CaribbeanTales Media Group (CTMG) has begun principal photography on new comedy web series, Garvey’s Ghost, based on the memoir of Canadian radio trailblazer Denham Jolly.
Jolly, a businessman, publisher, and civil rights activist, was the founder of Canada’s first Black-owned radio station Flow 93.5 (CFXJ-FM). By the time the Toronto urban station launched in 2001, Jolly’s Milestone Communications had applied to the CRTC for a broadcast licence three times over an 11-year period. He published his memoir, In The Black, in 2017.
Garvey’s Ghost will explore Jolly’s early years as he arrives in Toronto in 1955 and rents a room in Miss Violet Williams’ boarding house. As the “Lady President” of the Universal Negro Improvement Association, she struggles to keep the organization afloat, ably assisted by the ghost of her mentor, famed Jamaican political activist Marcus Mosiah Garvey.
The project is the creation of showrunner and award-winning director, Frances-Anne Solomon. Among the cast are Jamaican Canadian actor Richard Walters (Degrassi: Next Class), who will play young Denham Jolly; Melanie Nicholls-King (The Wire) as Miss Violet Williams; Peter Williams (Stargate SG-1) as Black activist Harry Gairey; Valerie Buhagiar (Titans, Bad Blood) as the troublesome neighbour Maria; comedian Owen “Blakka” Ellis as Marcus Garvey; and Mary Walsh (This Hour Has 22 Minutes) as Mrs. Murphy.
“We are super stoked to bring this incredible cast and never-before-seen world to audiences, in a comedy that will resonate from here in Canada, to the Caribbean and everywhere that Black people live and laugh,” said Solomon, in a release.
The six-part series is supported by the Bell Fund, Ontario Creates and the Canada Media Fund.
It is one of two CaribbeanTales projects going to camera this year inspired by the Jolly memoir. A feature film is also in the works focused on telling the story of his more than decade-long struggle to secure a broadcast licence.
“I trust Frances-Anne Solomon to tell my story with honesty, integrity and the directional creativity she always brings to every project that she touches,” said Jolly.
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