Top 10 N.L. film and television moments of 2012

It was a big year for film and television in Newfoundland and Labrador — from some big-name stars visiting the province for leading roles, to our local heros making a splash on the international scene. Here's a look back at some of those biggest moments of 2012:

There was a lot of chatter leading up to the release of this film – and we got to see it first.

Not only did Midnight's Children, an adaptation of Salman Rushdie's award-winning novel, premiere at the St. John's International Women's Film Festival in October, but its Oscar-nominated director, Deepa Mehta, was on hand to walk the red carpet at the Arts and Culture Centre.

Festival chair Noreen Golfman said it was time to prove that big movies belonged in St. John's just as much as they do in larger centres like Toronto and Vancouver.

Here's the trailer for Midnight's Children:

The Grand Seduction, an English language remake of the 2003 Quebec hit, lured some big Hollywood names to outport Newfoundland this past summer.

Canadian actor Taylor Kitsch (known for his roles in John Carter, Battleship, and as heartthrob Tim Riggins in Friday Night Lights), plays Dr. Lewis, a big-city physician who visits a harbour town that's in desperate need of a doctor.

Irish actor Brendan Gleeson (whose long list of acting credits includes the Harry Potter series, Braveheart and In Bruges), plays a town leader who rallies local residents to seduce the young doctor to settle in the outport community, ultimately to save it from financial ruin.

The film also features some well-known local talents: Gordon Pinsent, Mary Walsh, and Cathy Jones.

The Grand Seduction was budgeted at $12.7 million, and filmed this summer in St. John's, Trinity Bay, Red Cliff, New Bonaventure, and Port Rexton.

(Sadly, there was no grand seduction of my own of Kitsch while he was on the island.)

The movie is slated for release sometime next year.

Local filmmaker Deanne Foley had a great run this year with her debut feature film Beat Down.

It opened in theatres across Atlantic Canada in early September, and was among the top five Canadian films at the box office for its opening weekend.

Beat Down, a comedy about the underground wrestling scene, features many a familiar face from eastern Canadian television: Republic of Doyle's Marthe Bernard and Mark O'Brien, and Robb Wells from the Trailer Park Boys.

Not only did the movie reach screens as far west as Alberta, but it also reached theatres in Europe, screening in Germany in November. In the new year, Beat Down will be viewed at the Jaipur International Film Festival in India.

Here's the trailer for Beat Down:

Great Big Sea's Alan Doyle and Hollywood actor Russell Crowe are no strangers -- and that friendship continued to strengthen in 2012.

The two have worked on each other's albums, and have shared not only the musical stage, but also the screen. The duo co-starred in the film Robin Hood, and have made appearances on CBC's Republic of Doyle.

And their shared accrediations continue. Doyle announced on Twitter in November that he'd been cast in Crowe's latest endeavour, Winter's Tale.

Doyle tweeted: "I've been cast as a thief, Dingy. In some serious company. What a thrill."

That serious company, according to IMDB, includes Will Smith, Colin Farrell, William Hurt, and Jennifer Connelly.

Akiva Goldsman is directing Winter's Tale, and also adapted the screenplay from the novel of the same name by Mark Helprin.

The film is currently filming, and is due for release in 2013.

Here's Alan Doyle and Russell Crowe "bro-ing" it up on stage with Sting in New York in October:

Everyone's been on the edge of their seat to find out what happens next in the Republic of Doyle saga -- and we'll soon have the answers.

The Doyle crew wrapped up filming the television show's fourth season on Dec. 13.

At the end of season 3, Jake Doyle (played by Allan Hawco), saw his signature Pontiac GTO get blown up by some bad guys, and the loveable Des Courtney (Mark O'Brien) was shot in the stomach.

Many guest stars were invited to take part in the upcoming season, with roles from Canadian actors Paul Gross (Passchendaele, Due South) and Erin Karpluk (Being Erika), and Hollywood actors Luis Guzman (Traffic, Magnolia) and Angus Macfayden (Braveheart).

And behind the scenes, Gander native and Hollywood film director Brad Peyton stepped in to take the helm on a handful of episodes.

Season 4 of Republic of Doyle premieres on Sunday, Jan. 6 at 9 p.m. (9:30 p.m. NT) on CBC Television.

Hawco also told CBC News that Season 5 is already in development.

Iconic fashion maven Jeanne Beker, best known for her work with CTV's Fashion Television, Muchmusic's The New Music, and with various CBC Radio and Television programs, returned to St. John's in January to star in the film Two Square Feet.

Beker met local filmmaker Ruth Lawrence a few years ago at the Writers at Woody Point festival, and the two struck up what they call a "mutual admiration."

In the summer of 2011, Lawrence mentioned to Beker that she would be perfect for an upcoming role she had, and Beker instantly agreed, without even reading a script.

"When Ruth asked me to be in this, I was just so overwhelmed and happy and flattered," Beker told CBC's Weekend Arts Magazine.

Beker plays Pearl, a woman who — feeling cramped in her current existence — undergoes a transformation when she visits a friend.

Lawrence won the 2011 RBC Michelle Jackson Emerging Filmmaker Award for the film's script.

The 11-minute movie premiered at the 23rd Annual St. John's International Women's Film Festival in October.

Three men from the island's Northern Peninsula brought their 'berg hunting skills to American television screens this fall.

The reality television show Iceberg Hunters premiered on The Weather Channel in September .

The show features brothers Whyman and Dale Richards of St. Anthony, and Whyman's son Travis, as they travel through "Iceberg Alley" to harvest ice for the production of bottled water and vodka.

Dale Richards previously told CBC News it wasn't always easy to do his job with a camera crew filming his every move.

"I wasn't too fond of it at first," he said. "Like eight to 10 hours a day with a camera in your face and a mic attached to you -- I didn't know what to think at first. But after a while, they [blended] in pretty good."

Four 30-minute episodes of the show aired this fall.

Donnie Dumphy has made the leap from being a local web video gem to having his own feature film.

Union Pictures and Rink Rat Productions signed up to back a feature based on the 15-minute short, How To Be Deadly.

The original short, which was directed by St. John's filmmaker Nik Sexton, follows Dumphy's antics (played by Leon Parsons) as he enters a local dirt bike competition.

How To Be Deadly was screened as part of a Cannes short film program in May, and at the Toronto International Film Festival in September.

TIFF programmers called the short "Newfoundland's response to Fubar and the Trailer Park Boys."

Havin' a Time, an online video featuring Dumphy that was released in 2008, has 1.2 million views on YouTube.

The low-budget feature will be shot in the province in summer 2013, and is said to be an action-packed adventure filled with dirt-bike racing and rapping.

Here's the trailer for How To Be Deadly:

The beloved, award-winning novel by Newfoundland's Kevin Major is being turned into a movie.

Hold Fast was shot in various locations this year across the island, from St. John's to Gros Morne. It was directed by Justin Simms and stars Molly Parker (best known for her work on television's The Firm), and also includes the local talents of Andy Jones, Des Walsh, Aiden Flynn, and Pamela Morgan.

It tells the story of Michael, a boy who's life is turned upside down when his parents are killed in a car crash. Michael is sent to live wth his Aunt Ellen (played by Parker), while his brother stays in the fishing outport they called home with their aunt and grandfather.

Shooting finished up in July, and the project is currently in post production. Hold Fast is slated for release in 2013.

Christine Tizzard was named the new host of CBC Television's Best Recipes Ever.

CBC launched an open casting call in August, and it was announced in November that the St. John's native beat out about 400 people for the gig.

Formerly an actor, Tizzard told the St. John's Morning Show that she always had a passion for food and cooking, and in 2010, she decided to do the year-long chef training program at George Brown College in Toronto.

She said she's excited to work on a show that has a strong list of tested-until-perfect recipes.

"I'm just happy to be on board to share my tips [and] tricks to solve the daily mealtime dilemma," Tizzard said.

Here's Christine Tizzard talking about her new gig:

Tizzard currently resides in Toronto with her husband and two children. She's due to make her hosting debut on Best Recipes Ever in January.

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