Monday, September 14, 2015

Canadian Filmmakers Hoping To Revive "Are You Afraid of the Dark?"

"Submitted for the approval of the Midnight Society..."

Michael Chwastiak is on a mission, and he hopes to use a beloved title to accomplish it!

Chwastiak, a producer/writer/actor who lives in Forestville in Quebec, Canada, has teamed up with friend Jared Pelletier of Aurora for what they hope will spark a reboot of the popular Canadian series "Are You Afraid of the Dark?", which aired on Nickelodeon channels around the world in the 1990's and early 2000's.

"I've been a huge proponent of trying to get Norfolk on film. It's something that hasn't been happening," Chwastiak said. "It's a gorgeous area down here with multiple different views and venues."

The duo previously filmed a project within county lines, and settled on the Culverdene House Bed and Breakfast just south of Simcoe as the place they hope will fuel another round of the popular show — which featured the likes of Elisha Cuthbert, Ryan Gosling, Hayden Christensen and Melissa Joan Hart.

Kaylee Chwastiak takes part in a short movie filmed at Culverdene House Bed and Breakfast just south of Simcoe recently. Powered by director Jared Pelletier and Forestville native along with producer/writer/actor Michael Chwastiak, the project is the first step towards a possible reboot of the popular Canadian series 'Are You Afraid of the Dark?'. (Photo Courtesy Kris Bonnell)

They'll pitch to the show's rights holders, DHX Media, who control other properties such as "Arthur", "Caillou", "Inspector Gadget" and "Make It Pop".

"DHX Media has been talking to Jared on and off for a year and they finally said, 'this is a much loved property, why don't you submit a pitch on it?'" Chwastiak recalled. "Normally a pitch would be; here's a page and a half on what I think your show could be. We went out and shot a short (video, and) we're getting letters of intent from known Canadian actors who want to be a part of it. We're talking to other studios about co-productions – we're really, really pushing for this because it's a huge opportunity."

What Chwastiak referred to as a 'lean' film crew was recently shooting in town an outline of what the show may look like. They'll present that project, and two other similar 'shorts' to DHX Media for a decision to be made before going forward.

"It was a fantastic night – the footage was great – everybody was really happy with the outcome," Chwastiak noted.

The short is tentatively set to be released online around Halloween. Chwastiak hinted the possible new series will stand on its own, but the original won't be ignored.

"I've yet to talk to anyone who has not gone crazy over it and loved the (show)," he said. "We completely respect the original property, and I can't get into too much of the specifics of our pitch, but we're referencing everything before ... ideally, we want to see parents and kids sit down together and watch this."

Shooting in Norfolk was advantageous for a number of reasons, Chwastiak said, and not just the proximity to his home. The project has become so popular that property owners are offering their land to be used on another Norfolk-based endeavour that will begin shooting later this year.

"I want to show people you can do world class work in Norfolk County – that is the ultimate of what we're going for," he said.

"It was incredibly helpful to be here, use the resources we have here and the talent we have here as well."

Those interested in the project – and others being shot in Norfolk – can follow Michael Chwastiak on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

"Are You Afraid of the Dark?" chronicles a group of kids – the 'Midnight Society' - that gather to tell ghost stories. When the clock strikes twelve, the members of the Midnight Society gather in the darkness. Around the campfire deep inside the woods, they let their imaginations run wild. One by one, they tell spine-chilling stories - vampires who wander the earth in search of blood, ghastly ghosts who possess the souls of the living and evil spirits who inhabit the darkest corners of our own minds. The tales are so frightening, so chilling, so real that they seem to take on a life of their own... Each story featured a new cast of characters. The show was filmed and produced in Canada, and gained North American exposure through Nickelodeon. Episodes helped kick start the careers of many young actors and actresses. The question is... are YOU afraid of the dark?

Additionally, StarKid Productions has announced the very exciting news that they'll be holding a tribute to the Classic Nickelodeon favorite "Are You Afraid of the Dark?" in the USA this Fall!

Inspired by the spookiest programming block in Nickelodeon history, Team StarKid create a riveting half-hour of spooktacular television before your very eyes in their brand-new improvisational comedy show "Yes, I Am Afraid of the Dark!"! For more information, please visit

"Yes, I Am Afraid of the Dark!" will be taking place at the iO Theatre in Chicago, over five Sundays during the Fall — September 20 and October 11 and 18. During each performance, the cast will crowdsource an episode title and improvise an episode of the nostalgic kids' horror show. Tickets for these performances are on sale now!

Reminisce with the "Are You Afraid of the Dark?" opening titles!:

Source: Simcoe Reformer.
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