One of the fam­ily

Fans of L.M. Mont­gomery’s fa­mous hero­ine will get a chance to watch YTV’s new “Anne of Green Gables” tele­vi­sion movie on Is­lan­der Day

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - NEWS - BY DAVE STE­WART dstew­art@the­guardian.pe.ca

It seems rather ap­pro­pri­ate that Anne Shirley will once again grace tele­vi­sions screens across Canada on Is­lan­der Day.

Lucy Maud Mont­gomery’s iconic Anne of Green Gables eight-novel se­ries, which has been adapted for tele­vi­sion, film and stage more than two dozen times, will be told again in a new TV pro­duc­tion.

YTV will air “Lucy Maud Mont­gomery’s Anne of Green Gables’’ on Mon­day, Feb. 15, which just hap­pens to be a statu­tory hol­i­day geared for fam­i­lies in the au­thor’s home prov­ince.

The movie will star Martin Sheen, best known for his role as Pres­i­dent Jed Bartlett on the NBC tele­vi­sion show “The West Wing’’, as Matthew Cuth­bert. Sara Botsford will play his stern sis­ter, Mar­illa, while Cana­dian ac­tor Ella Bal­len­tine fills the shoes of Anne Shirley.

“We are very, very ex­cited,’’ says Brenda Gal­lant, di­rec­tor of mar­ket­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tions for the Depart­ment of Tourism.

Any­time Anne hits the big or small screen, the prov­ince ben­e­fits. When Ja­pan aired a TV drama a few ago about the first Ja­panese trans­la­tor of the novel, the num­ber of Ja­panese tourists to P.E.I. went up al­most 300 per cent. More than 60 mil­lion view­ers in Ja­pan watched the drama.

Ac­cord­ing to the Cana­dian Tourism Com­mis­sion, Ja­panese vis­i­tors booked 6,706 rooms in ho­tels and other ac­com­mo­da­tions be­tween Jan­uary and Septem­ber 2014, up 117 per cent in one year and the high­est num­ber, up to that point at least, in 10 years.

Gal­lant says there’s no ques­tion Anne raises aware­ness of P.E.I., call­ing the char­ac­ter and Mont­gomery the prov­ince’s best am­bas­sadors.

“She was so elo­quent in her de­scrip­tion of the beauty of P.E.I.’’

News also broke this week that CBC will be­gin pro­duc­tion this spring on an eight-episode TV se­ries that will hit the air­waves in 2017. Not much is known yet about how true to Mont­gomery’s books it will be.

How­ever, the YTV tele­vi­sion movie ap­pears to be the clas­sic tale that so many love.

Mont­gomery’s grand­daugh­ter, Kate MacDon­ald But­ler, served as an ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer on the pro­ject and has given her full ap­proval of the fi­nal prod­uct.

The P.E.I. govern­ment also helped out with the YTV pro­duc­tion, pro­vid­ing footage and in­for­ma­tion. YTV also did some film­ing in the prov­ince.

Tourism com­mer­cials about P.E.I. will likely air dur­ing the movie.

Gal­lant says tourism mar­ket­ing is an ex­tremely com­pet­i­tive busi­ness and the prov­ince will gladly use what­ever edge it can get to bring peo­ple in.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Break­through En­ter­tain­ment re­leased this pub­lic­ity shot of its new movie, “Lucy Maud Mont­gomery’s Anne of Green Gables”, star­ring, from left, Sara Botsford as Mar­illa, Ella Bal­len­tine as Anne and Martin Sheen as Matthew.

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