CANADIAN VISIONARY IMMORTALIZED IN FILM

5/23/2005


A new docudrama tells the amazing tale of Sir Henry Pellatt, the Canadian industrialist who makes Donald Trump look like an apprentice.

CASA LOMA, TORONTO – Lush Art & Entertainment and Casa Loma are pleased to announce the release of the new short film, Pellatt Newsreel: The Story of a Lifetime, which begins daily screenings at Casa Loma today. The twenty-minute docudrama marks the first time Sir Henry’s extraordinary life has been captured on film and will be a wonderful complement to the visitor experience which also includes an audio tour and interpretive elements on display throughout the castle.

Narrated by Colin Mochrie (This Hour Has 22 Minutes, Whose Line is it Anyway), the film is styled as a 1939 newsreel tracing the arc of Sir Henry’s life. From his roots as an enterprising stockbroker to his ascent to the heights of the Canadian establishment, Pellatt Newsreel is a story of unbridled optimism and entrepreneurial high stakes. But Pellatt Newsreel also tells the story of hubris and tragedy – how Sir Henry’s dreams were undone, first by the Ontario government and then by his own financial miscalculations, which saw him driven out of his glorious “castle on the hill”, his home and monument.

“Like Casa Loma, the stunning Toronto castle that he built, Sir Henry was bigger than life,” says Associate Producer Michael Leclair.

“He was Canada’s leading industrialist and most audacious citizen. Millions of Canadians know and love Casa Loma, his beautiful home. Now with Pellatt Newsreel: The Story of a Lifetime, I hope the public will come to know and love the man who built the castle, too,” agrees Barbra Cooper, Producer.

“This is a very entertaining (film) that succinctly captures Sir Henry’s remarkable story. Some may call Casa Loma his folly but I believe it’s symbolic of the vision of a great man. I hope this new documentary will give viewers a better appreciation for his lasting contributions to Toronto –
as well as an understanding of the true cost of courageously living a life to its fullest,” said John Pellatt, Sir Henry’s great nephew.

Pellatt Newsreel recreates Sir Henry’s life with an eye-popping medley of archival photos, historical footage, cutting-edge animations and dramatic re-enactments filmed in Toronto’s historic Distillery District, Old Toronto and Casa Loma itself. Shot on film, Pellatt Newsreel will screen daily as an extra charge attraction in the newly restored Billiard Room at Casa Loma.

“For some time, we had wanted to develop an orientation film on Sir Henry to enrich the visitor experience at Casa Loma,” said Virginia Cooper, Chief Executive Officer of Casa Loma. “When Lush Art and Entertainment approached us with an opportunity to fulfill this ambition we were delighted to become their partner in this production. We congratulate them for capturing the true spirit of Sir Henry and the many innovations that he brought to Edwardian Toronto and for allowing us to share the record of his legacy with the many students, Torontonians and tourists that visit Casa Loma each year.”

ABOUT SIR HENRY MILL PELLATT

Born in Kingston, Ontario in 1859, Sir Henry Pellatt was the most dramatic Canadian of his day. He was a visionary, whether it was being the first to bring electric lights to the streets of Toronto or the first to invest in a Canadian air service. He was a patriot and philanthropist, as commanding officer and private sponsor of the Queen’s Own Rifles, the Canadian regiment that still marches to this day. And he was a colossus in Canadian business, with interests in everything from insurance to railways. At his height, Sir Henry sat on dozens of corporate boards comprising fully 25% of Canada’s economy, a feat unmatched today. When he commissioned the construction of Casa Loma, it was the largest home in Canada.

But the demands of maintaining his castle, combined with a series of ill-advised investments and the fall of the Home Bank of Canada, undid Sir Henry. He and his beloved wife Mary were forced to leave Casa Loma and auction off their possessions to pay off his debts. But Sir Henry’s many legacies live on, as does his magnificent castle on the hill.

ABOUT THE FILM

Pellatt Newsreel: The Story of a Lifetime is produced by Toronto’s Lush Art & Entertainment, narrated by Colin Mochrie, produced by Michael Leclair and Barbra Cooper and directed by Barbra Cooper. Lush is also producing a one-hour, in-depth biography of Sir Henry’s life, which will be available for sale at Casa Loma.
For more information please visit www.lushentertainment.ca

SELECT CREDITS

CAST:
Colin Mochrie Narrator
Kevin De Avalo Young Henry Pellatt
Joe Febbo Midlife Sir Henry Pellatt
Billy Sheine Older Sir Henry Pellatt
Patricia Medina Lady Mary Pellatt
David Cooper Sir Wilfrid Laurier
Joe Hejno Sir Adam Beck

CREW:
Barbra Cooper Producer, Director
Michael Leclair Associate Producer
Meg Davies Production Manager
Jonathan Bensimon Director of Photography
Andre Brunger Editor
Felicia Brooker Story Editor
Sarah Picket 1st Assistant Camera
Hugh McJanet Gaffer
Allister Foster Grip
Joanna Syrokomla Costume Designer
Julia Valente Make Up
Patricia Medina Hair Stylist
Bill Balfe Visual Researcher

-30-

casaloma.org