Movie on Swift Current Broncos saga gets first-round financing

Brian Costello
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If Shayne Putzlocher has his way, the movie about the Swift Current Broncos’ rise from tragedy to triumph will be ready by 2016, the 30-year anniversary of the bus accident that killed four players.

Putzlocher is the owner of production company Trilight Entertainment. He received news yesterday that he’s been approved for financing by Telefilm Canada and the Alberta Media Fund for the first stage of film creation. That involves the writing of the first draft of the book Sudden Death, written by Kamloops Daily News sports editor Gregg Drinnan in conjunction with Leesa Culp and Bob Wilkie.

Wilkie was a member of the 1986 Broncos team and was still with the squad two seasons later when it rallied to win the Memorial Cup. Culp witnessed the accident that killed four Broncos players – Trent Kresse, Scott Kruger, Brent Ruff and Chris Mantyka – and was the first on the scene to assist victims.

Culp spearheaded the book that was published in 2012.

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Writing the Sudden Death movie script will be Rob King. The sequence of events following first draft is producers going through it creatively and suggesting changes, development of a second draft, then another round of development to put a marketing package together.

Before production, there are rounds of sales and seeking distribution and broadcasting partners.

In other words, it will be close to three years, if not four or five, before completion.

“My job now is to establish a fan base of people who want to see this movie made,” Putzlocher said. “It’s a human interest story, but it does revolve around hockey and hockey is tough to sell internationally. At this stage, it’s all about gathering awareness.”

In addition to the story of the Broncos bus crash and the major junior title they won two-and-a-half years later, Sudden Death also delves into the twisted tale of Broncos’ coach-GM Graham James and his sexual assault of players, including Sheldon Kennedy.

Putzlocher will be co-producing the movie with Rob Merilees of Foundation Features. They’ve worked together on movies such as Space Milkshake and Hard Core Logo Part 2, which had a theatrical release. Putzlocher’s other movies Vampire Dog and Step Dogs are family movies that have been seen in 80 countries.

“We’re ecstatic to get the financing for Sudden Death,” Putzlocher said. “Getting exactly what you asked for doesn’t always happen.”

 

Brian Costello is The Hockey News’s senior editor and a regular contributor to the thn.com Post-To-Post blogFor more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to The Hockey News magazineFollow Brian Costello on Twitter at @BCostelloTHN