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TVO and Production Partners Announce New “Off-the-Grid” Medical Drama Set in Northern Ontario

Posted on December 9, 2011

Sudbury, December 9, 2011 – Extracting buckshot from the back of a hunter’s head in a mosquito-infested tent by a peat bog may not sound like medical school.  Nor does a four-hour snowmobile ride to a remote cabin in the bush.  But that’s the day-to-day reality at Hard Rock U, a fictional medical school at the heart of an upcoming television series announced today in Sudbury, Ontario.

Hard Rock Medical is a new, offbeat half-hour drama that follows a diverse group of medical students navigating their way through the school’s four-year program. Multiple plotlines will gravitate towards one ultimate question: Do these students have what it takes to succeed? And if they do, will they stay in the north?

The TVO-commissioned series is a Canadian-Australian co-production from Hard Rock Medical Productions Inc. and Moody Street Productions. Hard Rock Medical Productions is a joint venture of Ottawa’s Title Entertainment Inc., Distinct Features Inc., and Carte Blanche Films Inc. The series will also appear on the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN). Ontario Minister of Northern Development and Mines, Rick Bartolucci today announced funding from the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation to support the regional production of the series.

Loosely inspired by the world-renowned Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM), Hard Rock Medical will provide fresh and engaging insight into some of the unique features and challenges of delivering healthcare in Northern Ontario.

Production on the series will begin in and around Sudbury in 2012.


“TVO is really proud of the role we play in supporting Ontario’s independent producers and we’re delighted to be collaborating with the amazing teams behind Hard Rock Medical Productions, as well as with APTN, to open a unique window onto the people, places and culture of Ontario’s North,” says Lisa de Wilde, TVO’s Chief Executive Officer. “We’re all very appreciative of the investment the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation is making to bring this exciting project to life.”

“We’re very pleased to have formed Hard Rock Medical Productions Inc. with Carte Blanche Films and Distinct Features,” says Frank Taylor, President of Ottawa’s Title Entertainment Inc.  “They have been making French-language series in Sudbury for several years and have built up a solid team and production infrastructure which make this new series possible.”

“Over a period of just a few years, the Ontario government has made a significant investment to help Northern Ontario’s film and TV production industry get established and grow,” says Rick Bartolucci, Minister of Northern Development and Mines. “I’m excited by the potential of this new series to raise our region’s profile, and to continue to contribute to Sudbury’s economy through production jobs and support services.”

Hard Rock Medical has the potential to shine a spotlight on the issues of health-care challenges in Northern Ontario.  The series, loosely inspired by the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, may bring wider attention to a distinct model of distributed, community-engaged medical education—a socially accountable solution committed to addressing a shortage of physicians and health professionals for which NOSM is internationally renowned,” says Dr. Roger Strasser, NOSM Dean. “On behalf of NOSM, I congratulate Hard Rock Medical Productions Inc. and TVO on the development of this series, and wish Hard Rock Medical great success.”

About TVO 

TVO is Ontario’s public educational media organization and a trusted source of interactive educational content that informs, inspires and stimulates curiosity and thought. TVO’s vision is to empower people to be engaged citizens of Ontario through educational media. TVO is funded primarily by the Province of Ontario. As a registered charity, TVO depends on the support of its sponsors and individual donors. For more information, visit

About Hard Rock Medical Productions Inc.

Hard Rock Medical Productions Inc. is a joint venture that  brings together the creative track record of Derek Diorio’s Distinct Features Inc., who with Toronto screenwriter Smith Corindia developed the series, the northern Ontario production experience of Carte Blanche Films, and the international executive-production skills of Title Entertainment Inc.

About Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN)

September 1, 2011 marked the 12-year anniversary of the launch of the first national Aboriginal television network in the world with programming by, for and about Aboriginal Peoples to share with all Canadians and viewers around the world. APTN is available in approximately 10 million Canadian households and commercial establishments with cable, direct-to-home satellite (DTH), telco-delivered and fixed wireless television service providers. The network launched its high definition channel APTN HD in the spring of 2008. APTN does not receive government funding for operations but generates revenue through subscriber fees, advertising sales and strategic partnerships. APTN broadcasts programming with 56% offered in English, 16% in French and 28% in Aboriginal languages. For program schedule or for more information, please contact APTN at (204) 947-9331 or toll-free at 1-888-278-8862, or visit the website at

About the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC)

The Ontario government’s Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation is providing $1 million toward the production of the series through the Emerging Technology Program. This program is designed to encourage both the private and public sectors to develop exciting and viable new technologies that will contribute to future northern prosperity. Since 2005, the NOHFC has approved more than $36 million for more than 50 film and television production projects.

About the Northern Ontario School of Medicine 

The Northern Ontario School of Medicine is committed to the education of high quality physicians and health professionals, and to international recognition as a leader in distributed, learning-centered, community-engaged education and research.

Media Contact:
Paul Ginis
TVO Communications and Marketing
416.484.2600 x 2445