Thursday, May 27, 2004 - The Bancroft Times, by Barry Hendry

On May 20, The Times received a phone call from Robert Prowse, the Documentary Producer of TV Ontario’s Studio 2 Program, with the news that Bancroft’s entry in The Most Talented Town competition was one of the three finalists.
Prowse said, “The video was such fun.  We want to run it just the way it is, so we need signed release forms.”
Prowse said there were 103 submissions from 54 towns.  In some cases, a few individuals nominated their town for the competition.  The final standings will not be known by the public until Tuesday, June 8, when the Studio 2 Program airs at 8 p.m. on TV Ontario.  At that time, Prowse said, the panel of judges will discuss their reasons for choosing the winners.  The program is repeated at 11:30 p.m. that day and Prowse said it may be replayed later this summer.
But on May 25, TVO told The Times it will know who the first, second and third place winners are on June 7.
That is the day TVO will send a satellite truck to Bancroft, as well as a broadcasting truck to the other two finalists’ locations.  The crews will film the communities’ reaction to the announcement of the first place winner.  This will happen between 4 and 5 p.m.  This will be done live, feeding into the live taping of the Studio 2 Program in Toronto. The taped program will then air on TVO on June 8.
June 7 will be another opportunity for the arts community and its supporters to show the province how much talent and energy exists in North Hastings.  Prowse said he hoped to see the same energy he saw on the video entry.  All are welcome to Millennium Park, and those who arrive before 4 p.m. will be filmed as they hear Studio 2 Host Steve Paikin announce the winner.
The producer said because the Bancroft video entry was created in a broadcast ready format, it will air in its entirety on the June 8 program.  It is not known what will be aired from the other two finalists.  The Bancroft video is 5 minutes and 20 seconds long, and for those who wish to view the tape before a public presentation, the town’s copy will be at the Bancroft Public Library.
The letters of releases from the Algonquin Arts Council, the Community Futures Development Corporation, the Bancroft Chamber of Commerce and the Town of Bancroft were express-mailed the next day.  All were financial partners in funding the cost of the video.
On May 21, Prowse offered the other finalists names, which pits Bancroft against North Bay and Parry Sound.  When The Times told him the local entry is the smallest of the finalists, he said it was not the smallest town to compete.  An Honourable Mention will be awarded to MacDonald’s Corners, a hamlet of just 80 people.
A public presentation of the five-minute Bancroft video is being planned by Kevin Taylor of the AAC with place and time to be announced soon. Taylor is currently working on a longer version, which will attempt to include all the footage shot on May 8 by Filmmaker Lester Alfonso.
Alfonso’s comment on May 20 summed up the feelings of many others when they heard the news.  First, he just said, “Wow!!”  Then he added, “If we’re a finalist, then we’ve won already.  Being aired on TVO is amazing coverage for Bancroft.”
Alfonso was also a finalist in the Inoversity Creative Conference films awards in Toronto on May 12 with his "Trying to be Some Kind of Hero", a short, independent film, which includes some Bancroft footage.  He hopes to attend the public presentation of the Most Talented Town video, where he may show other films with a Bancroft theme.
Alfonso also sent his congratulations and his appreciation for making his filming day easier and “a lot of fun” to everyone involved in the day of shooting the video at Millennium Park, the art gallery and the Village Playhouse.