring one of the most star-studded Asian-Canadian casts ever assembled, DRAGON BOYS is a high-octane thriller that centres on a Chinese Canadian RCMP detective and an immigrant family who confront a deadly threat from Asian organized crime. The compelling drama weaves together four stories that evoke a rich tapestry of contemporary West Coast life set in and around Vancouver, British Columbia. The two-part, four-hour miniseries will air on Sunday, January 7 and Monday, January 8 at 8 p.m. on CBC Television.

Eight-time Gemini Award-winning director Jerry Ciccoritti (Shania, Trudeau, The Many Trials of One Jane Doe) leads an all-star cast which includes Byron Mann (Red Corner, Catwoman), who portrays RCMP Detective Tommy Jiang who sees a chance to bring down senior gangsters (Eric Tsang, Lawrence Chou). Steph Song (Everything’s Gone Green), portrays Southern Cambodian factory worker Chavy Pahn, who is forced into prostitution after coming to Canada with hopes of being a model. Tzi Ma (24, The Quiet American) plays a hardworking Chinese restaurant owner and the father of a vulnerable son who is pulled into local gang activity. And Derek Tsang, the son of one of Asia’s most celebrated stars (Eric Tsang appeared in the Hong Kong box-office sensation Infernal Affair) traveled from Hong Kong to take on the role of Fox Boy.

“This is an exciting and unique Canadian television event with a cast full of international stars,” says Executive Producer Michael Chechik. “The production explores the immigrant experience, social dislocation, generational conflict within families and personal and cultural identity.”

Based on meticulous research, DRAGON BOYS opens a window onto the world of Asian organized crime on Canada’s West Coast. It also examines how the impact of organized crime ripples through the wider community, both in terms of the social and economic toll it takes and the stereotypes it propagates.

“This timely crime drama is a contemporary take on what people are reading in the headlines,” says CBC Executive Director of Network Programming Kirstine Layfield. “Dragon Boys is a prime example of CBC Television’s programming strategy, compelling well-produced drama that reflects the diversity of Canadian life and culture."

DRAGON BOYS is written by Ian Weir. Weir and Michael Chechik are executive producers; Howard Dancyger is producer. DRAGON BOYS is a production of Anchor Point Pictures Inc. in association with Omni Film Productions and CBC Television.

Production begins on the life of Olympic swimmer Victor Davis

TORONTO (CP) _ Production has started on a TV movie about the life of Olympic gold medallist Victor Davis.

Victor, which will be broadcast on CBC in March 2007, started shooting Monday in Toronto. It’s scheduled to wrap up Sept. 18.

Mark Lutz wrote the script and is also playing the swimmer, who was killed by a hit-and-run driver in Montreal in 1989 at the age of 25.

Lutz, a former competitive swimmer, began researching the project several years ago.

Jerry Ciccoritti is directing the film, which focuses on Davis’ turbulent competitive career in the early 1980s through his death.

The native of Guelph, Ont., won a gold medal in the 200-metre breaststroke at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles and was a two-time world champion.