Working in documentary programming, one problem you’re unlikely to run into is where to find a stunt double for a child. But apparently, when this problem does turn up, producers traditionally turn to little people, rather than children, as their stand-ins. But there’s a family in Vancouver who have raised three children to help alleviate this problem; the Dunns. Jim and Celia Dunn have thrown their kids off roofs, shot at them and set them on fire. And while sometimes they have to answer to the Child Protection Agency about it, generally it’s how they make a living.
The Vancouver-based prodco The Eyes has created a 13 x 30 minute reality series about this odd family ‘There aren’t a lot of family reality shows,’ says president Blaire Reekie. ‘Reality has always drifted off to the slap and tickle.’ But Stunt Family Dunn is targeted at the whole unit by not only showing their adventures on the job, but also showing their domestic problems while the kids try to balance work, school and friends and the parents clash over their aspirations for their children.
The Eyes specializes in lifestyle and scientific programs, so also on their slate are two science programs that look at what makes the modern world tick. Building a Better Deathtrap examines disasters such as people plummeting down elevator shafts, bridges collapsing and the destruction of a ski lift to see what lessons were learned from these catastrophes so that they are less likely to happen again. This 13 x 60 minute HD program uses animation, experiments and recreations to tell the stories around each accident to show how each one has made the world safer. The other current science program on their slate is Industrious. This is another 13 x 60 HD program, but rather than showing what makes things fail, it explores massive industrial complexes and how they work.
From our relationship with technology to our relationship with our own bodies, Gedeon Programmes delivers a 3 x 52 minute series about how different cultures create various rituals regarding the body and its adornment. While Western culture uses piercing and tattoos as an expression of rebellion or individuality Culture of the Body travels from Ethiopia to France to India to Japan to look at the history of the areas to see how their reasons for personal adornment relate more to belonging and rights of passage, and how these reasons differ from the West. Culture of the Body is slated for a spring 2011 delivery.
The Paris-based prodco comes back to the West, however, to follow a collection of elderly New Yorkers who use a network of senior activity centers to meet new people over dollar meals and tap dancing classes. The Grey Power of Love is a 52 minute one off due for delivery in spring 2009.