TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Sep 3, 2013) - My Date With Hugh, a documentary about an ordinary guy trying to gain access to the Playboy Mansion, has at last been finished and just bought by the CBC to be aired on its documentary channel on September 22nd. The film took a sordid path to the screen after attracting competing bids on Dragons' Den and eventually a business relationship with panelist W. Brett Wilson.
Producer Dave Regnier's unsuccessful efforts to gain access to the Mansion, setbacks related to another film, Celebrity, and a severe house fire, created money problems and triggered lies to family and friends, fraud charges, jail time, and total personal ruin. Originally intended as a comedy, the film, by necessity, has taken a dark turn as it tracks Regnier's dramatic and pitiable fall from grace.
"I learned a powerful lesson with this film," says Regnier. "When you need help, ask for it. My whole world has unraveled, but I have dedicated myself to righting all my wrongs. I'm doing what I can to fix my mistakes. It's fitting that the film is going to CBC because Dragons' Den is where everything started."
Concern about any potential for Regnier to profit from his purported crimes prompted lengthy legal battles to even allow the production to continue. Despite Regnier being written off by virtually everyone at every turn, Brad Pelman, one of Canada's most successful film distributors, was able to get CBC on board earlier this year. Kevin Burke from Post No Joes Productions helped shape Regnier's dream of a documentary into reality. Wilson was the only investor to stick with the project to help Regnier complete and distribute the documentary in hopes of covering costs, paying back investors, and resurrecting his comedy career.
"I've been very direct with Dave about his poor choices and many mistakes, but I also believe people who are willing to apologize and admit they are wrong deserve a second (or third) chance. In the film, Dave looks a lot like a figure from a Shakespearian tragedy, except those guys usually die. I'm happy for his sake he's getting his shot at redemption," says Wilson.
Wilson is one of Canada's best-known entrepreneurs and philanthropists. He spent three seasons on Dragons' Den and remains the most prolific dealmaker on the show. Regnier is a stand up comedian, founder of Comics Against Bullying and now a soon-to-be-celebrated filmmaker.