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Director produces SnowFest TV special

JEREMY MORRISON, Sun News Service

Roll out the red carpet and fire up the limousines, North Lake Tahoe is hosting a world premier show.

Tonight at 6 p.m. at the Cal-Neva Resort in Crystal Bay, the sights and sounds of this year’s Snowfest will explode onto the big screen.

Free presentation

The free presentation, entitled Lake Tahoe Snowfest 2000 TV Specials, is a closed circuit screening for local residents; the rest of the world will have a chance to view the festivities on television beginning March 24.

The hour long variety special, spotlighting such events as The Great Ski Race, the Purina Incredible Snow Dog Challenge, opening night ceremonies at Squaw Valley USA and Tahoe City’s parade, was produced by North Lake Tahoe locals Cinergy Television Productions.

Based in Tahoe City, the usually-abroad production company was happy to be in town and able to work with Festivals at Tahoe on the Snowfest project.

“We love working with the local community,” said Julie Conover, a Cinergy producer. “We really want to be a part of that community.”

Producer Mark Jennings said that Snowfest officials had initially looked towards southern California companies for the job, but were later convinced that a local outfit might be a better way to go.

“It’s great that we’re doing the job and not some production company out of L.A.,” Conover said. “It just wouldn’t have the same passion and love of the area. It wouldn’t have the same feel.”

“The local flavor of Snowfest is captured in the show,” agreed Jennings. “The best part of the whole thing was the local participation.”

Another advantage of working with a local company was the crew members’ knowledge of the area.

Now in their eleventh year, Cinergy has been based in Tahoe City since its inception and the Lake Tahoe area provided the background for much of their early work.

Now, after having honed their chops around Lake Tahoe, the Cinergy gang is playing in the big leagues, with the “Passport to Adventure” television program airing nationally on the Discovery Channel and locally Saturday evenings at 7 p.m. (check your local cable company for channel information).

Falling somewhere between “The Crocodile Hunter” and a leisure vacation, “Passport to Adventure” escorts viewers around the globe to such locales as Nepal, Costa Rica and the Republic of Georgia in the former Soviet Union.

“It’s adventure travel, but it’s accessible to everybody,” said Conover. “We try to encourage people to get out of their comfort zone.”

Jennings said the home-town company realized the growth of their success one morning near the Burma boarder.

While feasting on a breakfast of eel, the show’s theme music drifted from a nearby television, followed by an out-of-sync translation overdub.

“It’s a great adventure,” Jennings said. “The beauty of it is that we get to do some pretty incredible stuff around the world, but then come back to Lake Tahoe.”


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