From the Niagara Falls Review
FRIDAY, JULY 22, 2005 – A9
(Your entertainment guide to - Niagara Hot Spots - what's happening around Niagara)
Paranomal-Themed Show Looks ‘Above Niagara’
By John Law, Review Staff Writer
Director Robert Tanos is polishing off the pilot
for his locally filmed paranormal series Above Niagara.
He said he hopes it’s among the first shows to air on TVN Niagara
... if the station gets approval from the CRTC.
ST. CATHARINES – If the TVN
Niagara station gets approval from
the Canadian Radio-television and
Telecommunications Commission, it
has pledged at least 40 hours of
original Niagara programming per
Robert Tanos already has several
The St. Catharines musician and
filmmaker is deep into post-production
on his weekly series Above Niagara, a
paranormal soap opera which takes
place in the fictional town of Port
All that’s missing is a TV station to
show it, which is where TVN and the
CRTC come in. Tanos, along with
everyone supporting the station, is
anxiously awaiting word from the
commission. Two years of his life
hangs on the decision.
“I just came back from a doctor …
my stress is way too high,” he said.
“I’ve got everything on the line here.
It’s very important.
“And, you know, it’s good for me,
but I didn’t write (the show) just for
me. I created an opportunity that
spreads across the board.”
Above Niagara is poised to be the
first truly Niagara series. It has an alllocal
cast, shot in and around the
region, and put together in Tanos’
Linwell Drive home, which doubles as
his production company Producers
Two years ago, Tanos was looking
to follow up his indie horror flick
Forever Love – shot in the early ‘90s
and screened on Canadian station
Space in 2002. When he heard about
TVN Niagara, he contacted its
president, Wendell Wilks, about
Wilks asked Tanos to make a
promotional video for the channel, and
gave him access to high-definition
equipment for six weeks.
Tanos asked permission to film a
TV pilot he had been kicking around.
Wilks not only agreed, but gave Tanos
complete ownership of the show
(meaning if TVN doesn’t pick it up,
Tanos can shop it around to other
Above Niagara takes a sci-fi
standby - lights in the sky - and builds
a dramatic series around it.
Characters in Port Niagara all react
differently to the event, from the boy
who believes an alien invasion is
imminent to the girl who can suddenly
Some faiths are shaken, lives
disrupted and secrets exposed. What
it doesn’t have, at least not yet, is an
“I could have pitched a movie that
had an ending and it would all be
done,” said Tanos.
But as filming progressed, he
realized it could be a weekly TVN
series. Wilks agreed, and has
promised to screen the pilot episode
on TVN’s first night of programming –
if there is one.
“That is the big hope,” he said.
“However, because nobody else
owns a part of this production, if TVN
does not get a licence I have a great
project to pitch to any of the other
Tanos believes the climate is right
for Canadian-made prime time shows
on our TVs. Though the CH nightly
drama Train 48 was canceled this
month, it lasted 318 episodes.
The show also has a big advantage
by filming in high definition (HD). By
2007, all Canadian broadcasters must
have 100 percent high definition
“Right now, if you’re a producer
and you have HD programming, your
stock goes up by the day as we get
closer to 2007,” said Tanos.
But Tanos realizes this is a huge
risk. Even with a cast and crew
donating their time, the show has cost
him an estimated $15,000 so far.
Above Niagara is a show without a
home, searching the skies for a signal
to cling to.
“Come September, we hope to
know what’s going on with this.”
If TVN gets the green light, the
show could premiere next fall and
Tanos could begin filming additional
episodes in two months.
The waiting game will be worth it
when his show anchors a historic
night of Niagara television.
“The amazing thing is that all of this
has come to be without a formal
budget,” he said.
“I’m 50, and at this age I’m learning
that if you’re tenacious enough, if you
keep pushing and pushing, people will
catch on to the energy.”
Listen to TVN's CEO Wendell Wilks on a radio interview from CHSC.
A terrific interview in MP3 format, which you can stream from our site
or download in four segments.
To download these files, please RIGHT-CLICK
on the link and
select "Save Target As
" to save the MP3 files onto your computer.