Heritage Minutes filming at Calgary's Hillhurst United Church

Everyone has a favourite Heritage Minute but two more are set to hit Canadian TV screens, and they're being filmed in Calgary.

2 First World War-era shoots focus on Canadian soldiers, hockey

Historica Canada is shooting two new Heritage Minutes in the Hillhurst United Church in Calgary, using a local production house, writer and director. (@chiclo/Twitter)

Everyone has a favourite Canadian Heritage Minutes segment — those brief interludes from the 1990s when TV viewers got a glimpse of the nation's past by way of costumed actors in dramatic skits — and now two more are set to hit Canadian TV screens, and they're being filmed in Calgary.

Actors and producers were at Kensington's Hillhurst United Church on Friday and Saturday to shoot a First World War-era segment focusing on Canadian soldiers and nurses.

From photos posted to Twitter of the set and the actors, it appears the Heritage Minutes episode could be set in a military hospital, with nurses tending to bandaged men and patients being carried by soldiers in makeshift stretchers.

Actress Siobhan Williams, from Heartland and Hell on Wheels, is involved in the project and posted on her Facebook page about the experience.

"We can never fully do justice to the people who died to allow us to live freely," she wrote. "But the people on this set are doing the damn near closest thing to it that you could imagine."

Calgary-based Corkscrew Media's Stir Films is producing the shoot for Historica Canada.

A call for extras posted on the Stir Films website says producers were looking for men in their 20s and 30s for two Heritage Minutes shooting in Calgary.

The post said they were seeking men who "want to play a First World War-era hockey player (no ice time) or Canadian soldier."

Calgary's Stephen Massicotte and Grant Harvey are writing and directing the project.

Massicotte is a graduate of the University of Calgary's drama program and has worked as a screenwriter, playwright and actor on projects like the short film June, the screenplay The Dark and plays such as A Farewell to Kings and The Boy's Own Jedi Handbook Trilogy.

Harvey has directed 17 episodes of Heartland and one of Orphan Black, among others.

The two segments mark the first time Historica Canada has used an all-Western Canadian production team, said Ian Chiclo, vice-president of business development with Corkscrew Media and Stir Films.

"We're really honoured at Stir Films to have been chosen to do this and be able to bring a lot of great Calgary talent to the project," he said.

"The First World War was the first time that female nurses were sent to the front lines," Chiclo said. "It's along those lines, the story of several nursing sisters, heroic nurses."

The crew will be moving to the Tsuu T'ina First Nation to shoot the second segment, focusing on hockey, later Saturday afternoon.

No exact date has been set for when the Heritage Minutes will air but Chiclo says it will be sometime in the fall.


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