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JULY/AUGUST 2009

$5.00

FILM, VIDEO, INTERNET AND DIGITAL PRODUCTION IN WESTERN CANADA

Richard de Klerk takes on Cole... Looking back at the making of Carl Bessai’s COLE A Q+A with Director SAM MENDES Producer Kevin DeWalt sings a LULLABY FOR PI Vancouver post-production company CIS


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CONTENTS

16 PRAIRIE LULLABY Saskatchewan-based Kevin DeWalt and Parisian filmmakers Jean-Charles Levy and Benoit Phillippon combined with noted US indie producer Christine Vachon to make New York-set Lullaby for Pi in the streets of Winnipeg and the studios of Regina.

20 COMPETITIVE EFFECTS Vancouver’s visual effects community has come a long way in a short time. Once considered to be the one element of a movie or TV show that would have to be farmed out to Los Angeles, a tax credit and a strong crew base have allowed the city to compete on the world stage. Leading the way is CIS Vancouver, formerly known as Rainmaker Visual Effects, which is working with some of Hollywood’s most respected directors in several countries.

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PRODUCTION UPDATE

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BITS AND BYTES

10 BEGINNINGS 11 EXPERT WITNESS 12 BEHIND THE SCENES 14 QUESTION AND ANSWER 29 LEGAL BRIEFS 30 FINAL EDIT

24 COLE’S NOTES Richard de Klerk moved to Los Angeles to find work but decided to return to Vancouver to play the title role in Carl Bessai’s Cole. His diary on the making of the movie looks back at the character, the Interior locations and his approach to turning off-screen friendships into realistic on-screen relationships.

ON THE COVER: COLE’S RICHARD DE KLERK IN THE TITLE ROLE. ABOVE: DE KLERK AND KANDYSE MCCLURE STAR IN CARL BESSAI’S COLE

REEL WEST MAGAZINE IS A WHOLLY OWNED ENTERPRISE OF REEL WEST PRODUCTIONS INC. IT EXISTS AND IS MANAGED TO PROVIDE PUBLICITY AND ADVERTISING THAT SUPPORTS THE GROWTH OF THE WESTERN CANADIAN MOTION PICTURE INDUSTRY. PRESIDENT & PUBLISHER: SANDY P. FLANAGAN EXECUTIVE EDITOR: IAN CADDELL. ASSOCIATE PUBLISHERS: RON HARVEY, PAUL BARTLETT. SALES: RANDY HOLMES. CREATIVE DIRECTOR: ANDREW VON ROSEN. ART DIRECTOR: LINDSEY ATAYA. PHOTO EDITOR: PHILLIP CHIN. REEL WEST MAGAZINE IS PUBLISHED SIX TIMES PER YEAR. SUBSCRIPTIONS CANADA/US. $35.00 PER YEAR (PLUS $10.00 POSTAGE TO USA). REEL WEST DIGEST, THE DIRECTORY FOR WESTERN CANADA’S FILM, VIDEO AND TELEVISION INDUSTRY, IS PUBLISHED ANNUALLY. SUBSCRIPTION $35.00 PER YEAR (PLUS $10.00 POSTAGE TO US). BOTH PUBLICATIONS $60.00 (PLUS $10.00 POSTAGE TO USA) PRICES INCLUDE GST. COPYRIGHT 2009 REEL WEST PRODUCTIONS INC. SECOND CLASS MAIL. REGISTRATION NO. 0584002. ISSN 0831-5388. G.S.T. # R104445218. REEL WEST PRODUCTIONS INC. 101 - 5512 HASTINGS STREET, BURNABY, BRITISH COLUMBIA, CANADA, V5B 1R3. PHONE (604) 451-7335 TOLL FREE: 1-888-291-7335 FAX: (604) 451-7305 EMAIL: INFO@REELWEST.COM URL: WWW.REELWEST.COM. VOLUME 24, ISSUE 2. PRINTED IN CANADA. CANADIAN MAIL PUBLICATION SALES AGREEMENT NUMBER: 40006834. TO SUBSCRIBE CALL 1-888-291-7335 OR VISIT OUR WEBSITE AT WWW.REELWEST.COM. REEL WEST WELCOMES FEEDBACK FROM OUR READERS, VIA EMAIL AT EDITORIAL@REELWEST.COM OR BY FAX AT 604-451-7305. ALL CORRESPONDENCE MUST INCLUDE YOUR NAME, ADDRESS, AND DAYTIME TELEPHONE NUMBER.

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PRODUCTION UPDATE

What’s coming. What’s shooting. What’s wrapped.

CANADIAN ACTOR JOSH JACKSON, SHOWIN HERE IN THE 2005 FILM AURORA BOREALIS, RETURNS TO VANCOUVER FOR THE FILMING OF THE TV SERIES FRINGE

Eclectic production mix hits Vancouver Film and television productions coming to Vancouver during spring and summer featured a former fictional Mountie turned fictional gunslinger, a former fictional hockey player turned fictional scientist, one of the world’s leading mainstream directors, a cartoon dog and an Oscar winner turned head hunter. Former Due South star Paul Gross was in BC in May and June for the film Gunless in which he played a hardened American gunslinger who moves to a western Canadian town during the late 1800s and finds that the locals are too friendly to become involved in a traditional showdown. The film is being executive produced by Stephen Hegyes, Shawn Williamson and Niv Fichman with Cynthia Chapman as line producer, William Phillips directing, Greg Middleton as DOP, Matthew Budgeon as production designer, Paul

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Lukiaitis as production manager, Emily Alden as production coordinator and Rick Mielnicki as location manager. Jak Osmond was special effects supervisor. Here in July and staying until September is the feature Marmaduke which is based on the Brad Anderson comic strip of the same name about a gargantuan Great Dane. The executive producers are Jeff Stott and Derek Dauchy while the producer is John Davis, the director is Thomas Dey, the production manager is Drew Locke, the production coordinator is Eva Morgan and the location manager is Bruce Brownstein. Director Chris Columbus, whose filmography includes two Home Alone films, two Harry Potter films, Mrs. Doubtfire and Stepmom is here until August with Percy Jackson, which tells the story of a boy who discovers he’s the descendant of a Greek god and sets out on an adventure to

settle an on-going battle between the gods. The film’s co-stars include Pierce Brosnan, Uma Thurman and Kathleen Keener. The executive producers are Tom Hammel, Greg Mooradian and Mark Radcliffe and the producers are Michael Barnathan, Mark Morgan, Guy Oseary and Karen Rosenfelt. The DOP is Stephen Goldblatt while the production designer is Howard Cummings, the production manager is Wendy Williams, the production coordinator is Patricia Foster and the location manager is Katou Kearney. Tony Lazarowich is the effects supervisor. The television movie Stonehenge Apocalypse was here in June and tells the story of archaeologists working at Stonehenge who accidentally start a chain of events that could end the world. The executive producers are Tom Berry and Lisa Hansen while the producer is John Prince, the director is Paul Ziller, the DOP is An-

thony Metchie, the production designer is Bob Bottieri, the production manager is Gilles LaPlante, the production coordinator is Jim McKeown, the location manager is Karen Zajac and the special effects supervisor is Al Benjamin. The miniseries Alice, stars Kathy Bates as a Red Queen who is going after the head of an independent young woman lost in a city of twisted towers and casinos built out of playing cards. Matthew O’Connor, Lisa Richardson and Robert Halmi Sr. are the executive producers while Michael O’Connor and Alex Brown are the producers. Nick Willing directs with Rob McLachlan as the DOP, Michael Joy the production designer, Holly Redford the production manager, Lucy MacLeod the production coordinator, Tracey Renyard the location manager and David Barkes the supervisor of effects. It wraps in August after two months. Prodigal son Josh Jackson returned to Vancouver in late June with a television series. Fringe has the former Dawson Creek and The Mighty Ducks star playing a scientist forced to work with a female FBI agent in order to quell a storm of phenomena. The executive producers are J.J. Abrams, Joel Wyman, Jeff Pinkner, Bryan Burk, and Joe Chappelle while the producers are Alex Kurtzman and Bob Orci. The line producer is Reid Shane, the DOPs are Tom Yatsko and David Moxness, the production designer is Ian Thomas, the production manager is Michael C. Young, the production coordinator is Jared Howitt, the location managers are John Alexander and Scott Walden and the visual effects supervisor is Bob Comer.

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BITS AND BYTES DVS Wins at Banff The recent Banff World Television Festival gave its 2009 Deluxe Outstanding Technical Achievement Award to DVS Digital Video Systems AG in recognition of the company’s technical innovation. “There isn’t a post facility in the world that doesn’t count on DVS Systems to provide solutions that work, while also setting the benchmark,” said Nick Iannelli, vice president of Deluxe Postproduction. “With over 20 years of technical excellence to the film and television post community, DVS Systems is most deserving of this award,” A Banff spokesperson said that DVS was founded in 1985, “providing image processing and video coding applications. It later succeeded in developing groundbreaking products for video graphics, animation, broadcast and post production facilities. DVS is a pioneering manufacturer of cutting-edge, high-quality technology for professional film postproduction. Highest quality and usability are distinguished features of DVS’s turnkey systems and video boards. DVS’ dedication to CANADIAN ACTOR BRONSON PELLETIER (3RD FROM LEFT) PLAYS JARED IN THE ANTICIPATED TWILIGHT SEQUEL, NEW MOON

Canadians Suck The Vampire movie The Twilight Saga: New Moon has added several Canadian actors. The Twilight sequel, which was shot in British Columbia and Italy over the last few months, stars Americans Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson but should give several western Canadians a high profile. The list of actors who work in the west includes renegadepress.com alumnus Bronson Pelletier, Sanctuary’s Christopher Heyerdahl, Squamish’s Daniel Cudmore, Victoria native Cameron Bright and Vancouver’s Noot Seear. According to a spokesperson, the film will follow Stewart’s character Bella as she finds herself moving away from her affiliation with vampires to befriend werewolves, the ancestral enemies of the vampires. Seear, Bright, Cudmore and Heyerdahl will be playing members of the Volturi, a coven of vampire enforcers. Pelletier will play a Native American who has the power to turn into a werewolf. The film, which is scheduled to be released in November, was directed by Chris Weitz with Wyck Godfrey and Mark Morgan producing, Javier Aguirresarobe as the DOP, David Brisbin as production designer, Barbara Kelly as the production manager, Catherine Irchas as the art director, Lesley Beale as the set decorator and Tish Monaghan as the costume designer. Hills Alive A George Ryga novel about a young man who revisits the Alberta hill country where he came of age has been adapted for the screen by Vancouver-based screenwriter Gary Fisher. The film was shot in May in Saskatchewan by Regina-based director Rob King. “Ryga’s timeless story of perseverance and redemption has been a sixteen-year journey for Gary Fisher,” said a spokesperson. “It’s a dream shared by award-

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winning director Rob King who has championed the project alongside Fisher for the last decade.” Hungry Hills stars Keir Gilchrist, Alexander De Jordy, John Pyper Ferguson, Gabrielle Rose, Alexia Fast and Cavan Cunningham and was produced by King, Fisher, Rhonda Baker and Avi Federgreen. The co-producer is Gerard Demaer while Jennifer Jonas and Leonard Farlinger of New Real Films are the executive producers.

the field of postproduction prepared the company for the migration to HDTV in the broadcast sector.” DVS’s Tony Fox accepted the award on the company’s behalf. Past winners of the Deluxe Outstanding Technical Achievement Award recipients include ARRI (2008), da Vinci Systems (2007) Quantel (2006), Panasonic, Japan (2005), Steadicam, USA (2004), Sony CineAlta, Japan (2003), Bang & Olufsen, Denmark (2002), Royal Philips Electronics, The Netherlands (2001), Discreet, Canada (2000), and Avid Technology Worldwide Inc., USA (1999).

Sony Makes Optical Additions Sony of Canada Ltd. recently announced that it introduced new additions to the XDCAM® HD422 series of optical disc products. Spokesperson Mike Martin said the line delivers “enhanced flexibility ideal for motion picture and TV episodic production, as well as for ENG/EFP applications.” “As new CineAlta® family members, the PDW-F800 camcorder and PDWF1600 deck expand the capabilities of the XDCAM® MPEG HD422 codec first offered in the well-established PDW-700 camcorder and PDW-HD1500 and deck,” said Martin. “The new PDW-F800 and PDW-F1600 both offer a native 23.98P frame rate in 1080 4:2:2 HD mode and multi-format recording flexibility as standard – including support of legacy formats (MPEG IMX®, DVCAM™ and 4:2:0 HD content). Martin said the new line also provides multi-format recording, as well as HD/SD conversion and cross-conversion during playback.

Kodak Unveils Vision Eastman Kodak Company recently unveiled the latest product offering in its Vision3 technology platform. A company spokesperson said Kodak Vision3 250D Color Negative Film 5207/7207 incorporates “all of the advancements and imaging characteristics unique to the Vision3 family of films, optimized for an exposure index of 250 in daylight.” “We introduced Kodak Vision3 technology in response to our customers’ requests for an expanded range of capabilities from capture all the way through postproduction and distribution,” says Kodak Entertainment Imaging Division general manager Ingrid Goodyear. “By extending the Vision3 portfolio, we continue to raise the bar by giving our customers more workflow efficiencies combined with all the existing advantages of film – image quality, resolution, unrivaled dynamic range, flexibility and archivability. We are very proud to now offer Vision3 in both 500T and 250D speeds, enabling more creative options in a wider variety of lighting conditions.” Goodyear said he newest addition to the family is designed to retain “the richness in colours and contrast” that are characteristic of Kodak Vision3 technology with more details in the extreme highlight areas. “Like Kodak Vision3 500T 5219/7219, the new film also incorporates proprietary Advanced Dye-Layering Technology (DLT), which renders finer grain images in underexposed areas and produces cleaner film-to-digital transfers for postproduction.” She said that the new medium-speed, daylight-balanced emulsion offers “exceptional imaging” in natural daylight, artificial daylight, and a variety of mixed lighting situations, while maintaining flesh tones and colour reproduction.

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Short stories written Four local filmmakers will receive world premiere screenings of their completed film after their scripts won the Whistler Stories competition. According to Whistler Film Festival spokesperson Jeanette Miller, the four winning screenwriters will start preproduction on their scripts immediately. Miller said this year’s winners’ list included Whistler resident Nicole Fitzgerald’s The Turning Season in Whistler, the story of how Whistler Olympic Park’s cross country trails will be converted into new mountain bike trails as a legacy of the 2010 Olympics and Whistler resident Peter Harvey’s Growing Up Whistler, a profile of three young Olympic hopefuls, Julia Murray, Robbie Dixon and Mercedes Nicoll. Also winning was Legends of Whistler from Squamish resident Christian Begin and Whistler resident Leslie Anthony. Miller said their film will look at the history of Whistler. The 2009 Whistler Film Festival will run from December 3 to December 6. Jerome runs again The late Vancouver runner Harry Jerome will be the subject of a new NFB documentary. According to spokesperson Helen Yagi, Harry Jerome started shooting last April at the Harry Jerome Awards, held annually in Toronto. She said the film explores the turbulent life and career of the record-setting AfricanCanadian track and field star, and member of the Order of Canada. The film was inspired by Alberta filmmaker Fil Fraser’s book Running Uphill and is being directed by Charles Officer and produced by Selwyn Jacob of the NFB’s Pacific and Yukon Centre in Vancouver. “Twenty-seven years after his un-

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timely death at 42, Harry Jerome’s accomplishments as an athlete and social activist embody the perseverance of the human spirit,” said Officer. “He was, at one time, the fastest man on the planet.” Jerome’s athletic talents catapulted him onto the world stage during the 1960s. He held world records in both the 100 yards and 100 metres, and competed in three Olympics, winning a bronze medal. Yagi said the movie includes archival footage, personal interviews with those closest to him, stylized re-enactments and a contemporary soundtrack to tell Jerome’s story. She said the production wraps this September, with the premiere expected to be held in the fall of 2010.

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THE TV SERIES SANCTUARY WON FOUR PRIZES AT THE RECENT LEO AWARDS.

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Two science fiction television shows and a movie set in Ireland during the “troubles” dominated the two most high profile categories at the recent Leo Awards. Stargate: Atlantis won a total of nine awards including best dramatic program, best director (Robert Cooper), best screenwriter (Alan McCullough) and best cinematography (Michael Blundell) while a new series, Sanctuary, won four prizes including acting awards for the show’s star and co-executive producer Amanda Tapping, Ryan Robbins and Gabrielle Rose. The television movie Stargate: Continuum won three prizes in the feature film category including best lead actor for Michael Shanks and best director for Brad Wright while the show’s producers, Wright and Robert Cooper, were winners of a lifetime achievement award, as was veteran stuntman Jacob Rupp. Other winners in the television categories were Tyler Labine, who won best lead actor for Reaper, Eva Harlow, who won the best supporting actress award for The Guard and Benjamin Arthur who won the best supporting actor award for the Manitoba-filmed series Less Than Kind. The IRA drama Fifty Dead Men Walking, which was produced by Vancouver’s Shawn Williamson and Stephen Hegyes, won the best movie prize and best score (Ben Mink) while Babz Chula was named best actress for Mothers&Daughters, Lauren Lee Smith was named best supporting actress for the drama Helen and Chang Tseng was named best supporting actor for Dim Sum Funeral. Anne Wheeler won the best director prize for Living Out Loud while the best cinematography prize was won by Iron Road’s Attila Szalay. The short films The Anachronism and Paul Pontius battled it out for Leo supremacy with Anachronism winning for best program, screenwriting (Matthew Gordon Long), overall sound, musical sore, (Matthew Rogers), production design (Dusty Hagerud and Long) and costume design (Derek Baskerville) and Paul Pontius winning for direction (Jesse McKeown), cinematography (Catherine Lutes), editing (Jason Schneider) and male performance (Nick Campbell.) Emily Tennant of Valentines won for best female performance. Other category winners included Kid vs. Kat (best animation program), The Stagers (best information or lifestyle series), My Son the Pornographer (best history/biography/social or political documentary), Carts of Darkness (best nature, environment, adventure, science or technology documentary), Ultimate Engineering (best documentary series), Corner Gas (best music, comedy or variety program or series), Damian and Ende (best student program) and Morphine (best music video).

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Knowledge Partnering with Fest The Knowledge Network’s documentary section, Storyville, will be going to the Vancouver International Film Festival’s Film and Television Forum this year. According to Knowledge CEO Rudy Buttignol, Storyville Vancouver will attempt to stimulate the co-financing and coproduction of the long-form documentary. He said pre-selected documentary projects by Canadian filmmakers will be pitched to key commissioning editors visiting the Forum. “Knowledge is committed to creative documentaries through our Storyville programming initiative which develops, licenses and acquires films from the independent production community,” says Buttignol. “We are proud to be partnering with the Forum on Storyville Vancouver, which will attract the world’s leading broadcasters to this city to

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help local filmmakers develop longterm strategic relationships and enhance their projects, so that these documentaries can be made not only for Canada but also the international market.” Said the Festival’s Alan Franey “This is big news for documentary filmmaking in Canada. Rudy Buttignol is a highly respected international figure in the world of quality broadcasting and—now that he has moved here—a real asset to British Columbia. I thank Rudy for recognizing the opportunity that VIFF provides to bring some of the most important players in the business to Vancouver. Our aim is to make them welcome and productive this year, regular VIFF guests in future, and key ongoing facilitators for our talented documentary community. “ The 2009 Trade Forum will run from September 29 to October 2. The Festival will run from October 1 to October 16.

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Scotland invited Newland Veteran Vancouver animator Marv Newland is scheduled to take his latest film, Postalolio to two prestigious international film festivals in June and July. The film has been invited to the Edinburgh International Film Festival where it was slated to run June 20 and 21 and the Anima Mundi International Animation Festival in Brazil. The Rio de Janeiro dates are

July 10 to 19 and the Sao Paulo dates are June 20 to 26. According to Newland, Postalolio was hand-animated and then traced onto blank postcards, painted and mailed. He said every frame of Postalolio traveled through the international postal service. Newland said an exhibit of postcards that are not part of the film opened in June in Sergnan, France.

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Westerners dominate NSI Fest The Winnipeg-based National Screen Institute recently unveiled the 28 short films that will be seen during the he NSI Online Short Film Festival. It will roll out on the NSI website over the next three months. The list includes several western Canadian films. The Manitoba productions are Rob Huynh’s Red Birds of Happiness, Tyson Koschik’s Buttonpushers, Eric Warwaruk’s Voice-Over, James McLellan’s Tucked and Faded Away, Sam Vint’s Run For Your Life, Caroline Barrientos’ loss studies and Jeremy Guenette’s The Bunker, Nicholas Humphries’ A Great Day for Death and Lenny the Racoon Slayer, Kryshan Randel’s Glimpse, Doris Cheung-Joseph’s Vintage, Beth Miller’s Letter to Myself and Benjamin Schuetze’s Damian and Ende. Alberta’s Adolfo Ruiz will have Kisses & Tears in the festival. A spokesperson said this is fourth official selection of films in the NSI Online Short Film Festival. She said the A&E Short Filmmakers Award of $2,500 for the best film will be announced shortly. REEL WEST JULY/AUGUST 2009

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BEGINNINGS

Colleen Pollock “In my teenage years the only thing on my brain besides boys was to become a comic strip artist...”

I

received my first and only rejection letter when I was twelve years old. I sent out a sample of my drawings to Walt Disney. The rejection letter was sweet and inspirational. I was proud of the work I sent them and looking back now, it must have been pretty funny. I have never, over the course of my producing career, received original drawings from an elementary kid asking for a job. After years of buying comic books, pencils, papers, erasers and

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constantly drawing every minute of the day it was inevitable what I was going to do after graduation. In my teenage years the only thing on my brain, besides boys, was to be a comic strip artist or political cartoonist. That was up until my parents sat me down and voiced their concerns on the practicality of being an artist. My dad was worried that I would end up selling my artwork in Stanley Park and living on the streets. Arguments and words of encouragement ensued

and I majored in business. Soon after landing a full time position at a transportation company I started a family. It was obvious my career choice had been set. However, two months before my 26th birthday a colleague who I had not seen in a few years was shocked to see me still working at the same company. She laughed and said I had “settled.” I drove home that night and realized that even though I had a good paying job with a pension plan and two kids to support I

wasn’t happy. I walked into work the following day and resigned and haven’t looked back since. Now what? I couldn’t quite figure out how to get into the animation business. So without zapping all my savings, I picked up a couple of bookkeeping jobs to help pay the bills. While I was watching my son play lacrosse one afternoon I had a discussion with a mother who just purchased a home and wanted to design a cartoon on the wall in her younger son’s room. When she

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EXPERT WITNESS asked me if I would be interested, I nervously told her that I had never drawn on a wall before. After some discussion, I nervously accepted the challenge. With the address and supplies in my little blue car, I drove up to the address and found myself on this long driveway with this amazing estate in view. This was the house? This was a house for rich people…not me! I was more nervous about my car leaking oil on their driveway than ruining their walls. Well, after one week of drawing and painting, the clients loved the design and so did the few other clients I picked up through word of mouth. After working on a nursery room in Vancouver, my client informed me about a new animation school that was opening in Vancouver. I don’t know if I heard her say anything after that. I pretty much ran out of the house. My first day of class….I look around and I am the oldest. Yikes, I try to be cool, but it’s awkward, especially since I am at least 10 years older than all these kids. The instructor walks into class and he is a few years older than me, which settles me down perfectly. Unfortunately, the school was in the process of setting up while class was running, so there were a lot of delays. I worked full time in the evenings for a transportation company and finally had to quit animation school due to a scheduled surgery and time that would be missed. Devastated, I thought my animation opportunity was over. A few months later, I received a phone call from a former student who informed me that she was hired as a junior animator for an animation company (Natterjack Animation) which just opened. She explained that they needed an office manager and already suggested me for the job. It wasn’t drawing but it would allow me to be in the industry. It was love at first sight with the animation studio. I took on the office manager job and loved everything to do with animation. There was a condition, which to this day I regret. I agreed that I wasn’t hired as an animator, therefore my desire to one day be an animator needed to be put aside. I couldn’t just be an office manager! I had to learn the business from the bottom, so I was quickly jumping into shooting animation scenes and before I knew it a couple of years had passed. It was after we landed a big Disney interactive project and moved

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the studio into a larger facility that my producing opportunity came to light. The producer that the studio wanted to hire was not available for another couple of months and we needed someone as soon as possible. The studio’s director and general manager suggested that I take the position of producer and see if I could manage the project until I either screwed up or did well. I think all went well as I have been doing just that ever since. We worked on over 15 Disney interactive projects and then jumped into commercials with both live action and animation combination work. It was awesome. We worked 24/7 and my kids ended up growing up around the studio. I don’t know who was worse, the artists playing hockey with my son or my son playing hockey with the artists. Either way, the animators were like family and have been like family since then. My boss and good friend Steve Evangelatos, founder of Natterjack Animation, decided to close the studio. I was shocked when he walked into my office and announced that he sold the studio and was happy. What was I going to do? Work for another studio? I couldn’t do that. I basically loved working for Natterjack and weirdly enough felt like it was mine. We had an NBA campaign and even though we sold the building and closed the studio, we still had a project to complete. It was pretty much set, I would open a studio. Ooga Booga Studio Inc. officially opened in November 2003. We started with a small project and have been working on small projects since. I initially wanted to stay small with the luxury of working on projects without a huge overhead. All went well for us and over the years projects came our way and went. I think I learned a lot about people and how much I love this industry. After a few years working on commercials, it was inevitable that I would start creating cartoons. We have officially opened up a new company called “Bubble Gum Animation” which is our development series company. We now have three projects in development and are excited to move forward. I still think about my drawing book I sent to Mr. Walt Disney and am glad that I have that memory and encouraging letter which kept my dream alive even though I wasn’t animating. ■

“I didn’t really think about it. I don’t think that hard about those kinds of things. I kind of find my way through it. Nick (Cassavetes) brought this script to me and it was a wonderful script so I didn’t think about it in terms of what it would mean to my career. I thought about what it meant to the story and who this woman was and what her life experience was and what was happening to her. But I didn’t think ‘oh my god! How will playing the mother of teenagers affect my career?’ It didn’t phase me.” – Actor Cameron Diaz on playing the mother of two teenagers and an 11 year old in My Sister’s Keeper after a career of playing femmes fatales. There was a cut of Notebook that my producer, Mark Johnson, wasn’t happy with. He was talking all around it and I knew he was dissatisfied but I couldn’t understand what his point was. Finally, he said ‘I didn’t cry in the movie.’ And I said ‘Mark, is the whole idea of this movie that we should cry?’ and he said ‘yes, you idiot.’ So I said alright and we adjusted the film and made it more emotional.” – Director Nick Cassavetes on directing the tearjerker The Notebook. “When anyone asks me ‘when are you going to leave The Office to break away to film?’ I tell them ‘you don’t leave The Office.’ I am not looking for a ‘breakout film role’ because a show like The Office is the rarest thing to be a part of. I have been lucky enough to work on movies like this rather than be offered movies where I would think ‘I would rather shoot myself in the face than work on this movie, but I have to break into movies.’ So I have the best of both worlds. I just don’t want to say it too loud or the other shoe will drop.” – Actor John Krasinski on his lack of interest in leaving his day job to seek movie stardom. “Before The Pianist I was looking to find a leading man role so I could transition and not be seen as a character actor. But the right kind of leading role wasn’t being offered. If I had been offered the part of the leading man in King Kong back then I would have done it immediately because there was action involved and yet he was not superficial. He had a depth of intelligence and sensitivity and that is rare for an epic film. After The Pianist I chose to do The Village which was the antithesis of what people were telling me I should do because it was more in line with the choices I had made before The Pianist. But I didn’t want to just change (career directions) because people felt I should. I actually had to make that decision without my agents reading it because I promised Knight (The Village director M. Knight Shalaman) that I wouldn’t show that script to anyone. It was a very difficult decision in that respect because my agents wanted to read it but I had made a promise.” – Actor Adrien Brody on the impact the winning of an Academy Award has on the choosing of projects. Excerpted from interviews done by Reel West editor Ian Caddell.

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Photograph by Phillip Chin

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BEHIND THE SCENES

“Plastics” Sabic Polymershapes taking plastics to the future

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f you’re old enough to remember the 1967 film The Graduate, you probably recall its most famous line, one coming from a conversation between Benjamin Braddock and a family friend in which the friend tells the recent graduate how best to attain a secure career. “I just want to say one word to you, Benjamin. Plastics. There’s a great future in plastics.” He may have been right but that hasn’t stopped people from looking at Corry Laycock a little strangely when he tells them what he does for a living. “I usually get a lot of inquisitive looks,” says Laycock, of plastics supplier Sabic Polymershapes. “But when I give them examples of where our products have been used it allows for a better understanding of the diversity of our lines.” The list of films and television shows that have called on Sabic Polymershapes includes the upcoming Tron 2, Smallville, Stargate and The X-Files. Most famously, the company was involved in the making of the clear prison used to lock up Magneto (Ian McKellen) in The X-Men films. “I find it exciting to point out to family and friends that our products are showcased in scenes in movies and television,” says Laycock. Laycock says Sabic Polymershapes was formed from two companies, Commercial Plastics and Cadillac Plastics. Both competed in the worldwide plastics field. Several years ago they merged through an acquisition by US giant General Electric and became GE Polymershapes. (The merged company became Sabic Polymershapes in 2007.) Laycock says the current company is an industry leader in the distribution, conversion and fabrication of plastic products and associated materials. He says that working with architects, engineers, fabricators, designers and installers, Sabic provides one of the best and broadest selections of plastic sheet, rod, tube and film. The current company has 72 Branches worldwide, with nine in Canada. That, says Laycock, gives them an advantage when it comes to filling orders quickly and efficiently. “We are able to draw on a vast inventory base” he says. “We know when we get the call that we need to supply material immediately.” He says having diverse product lines has made a big impact on the company’s bottom line. “I think there is a tendency to think of the company as being a place to find Acrylic and Lexan” he says. “But over the years we have expanded into LEDs, tapes, silicones and a number of really unique materials. Diversity is the key and we like to see ourselves as a one stop shop for the majority of needs.” Laycock says that dealing with the film and television industry is a different experience from working with most industries. “It’s not the same as working with your standard customers. You can’t just show up on a set to do a sales call. And most of the people we deal with just don’t have the time for sales appointments. So a majority of our business comes through word of mouth. And this is where I believe we shine. Through an extensive product line and exceptional customer service we’ve maintained relationships with a number of buyers and departments, some of which have lasted decades.” Laycock can also speak in terms of decades when he talks about the people customers will be dealing with when they call Sabic. He says that while some faces have changed the people on the front lines have an astonishing amount of combined experience. “Our core team of Steven Porter, Norbert Helmhold, Kim Logan, Mark Nilson and myself have been here since the early days,” he says. “Combined we have almost 100 years of experience with plastics and customer service. We service the industry but we create relationships that will be carried on to future productions. I like to think that if we don’t have it, we can get it quickly. If we can’t get it, we’ll find out who has it. Because in the end, customer satisfaction is what we strive for and I believe that is what we deliver.” ■

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QUESTION AND ANSWER

Going Away with Oscar winner Sam Mendes

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am Mendes won an Academy Award for directing his debut film, American Beauty. He recently released a fifth movie and can count a total of 17 Oscar nominations for the four previous films. The most recent of these, Revolutionary Road, which was released in December of 2008 was one of last year’s most acclaimed films and won Mendes’ wife, Kate Winslet, over a dozen awards. (She won the Oscar for another film, The Reader.)

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His latest film, Away We Go, was released in June and could be considered to be the final part of a trilogy on modern marriage. While American Beauty and Revolutionary Road’s couples could barely tolerate one another, the protagonists in Away We Go (The Office’s John Krasinski and Saturday Night Live alumna Maya Rudolph) are deeply devoted. In fact, much of the movie has elements of a traditional romantic comedy. However, as they tour North America looking for a place to raise their unborn child

they run into several couples who are less loving. Mendes talked to Reel West in Los Angeles in May. The first half of Away We Go is surprisingly funny and is somewhat reminiscent of romantic comedies. Then you change it up a bit when the couple meets up with friends and family whose lives are less content. Did you make that change on purpose? “Yes, and I think Away We Go is very much like American Beauty because if you stop American

Beauty after 30 minutes you would say ‘this is a comedy’ because it is. Then there is a pivotal scene in that movie and everything stops being funny and becomes more serious. I have always liked that shape but I like a gradual shift because if you put some of the early scenes against the last few scenes in this movie it would be a terrible clash. If you lead an audience there gently and calmly and with a sense of purpose then it becomes possible to make that shift and I think that works in the theatre as well.”

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It’s unusual for a film with a wide release to cast actors who are not known for making movies in the lead roles. How did your distributor, Focus Films, react when you informed them of your intentions? “I have always cast the people I wanted but I have never been told ‘cast who you want.’ Astonishingly I didn’t get a suggestion from Focus. It’s God’s honest truth. They never said ‘can you find a part for

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have time so I think that was healthy.” You made just three films in eight years and you have had two released in six months. You have said that you wanted to spend time with your family. What changed? “For one thing it took me awhile to finish work on Revolutionary Road so they weren’t literally right up against each other. If I had finished

“If you lead an audience there gently and calmly and with a sense of purpose then it becomes possible to make that shift...” – Director Sam Mendes on gradually shifting a film from from funny to serious

James Franco?’ It was amazing. So eventually I said ‘these are the people I have and they said ‘great, we love that. Bye.’ And that was it.” The writers (Dave Eggers and Vendela Vida) have said you asked them to change the ending of Away We Go. Did you tell them what you wanted? “No, not really. I said ‘what do you think of the ending?’ and they rewrote it. I didn’t tell them what it should be. I just said ‘do you think you should change it?’ They said yes and I was amazed that they pulled it off.” Revolutionary Road was an early favorite to win several Oscar nominations but it only won three. Was that a disappointment for you? “I didn’t entirely enjoy the process of releasing it because the pressure that goes on to things like that in awards season is disproportionate to the experience of the making of the movie. But once the dust settled and I had the thing in hand my memories became almost unbrokenly good memories. I had a great time making it and releasing it and I am very proud of it. The other thing was that I was directing a play at the time so I wasn’t sitting around and obsessing about it which was very helpful. I didn’t drive myself insane reading every review and response. I just didn’t

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Revolutionary Road as fast as I had finished Away We Go it would have come out the previous year. But yes, the kids are older now and I am through the period where I wanted to be with them during the day because they were home all day. Now they are in school and I don’t want to sit there twiddling my thumbs.” Four of the five films you have made have been modern stories and the only period piece (Road to Perdition) was set in the 20 th Century. However, you have been rumoured to be involved in another film, Middlemarch, based on the George Eliot 19th Century novel. Is that accurate? “It was one of those IMDb things where you spend months saying ‘no you shouldn’t have put it on.’ It was reported in Variety that I would love to develop the script and that is true and then it went from there to IMDb. I felt like doing it because I had become involved in a routine in that movies had become very prepared and organized and I thought ‘screw all that I am just going to do it and see how it turns out and operate on instinct.’ Sometimes it is good for me when one thing runs into another because you don’t over think it so there was a conscious effort to break that rhythm a bit. Because it was a small movie I felt that I could approach it like a play.” ■

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Prairie Lullaby By Ian Caddell

Kevin DeWalt may be one of Canada’s most prolific film and television producers, but it took him 23 years of working in his chosen career before he was able to make a movie that reflected the aspirations of his youth. It was music and not film that had inspired DeWalt when he was growing up in Saskatchewan. Before he founded Minds Eye, the company through which DeWalt has produced dozens of productions including the Gemini winning mini-series The Englishman’s Boy, he had planned to devote his life to his music. 16

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DeWalt was enrolled in the music program at the University of Regina. He plays piano and was a voice major. So when French producer Jean-Charles Levy approached him about coproducing a film called Lullaby for Pi that told a love story through the use of original music it seemed like a perfect fit. “I have a deep passion for music,” he says, “so having a project that used completely original music as a storyline, one that revolved around someone who has given up music because he has lost the love of his life, was very interesting for me as a filmmaker. The idea of getting your life back together and getting your emotions together and allowing yourself to bring music back into your life really resonated with me. I had worked with Jean-Charles on a movie called Walled In and we had wanted to work together again so it just made a lot of sense to make this movie.” The script that Paris-based writer/director Benoit Phillippon brought to Levy tells an unusual love story. It stars British actor Rupert Friend as Sam, a promising musician who has lost his passion for jazz following the death of his wife. He has become a recluse in a rundown hotel, with only the hotel manager (Forest Whitaker) as a friend. His last chance for happiness may be the mysterious girl (Clémence Poésy) who has camped out in the hotel room’s bathroom. Levy says that although he could see that there were odd elements to the characters and the plot he could also see, as DeWalt had, that there were relatable aspects in the screenplay. “What was great about the script,” he says, “was that while it is a very unique world and environment that Benoit has described, at the same time it is a great love story that examines whether you have a second chance to love once you have lost your first love. It is a universal theme, which is why I liked it. I also liked the way he weaved in music elements. I felt the way he brought in the jazz element was really very interesting and I thought it was also interesting that before doing anything he came up with a storyboard and a very detailed presentation of the musical references he had. Benoit has a vision of what he wants to do and despite being a first time director everything was very clear. The script was very good and we all liked it.” REEL WEST JULY/AUGUST 2009

Although the script is set in New York and Phillppon and Levy are French, Levy’s experience working on Walled In with Minds Eye had been memorable enough that he felt he could easily go back to western Canada to work with DeWalt. This time they worked in both Winnipeg and Regina with the studio work done in the Saskatchewan capital and the exteriors shot in Winnipeg’s Exchange District. “Walled In had gone extremely well,” he says. “So since there was an opportunity to do this movie in Canada I made a call to Kevin and asked him to be our partner. The first time we came (for Walled In) I was surprised at the quality of the crew that works with Kevin. It is a family who know each other and they work well together and they are very experienced and very talented. I think they are very motivated because they mostly do television (in Regina.) So when movies come in they are very enthusiastic and they do very good work and that really impressed me.” DeWalt admits he had some concerns about casting. Since the film is set in an American city and tells the story of the making of a musical it required a multicultural cast. He knew that neither Regina nor Winnipeg had an abundance of actors who could fit with the script but says that his casting director, Regina-based Carmen Kotyk, worked miracles and brought actors from every city in the country in order to fit the movie’s needs. . “There are a lot of secondary roles and supporting roles in this film so the challenge for Carmen was to find Canadian actors who could dance and sing and, for the most part, are black. We had many big scenes in Regina with big audiences and half that audience had to be multicultural. You needed black and Hispanic audience members. So casting wise it was a huge challenge for her and she came through with amazing quality.” DeWalt is so confident in the film and its ability to find an audience that he isn’t particularly concerned about having it ready for this year’s Toronto International Film Festival. He says that unlike most movies, the filmmakers didn’t go looking for a Canadian distributor before they made it. “We are confident enough that Minds Eye has kept Canadian rights,” he 17


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they would be in serious trouble. says. “Normally it would be suicide to produce a film in this country and not “I think it’s a very tough assignment for a young actor like Rupert, who is have Canadian distribution rights locked in but I really think we will be just in his 20s, and is in the forefront of this film in terms of acting to also be exfine. We won’t be ready for Toronto but more than likely we will be at either pected to play the piano despite the fact that he has no training as a musician,” Berlin or Cannes. I am not sure we will do Sundance because it is not a Sunsays DeWalt. “The fact that he was able to come into the movie and pull it off dance movie. It is a very commercial film and I think based on the fact we have was remarkable. Obviously we were worried about it until he got here bea very hot upcoming director, Berlin or Cannes might be the best place to be.” cause at the end of the day if he couldn’t perform we didn’t have a movie. It The script attracted several hot actors. Poésy won praise for her performdidn’t matter how good the rest of the acting was or the relationship between ance in the critically acclaimed In Bruges while Whitaker is a recent Oscar our leads. If the music didn’t work the movie wouldn’t work. So it was quite winner. DeWalt says that being able to bring in The Last King of Scotland star was a major coup that will help the movie immensely when it goes out to distributors. “From my perspective, having someone of that stature who has a reputation of choosing very interesting movies and has a very good track record in terms of picking projects that do well adds real credibility to the movie. I think that when he came on board it took things to a whole Kevin Dewalt, on casting Rupert Friend for the lead, despite the fact he had no musical training other level. That challenged us as producers to deliver a high quality of movie on a Canadian budget which gratifying. In fact I was blown away as was Jean-Charles the first time we saw is always a great motivator. I was particularly thrilled since he actually commithim perform. It was so natural. We both came to the conclusion that the guy ted after we had been shooting. So he got involved based on what he had been could make it singing and performing and we have no doubt that when the shown of the film.” CD with our original music comes out he will be considered to be a star just While he is happy with the other actors, it is Rupert Friend for whom Deon the basis of the music.” Walt reserves the most praise. Friend, who is perhaps best known for period Phillippon agrees. “It was a real collaboration from the moment that Rupieces like The Young Victoria and The Boy in the Striped Pajamas was cast pert received the script,” he says. “He had a lot of ideas and brought a lot of by Phillippon even though he was aware that he had no training as a musiquestions about the why and how in terms of creating the final shape of the cian. DeWalt says he and Levy knew that if Friend was the wrong choice

“We were worried about it until he got here because at the end of the day if he couldn’t perform, we wouldn’t have a movie... If the music didn’t work, the movie wouldn’t work.” -

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character. That was important because only Rupert could have brought this character to life.” Phillipon was also convinced that he had the right female lead in Poésy whom he had seen in In Bruges. He says that when he watched the movie he knew that he had to have her in his own film. Then he got lucky when she could see things in the character that she could relate to. “I was totally blown away by her performance in In Bruges,” he says. “She was surprised when she got the script because there are a lot of things about that character that mirror her own qualities and it was magic in a way because she became the character from a strong base of her own personality.” Phillippon hadn’t done much in film, when he wrote his script, but he knew the right people. One of them was Frédérique Dumas-Zajdela, who won an Oscar producing the 2002 Best Foreign Language Film Oscar winner No Man’s Land. More recently she had become a senior executive in a leading French telecommunications and media company, Orange. Levy says that while he wouldn’t usually spend too much time looking at scripts from inexperienced writer/directors, Dumas’ recommendation came with the offer that Orange might provide funding for the picture if Levy made the movie. That was enough to encourage Levy to read the script. “She called me and said ‘there is this French director I have been developing a relationship with who has developed a script and I would like you to read it. If you are interested I would like to finance the movie through Orange.’ I met with him and I was impressed by him and I think she was absolutely right.” Phillippon says that while his own background in music is not particularly strong, he could see that the film would need something to keep the audience interested while they were watching a movie in which there is almost no physical contact between the two protagonists. “You have this hotel room and these two people separated by a door, with a girl in a bathroom and a man inside the room. I wanted to have them know each other without seeing each other. So I could see it would be a great challenge to try and find a way to tell the story and to raise the emoREEL WEST JULY/AUGUST 2009

tions of the two characters without having to deal with a physical relationship. I felt that if we could bring in music it would work. It was very important to me not just to have a normal story but to be able to tell the story through the sets and the camera and visuals. It is not a normal film because everything works like a fable or a tale. So it was important to use poetic elements and music to tell the story.” Phillippon came to his directing debut with the understanding that almost everyone he would be working with would have more experience than himself. He says that rather than being particularly sensitive about the script or his directorial vision, he welcomed collaboration and input from everyone involved in the making of the movie. “From the moment that you get out of your room with your script in your hand and you decide to involve other people in the process of turning it into a movie everything is a surprise. I always told everyone ‘it is not my film. It is our film from now on.’ I really feel as though everyone brings something to the film from the director of photography to hair and makeup and the actors. They all bring something in terms of the way they interpret the script so we built everything together. And there were a lot of surprises. If there was something that happened that was not what I had in mind I would correct it but most of the time it was something different and better in a way. It was always about crossing over from what I had in mind to what we could create together.” One of the biggest surprises for Phillippon was the way his script was interpreted by the cast and crew. He says that when he arrived in Regina he brought a screenplay but when he left he had a movie. “When you write a script you picture a place and then the production designer starts to shape things and that is true with everything. When an actor comes along it is not exactly what you pictured because on paper it is still a fictional character and then they say the dialogue and it sounds different and it takes a shape that could only happen with that actor. And it is like that with everything. I would say that I brought the skeleton and everyone else brought the flesh and the skin and then it became a collectively designed body.” ■ 19


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By Ian Caddell

Behind the scenes of Angels & Demons and Tropic Thunder, photos courtesy of CIS Vancouver

competitiveeffects It wasn’t that long ago that post-production in general and digital effects in particular were considered to be the least likely components of a film to be completed in Vancouver. The television series and movies that shot here would use LA-based post companies because they were bigger, faster and had the connections and credits that make companies competitive. Times have changed... Vancouver post production houses are now doing most of the post and effects work for locally shot television series and are adding much of the film work to their resumes. Perhaps more importantly, other doors once thought to be tightly closed are beginning to open. Thanks to an ambitious tax credit and blessings from studios and highly respected filmmakers, local companies are being invited to bid on work done far from the city at the edge of the rainforest. In fact, they are working in several countries and are helping to make some of the most prestigious films of the era. Leading the charge is CIS Vancouver, formerly Rainmaker Visual Effects. The Deluxe-owned company has been working in the US and Europe and will be headed to South Africa soon to start work on Clint Eastwood’s Invictus (aka The Human Factor), the story of the fall of Apartheid and Nelson Mandela’s rise to power. They recently completed work on Ron Howard’s Angels & Demons and CIS visual effects supervisors also have Ben Stiller’s Tropic Thunder and Eastwood’s Changeling, among other films, on their resumes. The company’s senior vice president and general manager, Dennis Hoffman, says that the people who make the decisions on visual effects for films are finding it increasingly easier to make a case for bringing CIS into their projects. “I think Vancouver as a territory is inclined to explode as a go-to territory for the tent pole pictures for the studios in Los Angeles,” he says. “Some of the stuff we have done and some of the stuff other studios here have done has the studios looking to Vancouver as an alternative to London which has become the first stop for big pictures. What got Vancouver to this step right now where we are doing these films was the establishment of a tax credit for the visual effects side. I think it was the live action tax credits that initiated the building of the expertise of the local crews and now we have the best crews in the world and the studios are shooting here all the time. When they added the DAVE credit (the 2003 Digital Animation or Visual Effects credit) it made studios look at Vancouver as an area to bring visual effects. And because you don’t have to shoot up here to receive the credit, when the

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facility is appropriate to do the work the studios consider us.” Hoffman moved to Rainmaker Visual Effects a year prior to its January, 2008 acquisition by CIS. He held similar positions at several companies including Digital Domain and Cinesite. He says Rainmaker’s reputation paved the way for CIS. “Rainmaker had a long history of working in the television industry up here and it was quite robust during the 1990s. Eventually they started looking for opportunities to build the capability of doing feature film work. It takes time and you have to be strategic in going after projects and building levels of confidence with the studios. They took on some early projects like Garfield and Lost Boys and Good Boy and although they were small that work started to build the experience that was needed.” A few years ago, Rainmaker took a big step towards being a player in the visual effects world when it opened a facility in London. That allowed it to work on The Da Vinci Code and to establish a relationship with one of the most prolific directors in Hollywood, Ron Howard. Rainmaker moved some of its key people to London to work on the film. Hoffman says the move brought the company to a different level in terms of its reputation with USbased studios. “They (the studios) said ‘that is great work and they (Rainmaker) are really committed,’ which helped us to progress in terms of building our relationship with them. That directly linked us to a number of different projects with that studio (Sony Pictures) including Vantage Point. We were in a position to do Angels & Demons because we were pushing our technology and our creativity and creating a comfort level for studios. We were able to bring work to this facility because it is always about delivering high quality at a good price on time.” The tools and the people were there but one element was missing: the kind of financing that allows companies to keep up with the technology. Hoffman says that when Deluxe came along and purchased the company it brought the final component with it.

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“The studios knew we had a good exchange rate but they were hesitant to give us anything because they knew Rainmaker only as a television shop and Vancouver was very much known as a television city.” - Executive producer Shauna Bryan on overcoming a classic Hollywood prejudice “We were building our capability to take on more challenging work but we also needed capital to reinvest in ourselves to build out the infrastructure that, for a series of reasons, had gotten old. One of the challenges in visual effects itself is that it needs a constant recapitalization. Equipment goes out of date before you get it in the door. Deluxe has been very good at giving us the capital and we now have the opportunities to basically rebuild our infrastructure. That allows us to put more effort into being creative and to solve visual effects problems for our clients.” James Dowdeswell, the head of the company’s virtual studio, agrees. “Visual effects are always leading edge so you have to constantly renew your technology,” he says. “That means you are always looking for a budget that has an attachment of capital expenditure each year. It is not always that you get to the New Year and know what the year is going to look like. You can’t say ‘let’s allocate so much to rendering.’ It’s a bit of a guessing game. It is the nature of our business and I think every company deals with that in the same fashion.” To become a respected leader in visual effects work Rainmaker and, later, CIS, had to overcome a classic Hollywood prejudice. Like actors who are typecast in roles after being successful in one particular kind of film, the company had to show that they could do more than television. Executive producer Shauna Bryan says the tax credit helped take it in the right direction but says that working on The Da Vinci Code, which occurred when they were still known as Rainmaker, was a big boost to its fortunes. “When the DAVE tax credit was introduced we had open access to international projects. The studios knew that we had a good exchange rate but they were hesitant to give us anything because they knew Rainmaker only as a television shop and Vancouver was very much known as a television city. You had all the studios sitting back and watching to see what would happen but it wasn’t driven by monetary reasons. They didn’t just say ‘let’s go there because it is going to be cheaper.’ When we worked on The Da Vinci Code, the sequence had to be done in London. Once we had done that it made the studios sit up and take notice. Then they started looking at our facility to do more.” Mark Breakspear says that breaking away from being seen as a television effects company was a benchmark for the company. Breakspear, who has been a visual effects supervisor for several movies and TV shows, including Angels & Demons, says that while no one should downplay the work that goes into television visual effects, there is a big difference for audiences in terms of the time and money invested in a movie. “If you create visual effects for television you learn to be a certain kind of artist,” he says. “You have to be very talented and you get to do work very fast and you learn how to build something so that it holds up. You learn what people who watch TV shows expect and what they will put up with. Someone watching TV will say ‘I enjoyed the effects and they were part of the story.’ Their expectations are at a certain level. But if you pay a bunch of money to see a movie your expectation instantaneously goes up. What you end up with in terms of television are visual effects people who have a long REEL WEST JULY/AUGUST 2009

list of credits but aren’t used to thinking photographically for film. Although I know that you can push the right buttons for the software I don’t know if you know how to look at something from a critical eye. A lot of people do make the transition but some people are very good at doing TV work and others are just good at film work. When I have done TV we have had people coming in from the film world where they have done movies like Lord of the Rings. We have thought ‘wow we have a compositor from ILM (International Light and Magic) and we are so lucky.’ But they walk in and we will say ‘here is the green screen, go for it’ and they will say where is the ‘do it’ button? Someone else did that job and my job was to pull the lever.’” One of the key elements of the city’s emergence as a post production centre has been collaboration. The local companies have been competitive but have also supplied needed support when it would appear that needs might not be met by a small market. Dowdeswell says that his own company’s success can be attributed to the support it has received from other local visual effects suppliers. “There are about eight or nine small visual effects companies here,” he says. “Most of us are friends and we have all always felt that their success is our success so there is a lot of collaboration. When we are ready to release compositors we will tell them and they will pluck them up so that the education and experience stays in Vancouver. I think that in some ways we almost complement each other. We will make efforts to pitch two or three facilities together. In fact we sell the packages that way. There are a lot of smart people in Vancouver.” Breakspear has been all over the world working his magic on films and television sets but says that the Vancouver crews have become competitive. He says that while he often works with the people who are assigned to a film by the producers, he feels comfortable bringing his own people with him. “I take people from here occasionally and I will also hire certain positions on location. When we went to Hawaii for Tropic Thunder I took our modeller for the helicopter effects. I took people to Rome for Angels & Demons because I realized that so much of our success on The Da Vinci Code was due to the fact everyone had knowledge of what the space we worked in was like. It’s funny though because when you take people to a film set they will never want you to take them again. In Hawaii we would get up at 5 am and go into the middle of the jungle and work all day and come home at midnight and go to bed. That was the shoot for us. They could have shot it anywhere in terms of what we do. You can’t take everyone but it’s good to take key people who are able to communicate in that environment.” Vancouver isn’t the only city with proven effects shops, of course. There are several competitive companies in most major markets. And in an era in which almost every film needs at least a few scenes to be created in a computer, the competition for big movies is fierce. Shauna Bryan says that when the company set out to get work on Angels & Demons, they were aware they were being considered for some of the biggest scenes in the film but that the inclination is to think long term. As a result, there was some reluctance to cont. on page 28 move too quickly. 23


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Cole’s Notes Diary by Richard de Klerk

Vancouver actor Richard de Klerk started acting when he was 14 and eventually made the move to Los Angeles. He keeps busy in both markets and has produced two films and directed another. In his diary, he looks back at the making of Carl Bessai’s Cole, in which de Klerk plays the title role of a 21 year old who has to protect his sister’s son from her boyfriend, manage the family gas station and care for his mother. The film was shot in Vancouver and Lytton, BC last year and will be ready for the fall film festivals. 24

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January, 2008 I am talking to my agent Dylan Collingwood and he says he’s optioned a great script by a young, talented Vancouver Film School grad, Adam Zang. Dylan says I am perfect for the lead. He tells me he’s already pitched it for some time with no success, but he’s sure it will happen soon. It’s a character-driven drama and must stand not only on the strength of the director, but each actor’s ability to bring something special to their character. They already have a great casting director lined up in Melissa Perry whom I’ve known for years. For Dylan and his producing partner, stunt coordinator Kimani Smith, it will be their first project under their newly formed production company Titlecard Pictures. I love the script. Cole is different from any role I have ever played so I decide to pitch it to the other shareholders in my production company, Rampart Films. They also love the script. Early March Jason James of Resonance Films, an experienced producer, is on board and he gets experienced director Carl Bessai interested in the project. Awesome! I have wanted to work with Carl since meeting him at the Whistler Film Festival in December of 2004. He is so talented and not only directs but is his own director of photography and camera operator. His unique style allows freedom for actors to “explore the space.” Early April We do a read-through with the tentative cast and Adam who cheerfully goes back to work to do a rewrite/polish with all of our notes. May 1 The Cole production office opens and crewing up begins. I’m still in LA but eager to fly back. Location scouting is well underway. May 5 I receive the polished script and am very happy with the changes. He’s pared down the number of characters and given more scope to others. Mid May Kevin Eastwood of Optic Nerve is officially on board as line producer. REEL WEST JULY/AUGUST 2009

May 15 I’m flying in to Vancouver from LA today to start prep. I’m excited. I had an earlier meeting with Carl that included a great conversation about my character. I’m planning to hang out with my on-screen sister, Maybelline (Sonja Bennett), her son, Rocket (Jack Forrester) and my best friend, Frogger (Michael Eisner) in order to get a real sense of familiarity. Upon arrival at my folks’ house I discover that our dog Greta, a German Shepherd I have had for over half of my life, is dying. She does not last the night. Through my grief I decide a perfect tribute to her is to model a part of my character after her. She always had this cute endearing quality of walking so humbly, almost unsure of herself. I think this is so perfect for Cole, as although he is talented he is coming to the big city for the first time and is feeling totally out of his element. Greta’s humble walk is perfect to convey this sense of awkwardness and I think it’s a fitting way to honour my puppy. May 19 Today I take Michael Eisner on a drive to Lytton, the place our characters call home. I’ve already been there on my own and have an initial sense of this unique town which is so isolated and so beautiful, nestled between the mountains at the junction where the blue green waters of the Thompson River meet the turbid brown flow of the Fraser. The three hour drive gives us a chance to get acquainted. Michael is a super cool guy. We have only met once before: at the initial read-through. After an hour of getting to know each other we spend the rest of the drive in comfortable silence, taking in the world around us as we get closer to the isolation and beauty of the Lytton area. It strikes me that there are few friendships that are extremely comfortable in almost complete silence. We arrive at about 10 AM, take a walk around and talk to a few locals. The townspeople are very friendly and excited about our movie coming to shoot here. We even take a look at our set, a gas station/house 25


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“...It’s a tradition that I have practiced my entire career, but tonight, shivering in the cold with nipples harder than a Batman costume I kind of wish I could take a small reprieve from that practice” - on shaking the hands of the crew after shooting an outdoor swimming scene

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combo that was built for the Sean Penn film The Pledge. It’s perfect. Then we drive down the road to the small beach between the two rivers and break out the golf clubs, spending the next couple of hours hitting golf balls and trying to get them across the river. It doesn’t work. After about 100 balls we come close to hitting a couple of logs floating down river. I miss hit the last ball and it goes skidding across the river and hits a log floating down stream. Michael looks at me and laughs and says “nobody will believe this when we tell them!!!” May 20 I get to hang out with my character’s little nephew today. Carl suggested I should get to know him so he’s comfortable with me, because Jack Forrester, who plays Rocket, is a real shy kid when you first meet him. It’s good times! Sonja joins us for awhile and then Jack and I go to the park across the street and play some football. He really starts to open up and reminds me of me when I was a kid. It’s going to be fun acting with him. May 25 It’s the day before principal photography and I am actually quite at ease, not nervous but excited. I end up spending the day much the same way I have done for a lot of my career: driving around the city thinking about the coming days. I also go to the driving range out at UBC to practice my swing. I don’t want to look like a schmuck when I am golfing into the river on the day. In the evening I write the story that I will read aloud to the class in the film. It’s a short story and I end up writing 10 pages. Not sure where it all came from but I realize that I’m actually excited to read this story aloud tomorrow. May 26 The first day of shooting. Carl starts the day, by saying “good luck everyone and may the critics not pan us!” The first scene up is me taking a liking to Serafina (Kandyse McClure). I just met her last week. She is so lovely, such beautiful eyes. It won’t be tough to fall for this girl. This scene is a great starting scene for me as I don’t have any lines. It’s all looks and subtle glances. It breezes by and before I know it the next scene is up and it’s time for me to read my story aloud to the class. I ask Carl if I can read a couple of pages just for “giggles” for the first take. He agrees. It’s now that the nerves kick in a little. A lot of these people have never worked with me and I’m eager to get off to a great start. Stephen E. Miller plays my professor and he is such an awesome actor. We do a couple of takes and we’re off! The day goes incredibly well. It’s capped off wonderfully when Jason James comes up to me and says “I had no real idea of you before we started this but you really impressed me today.” May 27 It’s kind of one of those Vancouver days where the weather changes every five minutes. We are ploughing through scenes and I know we are getting some great stuff. Jack comes in just before lunch and we block the scene in the park where Serafina sees just how much I love my bi-racial nephew. I’m already falling fast for this girl at this point in the story. We start to shoot a couple of takes before lunch. Everyone’s worst fear about little Jack was that he would be too shy but it’s the opposite. After the first take I have to tell him not to look into the camera because if he does he’ll go blind. Everyone kind of holds their breath when I say that but Jack knows I am joking. He gets the point. Lunch time and I’m walking to the catering truck with Jack with my cozy coat on, and a bird does his business on me. Jack finds this hilarious. I kind of do too. Besides, it’s good luck, right? After lunch we plan to go into coverage of the scene, but the light has changed and Jack’s blood sugar level has also changed. Hyper Jack has arrived. Jack is so rambunctious and I have all I can do to keep him on task. Carl explained to me earlier in the day that I had to be the main liaison with Jack because I have taken the time and he’s familiar with me. The nice thing about acting with a kid who has oodles of energy is that they don’t necessarily stick to what’s scripted. Being someone who loves to throw away a script sometimes I am more than happy to follow his lead and adlib a little. The scene finishes and as drained as Kandyse and I both are we aren’t done yet. We go and shoot the scene in the film where we have our first kiss. It’s about 5 degrees Celsius but bright sunshine, so in between takes I spend my time listening to the direction with my arms around Kandyse in an attempt to keep her warm. The first kiss gave me butterflies even though we both were starting to get cold runny noses. We’re shooting during magic hour so it looks wonderful and really accentuates the color of her eyes. Joecy Shepherd, the script supervisor, tells me that Kandys’s heel popped up on some takes. Awesome. May 29 We are shooting at my parents’ house today. The house where I spent my teen years is standing in for Serafina’s house. Tonight is the big make-out scene in the pool. It’s cold again and we’re shooting that scene at night, but the pool has been prepped so we won’t freeze. The water is more like a warm bathtub and our gaffer, Prem Marimuthu, has lit the scene so

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that it looks enchanting. I show up at Serafina’s house all distressed from saving my on screen Mom (Rebecca Jenkins) from getting hit by a car for the umpteenth time. Serafina sits with me by the pool with our feet dangling in the water. She invites me in. I say no and she playfully throws me in. The air is electric and the scene is beautiful. We move on to the hot and heavy stuff toward the end of the scene and Colin Leadly, our 1st AD, calls for a closed set. The closed set consists of almost every person on the crew and my whole family - including my grandparents who live in the basement of the house – standing behind the monitor and watching. Kandyse asks me if it weirds me out having my whole family watching me make out on the screen. “Not really” I say. The scene goes well, and when we’re done I get out of the pool with my soaking wet jeans on and no shirt and walk around to the crew and shake all of their hands. It’s a tradition that I have practiced my entire career, but tonight, shivering in the cold with nipples harder than a Batman costume I kind of wish I could take a small reprieve from that practice. June 1 We have finished the first week of shooting in Vancouver. It went incredibly well and I’m excited to make my way up to Lytton for the long haul. I’ll be spending two weeks there while shooting the rest of the film. I’m bringing my bike up so that I can bike to set in the morning. June 4 Today is probably one of the biggest days emotionally for me. It’s the day of a huge fight with Bobby (Chad Willett), my on-screen sister’s boyfriend, and the day that I save my mother from being hit by a car. Chad and I are practicing the fight choreography, and it comes time for the first take. We are shooting this whole scene in sequence from tackle to struggle to me pummelling his face. Chad is a pretty tall guy at about 6’3” and I’m about 5’11” so the fight has to be especially brutal for it to be believable. I always want to do my own stunts but I have a history of being hit. A couple of years ago I had my nose semi-separated from the rest of my face by a kick to the head. Before that, on one of my first films as a kid, I was knocked out in rehearsal from a punch that connected. I get so wrapped up I never think about risks. I just like to go for it. Besides those two were freak accidents anyway. Right? I trust the choreography. So we start the fight. On the first take I tackle Chad, and hear a loud crunch in my shoulder. It hurts like hell and the stunt coordinator tells me we won’t do any more tackles. I ask Carl “did we get it?” He hesitates so I start to warm up my shoulder for another take. I tell him “I can always ice it later. Let’s go!” So we do a couple more takes and move on to the struggle. On the first take Chad and I are wrestling around and his collar-bone goes into my face and one of my bottom teeth slices my lip open. Carl doesn’t even notice that the blood pouring out of my mouth is mine. Both he and Chad think its fake blood and ask where I got it not realizing that I really am bleeding here. I head to the hospital two minutes away and the ER doc is Dr. de Klerk. Wow, really? I figure this has to be a good sign. He breaks out the anaesthetic to freeze my lip. I explain that if I can’t feel my lip I can’t talk and please just stitch it up without anything so I can go back to work. He asks me if I am sure and warns me it will hurt. I tell him to go ahead, bracing myself for the pain. So he proceeds to put four fairly excruciating stitches in my mouth, and I go back to work. Good thing I was only gone for about half an hour. We didn’t miss much time. We finish the fight with me icing my lip between takes. Later in the day I can tell something isn’t right and my suspicion is confirmed: my stitches have come loose. So I go back to the hospital to get it fixed but Dr. de Klerk is noticeably absent, MC’ing a concert in another town half an hour down the road. The nurse tells me I have to wait till he is done. I seriously can’t believe it. Luckily the good doctor drives back and stitches me up once again. I go back to work and the big emotional scene of the day is up and I’m all tears, bawling my eyes out even between takes. I don’t ever plan to cry in a scene. It just comes naturally. I’m amazed as we finish the day that we actually got everything done. I’m back in my hotel room and talk to my family on the phone. Then I pass out with an ice pack on my face. June5 My lips look like the bottom half of Angelina Jolie’s. Between takes I am icing but the swelling won’t go down. I’m beginning to think I’m going to look like I have collagen injections through half of the film. June 7 B-Roll Day - We already had a great B-Roll day in Vancouver and now Carl, Jason, Steve Deneault (the 2nd camera operator) and I are gallivanting around Lytton, getting great shots. I’m going back to Vancouver tonight for the rest of the long weekend for some “r and r.” June 9 I decide to go back to Lytton a day early. I feel strangely out of place in Vancouver. I never thought that I would feel like a fish out of water in a city. June 10 Another B-roll day goes great. Carl and Jason and cont. on page 28

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Competitive Effects cont. from page 22

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“We were very much in the running to do the largest part but for us it is not so much about doing the biggest part, it is about performing well and performing strongly so we can choose the type of work we want to do. Maybe then we will take on larger portions of a show but we have gotten really good at being selective and we are very realistic about what we can take on. We are also good at being forthright with the studios and everyone else and they in turn have been very appreciative of that. We talked about working on a larger sequence on Angels & Demons but because of the type of the work and the schedule we said we would rather not do it even though they liked the test work we had done.” Hoffman says that CIS’s long term ambitions may hold it back for the short term. He says, however, that if the company intends to become a leader in the realm of visual effects it needs to continue to build its reputation and its capabilities. “One of our greatest ambitions is to bring people back to us because we exceed expectations and we deliver what we say we will deliver. We are good people to work with because the whole process can be very stressful and there are changes and complications and by having an open dialogue with the clients you are building a reputation and a partnership that they value and it comes back in spades. We built it (the company’s reputation) up from some of the work we did on Vantage Point and some of the work we did on Changeling with Clint Eastwood and now we are working on (Invictus) which takes that massive character stuff and brings it to the next level. We felt we were in a good place to do that. Sometimes you have to make tough decisions in terms of what you take and what you don’t take to build your facility properly and to build on that reputation” Breakspear agrees that taking things slowly is a fact of life if you are intending to build on your successes. He says that while he feels that the company may be ready to move on and do the lion’s share of effects on films, it needs to have patience and understand that there are both advantages and disadvantages of being in a smaller market. He says that the time for the city’s effects houses and his own company will come eventually and they need to be ready to accept the responsibility. “The fact of the matter is in nature we are the Serengeti, one of the small ponds that doesn’t get fed other than one time during the rainy season,” he says. “So everything that lives in that pond had better be good at survival because we don’t have a Zambezi (River) going through it to fill us up. How do we get a piece of the business if everyone is doing movies in London and LA and we are in Vancouver? We have to give the company a fighting chance in our industry. Sometimes we get it right and it’s not just about talking about our successes. It’s looking at our screw-ups and trying to improve. This company is full of people from all over the world as are most visual effects companies but the difference is if you are a company in LA you can look across the street and see a studio. We can’t do that here but we do have DAVE and we have to think ‘will they come up here because we are cheap or is it the quality of work?’ My guess is it will always be a blend of money and creativity woven together. ”■

Coles Notes cont. from previous page I head up to Ashcroft and through the tunnels by Hells Gate. My stitches finally fall out. June 11 The road trip with Michael really helped. I feel so comfortable with him and we both make each other laugh a lot. It’s also the day that Serafina comes to Frogger’s house and Bobby (Chad Willett) spoils the party. It’s a hugely emotional day and thankfully my lip has gotten quite a bit better. June 14 It’s the last day of shooting and I’m sad it’s done. I’m going to miss these people and this place. October 29 ADR today with Jack. In total I have 22 pages of lines to record. ADR can be quite tedious but I am having a great time having Carl in the studio with me, a luxury you don’t usually get as an actor. November 4 I’m starting on Robin Hood - Beyond Sherwood with Peter DeLuise directing. The day goes great and then I make my way from Maple Ridge to Technicolor downtown to watch the color correction on Cole. I have been extremely lucky that after we wrapped I have been really involved in the post. Carl and Jason took me under their respective wings during the whole post process. December 17 Cast and crew screening of the 35mm print at District 319. The film turned out incredibly well. It’s a lovely heart warming film. It’s the first time I have been able to sit through a film with me in it and actually be entertained. This has been one incredible experience! ■

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LEGAL BRIEFS

Legal consideration for websites new challenge for producers In previous columns I’ve looked at the emerging role of the Internet in film and television distribution, noting how digital channels allow better access to the global audience while at the same time creating new legal considerations for producers. By the same token, websites are now a key component of most promotional strategies. Blogs, chatrooms, social networking, interactive games and bonus footage can generate consumer interest, and often make the site a destination in and of itself. To the extent producers develop websites for their programs, they should be mindful of the legal considerations that are unique to interactive and content-rich websites. If (you have a specific domain name in mind, don’t put off purchasing it if it’s still available. If you find a cyber-squatter has already staked a claim to the perfect domain, legal remedies may be available through organizations like ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) and CIRA (Canadian Internet Registration Authority.) Arbitrating a domain dispute can be costly and time-consuming, but if the domain is critical to your strategy, there are alternatives to paying a cybersquatter’s ransom. If your site includes production stills or footage, then you must ensure that your performer agreements, music licenses and other releases grant you sufficient rights to include their subjects online. Most standardform agreements will give you enough rights to promote your project, but to the extent you include behind-the-scenes or blooper footage, or content that could be deemed a stand-alone production (i.e. a webisode), then you should consider additional language to cover these rights. If you are generating any revenue relating to footage on the site, for example through subscription fees or advertisements, then you may be liable for residual or reuse fees if any union or guild members are involved. Allowing users to contribute to your site can be a great way to encourage repeat visits and generate word of mouth (or keyboard) interest in your project. These benefits must be weighed against the time and expense of moderating user contributions, or

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the risk of permitting un-moderated content on your site. Be mindful that, depending on the jurisdiction, website owners may be liable for user-generated content on their site, including defamatory content, and copyright and trademark infringement. Producers interested in creating a community of fans may want to employ social networking technologies, which have the potential to create a loyal, long-term and connected audience. Privacy laws vary between provinces, states and countries, and they continue to evolve, so you are advised to implement a privacy policy that ensures the security of user’s personal information and private data. To the extent user email addresses are collected for email blasts, ensure that “unsubscribe” options are available so you aren’t caught on the wrong side of anti-spam legislation. Your website’s terms of use and copyright notice may be the least-read part of your website, but it is the most critical from a legal perspective. It serves as notice to your site’s visitors of your policies regarding their contributions, their personal and contact information, and the ownership of the site’s contents and copyrights. Should any disputes arise between you and a user of your site, the terms of use may be used to show what the user is deemed to have agreed to by signing up and using your site. An age verification system is recommended to ensure that each of your users has the legal capacity to agree to the terms of use. When obtaining Errors & Omissions insurance, you will want to ensure that coverage extends to your website, and depending on the level of content and interactivity of your site, you should be aware of any elements that are excluded from coverage. Your policy will probably cover the use of production stills and clips, but it is much less likely to cover legal issues arising from user contributions. By taking a proactive approach to the issues described above, you can minimize the legal risks of implementing social, interactive and content-rich websites to publicize and promote your productions. Kyle Fogden joined Roberts & Stahl in 2003. His practice focuses on entertainment and intellectual property law.

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FINAL EDIT phy Rockie went to the NFB’s Paris 1919, the Popular Science & Technology Rockie went to Clearwater Media’s Inuit Odyssey and CBC’s Hockey Day in Canada won the Sports Entertainment Rockie. The United Kingdom led all countries with nine Rockies while Canada won five, the United States won three, France won two and Sweden and The Philippines won one Rockie each. “The exceptional quality of the 23 category winners once again shows the worldwide power of attraction of the Banff World TV Festival” said Georges Leclere, the director of the awards competition. “We are honored to present winners with the ‘Rockie,’ the trophy that truly inspires excellence in international television and represents a great generation of promising producers and directors.” The Festival received 800 entries with the 130 category nominees representing 29 countries.

CTF Supporting Regions

CBC’S HOCKEY DAY IN CANADA WON THE ROCKIE FOR SPORTS ENTERTAINMENT

Anaid dines out Anaid Productions, which has offices in Edmonton and Vancouver, won the Lifestyle & Information Program Rockie at the recent Banff Television Festival. The company won the award for an episode of its

series Family Restaurant: The Quons, which is seen on Canada’s Food Network. Four other Canadian shows won Rockies. Bravo’s I Met the Walrus won the Animation Program Rockie while the History & Biogra-

The Canadian Television Fund (CTF) recently released highlights from its 2008-2009 fiscal year, which ended on March 31, 2009. A spokesperson said the CTF’s annual report will be available in fall 2009. CTF president Valerie Creighton said the $2 million Digital Media Pilot Program launched to “extraordinary demand,” with funds supporting 20 English and 10 French productions. She said the $5 million Production Incentive Pilot Program supported English production in Quebec and Atlantic Canada where volumes had

dropped significantly below historic averages. The incentive benefited 11 projects from Quebec and 16 projects from Atlantic Canada. “Over the past year, the CTF funded a greater number of productions through the disbursement of 12% more funding compared to the average of the four prior years,” she said. “Our streams of funding were expanded to support the industry’s move towards new media.” According to Creighton CTF also enhanced communication with its stakeholders by launching “interacTVity”, a monthly electronic newsletter.

“A” for RTNDA A Victoria station fared well when the Radio Television News Directors Association of Canada (RTNDA) announced the winners of the regional Edward R. Murrow Awards. ‘A’ British Columbia received a total of four awards for Investigative Reporting, Continuing Coverage, Videography and Writing in the international category for a small market. “These awards are a testament to the hard work and dedication of our entire team at ‘A’ News,” said A Channel news director Hudson Mack. “We are incredibly proud of this international recognition.” The station won its Investigative Reporting award for Police Chief Investigated, its Continuing Coverage award for Lindsay Buziak Murder, its Videography award for Tall Ships Sail from Port Angeles and its writing award for Homeless Ducklings. ■

Announcements and Appointments Negotiating producers from the CFTPA - BC Producers’ Branch and the AMPTP Canadian Affiliates have renewed agreements with the largest group of film and television employees in British Columbia. The balloting on the agreement resulted in the endorsement of the three-year pact. The agreement is effective June 7, 2009 through to March 2012… The UBC Film Production Alumni Association recently announced its sdvisory board. Members include editor Daria Ellerman, writer/directors Mina Shum, Lynne Stopkewich and Sturla Gunnarsson, writer Ian Weir, producers Cal Shumiatcher and Stephen Hegyes, Telefilm Canada’s Bill Hurst and directors of photography Greg Middleton and Brian Pearson…Veteran animation producer Catherine Winder has joined Rainmaker Entertainment as President. Winder was most recently at Lucasfilm Animation where she set-up the studio and produced the Cartoon Network series Star Wars: The Clone Wars, as well as the animated feature version which was released by Warner Bros… The company also announced that Kim Dent Wilder is being added to the management team as Senior Vice President of Production and Operations and that Tara Kemes will join Rainmaker as Manager of Talent Development. 30

REEL WEST JULY/AUGUST 2009


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ONFILM STEVE ASSELIN

“In any artistic endeavor, you have to have a foundation in order to explore. Film gives me the confidence to work more freely. I can look at the set with my eye and see what’s going to be on the film. Each story requires its own visual approach and design.… I try to shoot from the hip, to let my work come more from my feelings. My goal is always to create a movie that speaks for itself. When I can watch the film and go along with the story, then I feel that I have had a successful collaboration with my colleagues, and that I am making a connection with my work.” Steve Asselin was born and raised in Québec City, Québec, Canada. He studied cinema and literature and began his filmmaking career as a gofer at age 18. He shot many music videos and short films, and eventually photographed his first feature, Une jeune fille à la fenêtre (A Girl at the Window) at age 26 for director Francis Leclerc. Since then, his credits include dozens of television commercials, the short film Transparence, as well as the feature films Délivrez-moi, Borderline, and Un été sans point ni coup sûr (A No-Hit No-Run Summer). His work on the film Saints-Martyrs-des-Damnés was nominated for the Best Cinematography prize at the 2006 Jutra Awards, which honors achievements in Québecois filmmaking. [All these programs were shot on Kodak Motion Picture Film.] For an extended interview with Steve Asselin, visit www.kodak.com/go/onfilm. To order Kodak motion picture film, call (800) 621 - FILM (3456). www.kodak.ca © Kodak Canada Inc., 2009.

July - August 2009: Reel West Magazine  

Reel West Magazine is an award winning publication for the film and television industries in western Canada. Our magazine is published 6 tim...

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