New Brunswick

Bathurst basketball movie begins filming

A controversial movie about the comeback of Bathurst High School's basketball team the year after it lost seven players and a teacher in a highway crash has begun filming.

A controversial movie about the comeback of Bathurst High School's basketball team the year after it lost seven players and a teacher in a highway crash has begun filming.

Film crews started taking over some of the city's streets on Wednesday. Two trailers were parked on King Avenue and the causeway was shut down for several hours.

The made-for-TV movie called The Phantoms has the community divided.

Some people, including the parents of a few of the boys who were killed, say it's happening too soon after the tragedy that devastated Bathurst and gripped the country.

In January 2008, members of the team were returning to Bathurst after a game in Moncton, N.B., when their van fish-tailed on a slush-covered highway and veered into the path of an oncoming transport truck.

Lorne Daigle, co-owner of The Coffee Stain Restaurant, said he is concerned for the families who are still grieving, but at the same time, the business is good for the city.

He even agreed to close the normally bustling restaurant during the lunch rush Wednesday so crews could film inside.

"I guess the scene is going to be four or five players and the coach discussing the future of the team," Daigle said.

Gail Badman, who owns the store Christies, is also pleased about the economic impact.

"They actually bought all the product from me and then went away and built the crafts and then put them up. And away they went," she said, referring to decorations and posters that have been put up in store windows to capture the feeling of 2009, when the team rallied and won the provincial championships.

Crews expect to continue shooting over the next few weeks, with the big game scene scheduled to be shot at the KC Irving centre on Nov. 13.

Rick LeGuerrier, who is producing the movie with Tim Hogan, his partner at Dreamstreet Pictures, has said it will be a story of triumph, not tragedy. LeGuerrier has also said they plan to shoot most, if not all, of the movie in Bathurst to bring economic development to the community.

Isabelle Hains, who lost her son Daniel in the crash, told CBC in July she was upset money was being spent on a movie instead of improving student safety. She said it was exploiting the death of seven boys for profit.

The movie is expected to be shown on CBC Television next year.

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