CTV Movie - Plague City: SARS In Toronto
SUNDAY, MAY 29 @ 9 PM ET - Condemned by the world, a city faces tragedy in this CTV Original Movie, Plague City: SARS in Toronto. Medical thriller humanizes the struggle of heroic health care workers during SARS crisis
Toronto, ON (April 21, 2005) - In the spring of 2003, Canada's most populated city struggled desperately to control a mysterious and deadly virus named SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome). Now, after extensive research and months of production, CTV invites Canadians to step back in time past the quarantines and police barricades and straight into the heart of the crisis in Plague City: SARS in Toronto. An emotional, medical and political thriller, the timely CTV Signature Series Movie premieres Sunday, May 29 at 9 p.m. ET (check local listings) on CTV and in High Definition on CTV HD East and CTV HD West.
This announcement coincided with the second anniversary of the World Health Organization's travel ban on Toronto (imposed April 23, 2003).
Based on true events and bolstered by extensive research with medical experts, Plague City brings to television the stories of the actual heroes of the SARS crisis: the many health care workers who risked their lives on a daily basis caring for sick and dying patients. At the same time, the CTV movie underscores the struggle of Toronto's public health officials and politicians as they attempted to control the quickly spreading disease, suppress the rising public panic and mitigate the devastating economic repercussions.
Plague City takes us from the town in China where a small scratch on a butcher's hand, inflicted by an infected civet cat, kicks off a deadly chain of infection that lands, quite randomly, in Toronto. Without diagnostic criteria, effective treatments or definitive infection controls, the number of diagnosed cases and deaths from SARS mounted steadily. And with panic spreading faster than the virus, the once clean and healthy city of Toronto became the pariah of the western world. Restaurants, theatres and streets emptied, and incoming travel and tourism were virtually shut down.
"This movie is a tribute to the scores of health care workers who stood fast and weathered one of the most compelling events in recent Canadian medical history," said Susanne Boyce, CTV President of Programming and Chair of the CTV Media Group. "These men and woman are heroes for sacrificing so much in the face of a potential medical catastrophe."
"Most of the characters in Plague City are composites of individuals we met during our research. We heard a lot of very frightening and emotional stories," said Executive Producer Jon Slan. "The film gives audiences a glimpse of both the heroism of the health care workers and the ways in which deadly virus was so quickly able to bring the city to a halt."
Plague City stars Kari Matchett (Men With Brooms, Power Play) as Amy, the head nurse who must balance the needs of her family with her demanding role caring for the increasing number of SARS patients; Lannette New (Inside The Forest) as Rosie, Amy's junior colleague who eventually contracts the illness; Ron White (Jasper, Texas; Unforgiven) as Dr. Royce, who unwittingly delivers fatal advice to a patient's family and must live with the terrible guilt; Merwin Mondesir (Wonderland, Drop The Beat) as Rob, a public health nurse who works day and night to contact those exposed; Rick Roberts (American In Canada, Eloise at Christmas) as Dr. Neville, the microbiologist who is tormented by his inability to understand this new and virulent disease; Brian Markinson (Angels In America, The Life, Sweet and Lowdown) as Wilson, a pragmatic politician who concerns himself with suppressing public panic and Rahnuma Panthaky (KOJAK, DaVinci's Inquest) as Laura Neston, the head of Toronto Public Health who battles bureaucracy in an attempt to contain the virus.
The latest from CTVs Signature Series Drama slate, Plague City was produced by Slanted Wheel Entertainment in association with CTV. Executive Producers are Jon Slan (Wyatt Earp, Kissinger and Nixon) and Elaine Scott (Tracker, Starhunter). Wendy Grean (Cypher, Adventure Inc.) is Producer and Rachel Rafelman (A Friend Of The Family) is Co-Producer. Directed and edited by David Wu (Snow Queen, Missing) and written by Collin Friesen (The Big White) and Pete McCormack (The Blue Butterfly, See Grace Fly). Director of Photography. David Herrington (America's Prince: The JFK Jr. Story, Missing) is behind the camera and Gordon Barnes (Brave New Girl, Missing) is the Production Designer. Tecca Crosby is CTV's production executive overseeing the movie. Bill Mustos is Senior Vice-President, Dramatic Programming for CTV. Susanne Boyce is President of Programming and Chair of the CTV Media Group.
Plague City was filmed in Hamilton and Toronto during the winter of 2004.
Plague City is the latest title in a series of CTV Original Movies and mini-series to air as part of CTV's 2004/05 movie slate. Other CTV titles already broadcast this season include Tripping The Wire, Crazy Canucks, The Life, Lives of the Saints and Choice: The Henry Morgentaler Story. Upcoming movie titles include A Friend of the Family, One Dead Indian, Spirit Bear, Selling Innocence, Hunt For Justice and The Man Who Lost Himself: The Terry Evanshen Story.
Plague City: SARS In Toronto was produced with the participation of the Canadian Television Fund created by the Government of Canada and the Canadian cable industry, Telefilm Canada (Equity Investment Program) and CTF (License Fee Program); with the assistance of the Government of Canada (The Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit); and with the assistance of the Government of Ontario (The Ontario Film and Television Tax Credit).