At the Vancouver Film Critics Circle Awards held last night (January 10), local actor Ian Tracey presented television screenwriter and producer Chris Haddock, creator of the locally based CBC TV series Da Vinci’s Inquest and the crime drama Intelligence, with the VFCC Achievement Award for his contributions to the B.C. film and television industry.
“First of all, I’m gonna say that this is really an acknowledgement of the entire Vancouver community,” Haddock said in his acceptance speech. “I’ve had a great opportunity to work with so many people who’ve encouraged me, supported me, challenged me, allowed me to make mistakes and all the things that artists need when they’re growing up. And now that I am grown up, I wanna announce that I’m not retired, not dead. I’ve just been taking a little bit of a rest break, and”¦I have new adventures in which I hope to invite many of you. I hope to make things here in Vancouver again and continue to do it.”
When the Straight asked Haddock what he is most proud of, he didn't hesitate to name Da Vinci’s Inquest, which ran from 1998 to 2005 (and led to the short-lived spinoff Da Vinci's City Hall, which ran from 2005 to 2006). “I’m very proud of that [Da Vinic's Inquest] ’cause it stands up and it feels contemporary when you see it today ’cause it’s addressing problems that haven’t gone away and that kind of thing. But I really, really have a very, very dear spot in my heart and I’m very proud of Intelligence. It presaged many of the questions that CSIS [Canadian Security Intelligence Service] is asking itself today. It looks like they actually studied the series to get their shit together.”
Intelligence was cancelled on March 7, 2008. Haddock puts the cancellation of that show into perspective as one of the hazards of the industry. "When you're in this business, nothing's guaranteed. Every show in its creation has an end date stamped in there somewhere too. So you don't survive in this. I've written many pilots that were never even filmed, and pilots that didn't even get out of the can."
Nonetheless, he think highly of the show. "I was just disappointed because I thought we were doing fine work. And I thought some of the actors, Ian Tracey, for example, John Cassini, were doing just exception work. And it turns out that that genre, that we were ahead of the time. Now everybody's sort of doing spy things. I don't mind being the first."
He went on to lament the struggles Canadian shows like Intelligence face. “There were such fine performances by [an] all-Vancouver cast, by the way, and it just went to prove that our stuff is accepted and admired and appreciated and acknowledged globally. We do make top quality product here. It just becomes a matter of can we get it into the market and can we keep it in the market? And when we’re not being supported by our own country of people, when we do make an effort like that, it’s really a sad call.”