North Burnaby family subject of reality TV pilot
A Vancouver studio's first foray into TV could soon be a reality show about a North Burnaby family if its pilot gets picked up.
Life Studios Inc. has previously focused on commercial work and weddings but was looking into a new venture for television when they were approached by a friend with an interesting family that could fit the bill for a reality show, said producer Jacob Wasef.
He was convinced after meeting the Zanotto family and determining theirs was a story "worth telling." The show will be called La Famiglia.
Wasef cited the family members' diverse personalities as one of their selling points.
For instance, he noted, 25-year-old son Moreno is an "extreme environmentalist" who refuses to drive a car, while eldest child Giuliana, 27, drives an H1 Hummer.
The father, Franco, drives his own Hummer, runs a successful commercial painting business and has a black belt in karate.
Mom Tina Zanotto has made NewsLeader headlines in the past for writing and performing the Italian version of Celine Dion's hit My Heart Will Go On during the height of the Titanic movie craze.
She's now focusing her show business efforts on youngest child Tatiana, 16, an aspiring pop star who hopes to follow in her mom's footsteps.
"The amazing thing that kind of got our attention was how no matter what, they always have breakfast together and they always have dinner together, every single day," Wasef said, adding the kids are "filled with pride to live at home."
He said the company wasn't sure at first that they wanted their first TV project to be a reality show, simply because most of the shows they see showcase "weird" and "eccentric" families.
"Whereas the Zanottos, they are normal, but yet they're extremely interesting and entertaining to watch and see what they actually go through day in and day out. What really caught our attention is normal is cool, normal is compelling. And I think there's a longing for a real family unit that people want to find, they want to believe that it can be true."
Tina said the two-week shoot was surprisingly not intrusive at all.
"Honestly, you even forget the cameras are there," she said, adding the whole family enjoyed the experience.
Daughter Giuliana said she was "in complete shock" when her mom first suggested being on a reality show but considers the experience "a blessing, you don't get offered that every day to do a reality show. It was really, really cool."
She admits all the family members love the spotlight with the exception of her brother Moreno, a masters student at Simon Fraser University.
"He is the very reserved one of the family, the environmental one of the family. So for him it was a little bit tough in the beginning to kind of accept the idea, but as he started rolling with the camera, he started enjoying it himself," Giuliana said with a laugh.
Giuliana, who works in a tanning salon, said she hopes people will appreciate their "family first" approach. "That you can live your life but you still have family at the end of the day and that's who really has your back."
The youngest in the family, Tatiana, attends the Catholic Notre Dame Regional Secondary School in Vancouver where her classmates weren't surprised to hear she could be on TV.
"I always get 'Tatiana, your family should have a reality show because it's so funny and different, I would watch you all the time,'" she said with a laugh.
When she told her friends the news of the show, their reaction was, "Oh my god, your family was born for this."
Life Studios is currently editing their footage into a pilot episode and a trailer to pitch to distributors and believe they could be close to signing a deal. They'll shoot several half-hour episodes once a network picks it up.