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EDITIONS
Friday, 29 November, 2002, 19:31 GMT
Springer to play ruthless TV exec
Jerry Springer
Jerry Springer: Loves playing the bad guy
Shock-television presenter Jerry Springer is starring in $10m thriller which shows a future where viewers of reality TV programmes can vote for a crime suspect to be executed.

Citizen Verdict is being filmed on location in South Africa by a Cardiff-based firm with big ambitions to break into international cinema.

Terence Potter (left) with Citizen Verdict producers Doug Miller and Kim Leggat
Terence Potter (left) with Citizen Verdict producers Doug Miller and Kim Leggat

The film, thought to be the most expensive financed privately from Wales, revolves around the trial of a young Latino punk in the Florida of the not-too-distant future.

Springer is said to be relishing his role as a ruthless television producer who strikes a deal with the state's Republican governor, to broadcast trials on his interactive TV network.

The company behind the project, Aquarius, is headed by Terence Potter.

He said the film is an Orwellian suspense drama set against a backdrop of a failing justice system and terror attacks on the US, creating an atmosphere of fear and insecurity.

"As life becomes worse, people depend more on TV, and justice is privatised," said Potter.

Jerry Springer
Springer plays a ruthless television producer

"Court cases are televised as pay-per-view, and condensed into an hour for the prosecution, an hour for the defence and an hour to sum up.

"To make matters even more grotesque, the public votes guilty or not guilty, and then can even watch the execution - again, for a fee."

Springer stars as the notorious television producer, Marty Rockman, whose deal with Florida governor, Bull Tyler, played by craggy-faced Roy Scheider, sees the show's viewers as the jury.

Viewers can affect, even end, a defendant's life by simply pressing the interactive buttons on their television remote controls.

Armand Assante plays a popular law professor at a Miami college who becomes the defence attorney for the trials show.

Film festival

The media agency for Wales, SgrÓn Cymru Wales, said it was looking to make sure more production companies choose Wales as film-making resource in terms of locations and technical and creative support.

This week SgrÓn took charge of the Cardiff International Film Festival promising a bigger budget and a new name for the event which has failed to grow its audiences as fast as had been hoped since its move from Aberystwyth five years ago.

SgrÓn chief executive Berwyn Rowlands had called for the festival's £130,000 budget to at least double if it wanted to compete in any way with the Edinburgh Film Festival which can draw on around £1m.

Despite a number of innovations for the 2002 programme - including free tickets for some films on the opening night and the premier of an animated film of mythological Welsh tales - the festival was panned over its contribution to Wales's cultural scene.

See also:

08 Nov 02 | Wales
20 Nov 02 | Wales
19 Nov 02 | Wales
06 Dec 00 | Wales
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