Page 1

2013 Western M agazine Awards Finalist Winter 2014


Film, TV, online and Digital Production IN Western Canada


Sandy Wilson Bruce McCulloch Drone Strikes Strange Empire Shomi State & Trolls

wff 2014

Canadian Mail Publication Sales Agreement  Number: 40006834

Pretend we’re kissing Backcountry The Backward Class Mountain Men + more

PeteR Harvey

W h i s t l e r N at i v e R e t u r n s t o t h e B a c kc o u n t r y

Co nt e nts

Winter 2014

26 6

My American Cousin Turns 30

Sandy Wilson revisits the secret origins of a Canadian classic. - John Lekich


The Backward Class: a Lesson in Perseverance

Madeleine Grant films India’s “untouchables” to help save a school that’s saving lives.

13 LEgal Briefs Heather Watt


WhisTler’s Son

Peter Harvey returns home to headline the 2014 Whistler Film Festival. - Tom Hawthorn



Filmmaker’s Diary: Mountain Men

Cameron Labine’s brother act hits the big screen.


Encore Takes a Bow at Whistler

 ost-production house takes foward thinking approach to new filmmakers. P - Katja De Bock


Identified Flying Objects Change Face of Filming

High tech drones a new weapon in a filmmaker’s arsenal. - John Thomson


Strange Things Done in the BC Sun

CBC’s Strange Empire saddles up to shoot in Aldergrove. - Nathan Caddell

4 angle on Mark Leiren-Young 9 Indie Scene Paul Armstrong

Western Tv, Eh? Diane Wild

29 Digitally Yours Erica Hargreave 30 The Window Mark Leiren-young

@reelwestmag coVer: Peter Harvey; Photo by Phillip Chin. contents: Melissa Farman, Tattiawna JOnes, Cara Gee and Aaron Poole of Strange Empire; photo by Kharen Hill. 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. Executive publisher: Sandy P. Flanagan. Editor: Mark Leiren-Young. Publisher: Ron Harvey. Sales: Randy Holmes, Adam Caddell creative Director: Andrew von Rosen. art director: Lindsey Ataya. Photo Editor: Phillip Chin. Contributors: Paul Armstrong, Nathan Caddell, Katja De Bock, Erica Hargreave, Tom Hawthorn, John Lekich, John Thomson, Heather Watt, diane wild Copy Editor: Caroline Dyck. Reel West Magazine is published Four 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 USA). Both Publications $60.00 (plus $10.00 postage to USA) Prices include GST. Copyright 2014 Reel West Productions Inc. Second Class Mail. Registration No. 0584002. ISSN 0831-5388. G.S.T. # R104445218. Reel West Productions Inc. 2221 Hartley Ave., Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada, V3K 6W9. Phone: 604-553-1335 Toll Free: 1-888-291-7335 Fax: 604-451-7305 Email: URL: Volume 29, Issue 5. Printed In Canada. To subscribe call 604-553-1335 or visit our website at Reel West welcomes feedback from our readers, via email at All correspondence must include your name, address, and Phone number.

Reel West Winter 2014


A ng le o n

My  American  Cousin and  Our  Canadian  Magazine Prepare to  Turn Thirty


w rit t e n By M ark Le ire n-Yo u ng he cover of the “pre-

resort as the sites of his childhood

miere edition” of Reel

playgrounds became hotels and res-



taurants. As a kid, Harvey’s neigh-

poster image for San-

bours included Steve Podborski, one

dy Wilson’s upcoming

of the “Crazy Canuck” skiers. Harvey’s

movie, My American Cousin. Margaret

classmates and childhood pals in-

Langrick and John Wildman stood

cluded nine future Olympians. He fea-

in front of a big fancy red American

tured three of them in a student film.

Cadillac convertable, parked next to

This December, Harvey lands at WFF

idyllic Okanagan Lake.

2014 as one of the stars of the slopes.


The cover, dated April/May 1985,

The catchy cover photo of Harvey is

boasted stories on “the Dominion

courtesy of Reel West’s fantastic long-

Bridge Studio Centre” and a profile

time photographer, Phillip Chin.

of Marcel Masse - the federal Min-

Former Reel West cover boy, Cam-

ister of Communications. The price

eron Labine, shares the story of bring-

was two bucks - back when that

ing his second feature as a writer-

was folding money.

director to life. Says Labine, “What’s

As My American Cousin approach-

the point of making a survival film in

es its 30th anniversary, so does Reel

the BC backcountry if you don’t come

West. The magazine has grown up

away with a few good war stories?”

with western Canada’s film and TV

Especially when you’re making that

industry, while helping the TV and

movie with your brother.

film biz grow.

John Thomson checks

This issue celebrates western

out next gen tech as

Canada’s 35 mm past and our digi-

drones offer film-

tal future.

makers a new way

We look back on one of the mov-

to attack the per-

ies that started it all and look ahead at



fect shot.


Katja De Bock

seems like science fiction. John Lekich, one of the earliest boosters of My American Cousin,

visits A digital reproduction of the very first issue of Reel West Magazine from April 1985, featuring SANDY WILSON’s My American Cousin.

caught up with Sandy Wilson to



talk about posting those perfect shots. And



talk about her landmark film and

replied, “This is right up an old but

school creative writing teacher - and

heads to the new wild west set of

her upcoming projects. Lekich was

cherished street.” And it’s cherished

was one of the first people to encour-

CBC’s Strange Empire - formerly the

the first journalist to do a national

not just by audiences, but by the lo-

age me to write creatively - so it’s a

landing pad for CBC’s Arctic Air - to

piece on the movie and was inter-

cal industry. The cast and crew list

thrill having a story by “Mr. Lekich” in

find out what happens when mama

viewed in a recent documentary

features so many names that are

the magazine.

lets her babies grow up to be cowgirls.

about the making of the Canadian

now fixtures on the scene that it

Tom Hawthorn is back for a sec-

Next issue Reel West joins My


wasn’t just a landmark movie, but

ond straight issue to profile our cover

American Cousin in hitting the big

a launching pad.

Lekich, who has written

for the LA Times and The Hollywood

boy - and the hometown hero of the

30 and we’re looking forward to

Reporter hasn’t done a story for Reel

Lekich’s novel The Losers’ Club was

Whistler Film Festival - Peter Harvey.

celebrating with you. I know, we

West in years, but when I asked if

a finalist for The Governor General’s

Growing up in Whistler, Harvey saw

don’t look a day over 21 — espe-

he’d be game to profile Wilson he

Award. He’s also my former high

a village transform into a world-class

cially online. n


Reel West Winter 2014


























Photo by Phillip Chin


Reel West Winter 2014

Op e ning R e e l

My Canadian Classic Sandy Wilson Recalls Secret Origins


Writ t e n By Jo h n Le k ich andy Wilson has agreed to meet me at one of her favourite

I’m about to turn 60 and she says: “Oh, you’re just a baby!”

Kitsilano hangouts, a funky little brunch place where the

She removes her coat to reveal the kind of fancy cowgirl shirt Dale Evans

tables are shoved together and nobody seems to mind. It’s lit-

used to wear in those old two reelers – a nostalgic reminder that she grew

erally been half a lifetime since we’ve talked. But this is an

up on the family ranch with no telephone or TV. Entertainment was pro-

anniversary of sorts. And, like all anniversaries, it gets you

vided by Sandy’s dad who – when he wasn’t filming his kids with a home

thinking about the past.

movie camera - would rent films from the NFB.

I first met Sandy Wilson thirty years ago on the Penticton set of My Ameri-

Sandy would pick up the camera, continuing the tradition with a series

can Cousin - her largely autobiographical film about a 12-year-old girl named

of critically acclaimed shorts about Penticton and her family. Over her long

Sandy who can’t wait to shake the dust off her small town life. Set in the

career she’s directed films that have nothing to do with her personal life, in-

sleepy Okanagan of the late fifties, young Sandy longs for a touch of excite-

cluding the 1992 feature Harmony Cats and an episode of the PBS anthology

ment. Then, her older cousin Butch makes an unexpected visit from Cali-

series Trying Times where she cast a young Keanu Reeves alongside Candice

fornia, roaring up in a red convertible and changing her life forever.

Bergen and Jackson Davies.

Margaret Langrick plays Sandy. John Wildman plays Butch - a James

Nevertheless, she’s quick to acknowledge her creative debt. “I’m kind of

Dean wannabe who hides his vulnerability behind a dangling cigarette and

stuck in my family history,” she says. “In a way, my whole life has been one

a turned-up collar. Along with a veteran supporting cast that includes Jane

big selfie. To me, filming is just a continuation of family.”

Mortifee, Richard Donat and Babz Chula, they do the kind of work that’s lingered in my mind ever since.

For the last decade or so, she’s been working on the idea for a documentary series that traces the rich and varied history of a painting known as The

Written and directed by Wilson, the film dominated the Genie Awards

Clutching Sisters, a family heirloom painted in 1841. “One day I was moving it

in 1985. It won awards in six major categories including best picture, best

off the wall and it really spooked me,” she explains. “I began to wonder who

director and best screenplay. Decades later, Wilson’s debut feature remains

else had held it and where it had been.”

as close to perfect as any movie has a right to be. Stuck in a pocket of time that never seems to age, it’s become a legitimate Canadian classic. As the first regular west coast arts correspondent for the Globe and Mail, I

Tracing the various adventures of the painting has turned into “a bit of a family epic,” she says. “It’s a story that starts in Philadelphia and goes to a castle in Scotland. It’s like a sweeping saga.”

spent most of the eighties on dozens of film sets - most using a BC backdrop

After our interview, Sandy is on her way to Vermont and Montreal to do

to masquerade as somewhere else. But nothing could prepare me for the

more research on the project. There was a slight glitch when she got her pass-

sheer pleasure of watching My American Cousin come to life. It was that rarest

port wet and had to unexpectedly apply for a new one. Fortunately, the pass-

of all things. A film where the place we called home could simply be itself.

port official was a fan of My American Cousin and was more than happy to speed

I remember watching a night scene set against the brilliant stillness of

up the process.

summer - Butch lighting a cigarette against the spectacular evening sky.

“It’s astonishing that it’s remembered with so much affection,” she says.

Wilson was hunched over the camera next to cinematographer Richard

“I think it’s because there’s a lot of affection in the movie and that really

Leiterman, intent on telling her own story in a way that was deeply hers.

hits people. Over the years the film has kept opening all these nice, little

It remains a palpable moment, so gorgeously vivid that I can still bring it

doors for me.”

back at will.

She remembers the crew as “a lot of film virgins” salted with a couple of

A lot has changed in the last few decades. Much of the crew has retired.

veterans. “Most of us were just winging it,” she says. “But we all had some-

Some of the team– like Leiterman, Babz Chula and editor Haida Paul - have

thing to prove. Everyone was there because they liked the script and saw

passed away. The venerable Ridge – where I recall attending My American

the potential for a really Canadian movie.”

Cousin’s Vancouver premiere – has gone the way of the wrecker’s ball. Still, in some ways, it feels like not much time has passed at all.

These days Sandy can travel all over the world and find someone who recalls My American Cousin as capturing a slice of their own adolescence.

It’s a comforting illusion, helped along when the little bell over the café

“I think it catches that wonderful time in a young girl’s life when she’s

door tinkles and I look up to see Sandy Wilson standing next to me. She’s

curious and just doesn’t know any better,” she observes. “I remember when

pretty much exactly as I remember her. The same big, Joan Blondell eyes

my mother first asked to look at the script. She ended up storming out of

that make her look like the best friend in a Busby Berkeley musical. I tell her

the room and saying: ‘I can’t read any more of this. It’s too real.’ That’s when

Reel West Winter 2014


“Most of us were just winging it... but we all had something to prove. Everyone was there because they liked the script and saw the potential for a really Canadian movie.”

- Sa n dy W i l s o n

fers: “As a cinematographer I think Richard Leiterman was very underrated. He was just so brilliant visually that he made everything come alive. He made the film better than I could have ever imagined… He was such a professional and so kind to me. I think the admiration and respect we developed for each other kind of spread its way to the rest of the crew.” “In some ways, it all seems like yesterday,” she says. “It was such an astonishing time. And we all thought it was going to last forever.” I ask if it’s harder to keep going than it used to be. We talk about government funding cuts and being a woman in a profession dominated

I knew I was on to something.”

the orchardists were there, so any

for me. As much fun as picking up

by men. She refuses to complain,

Recently, the cast and crew met

joke about the pickers or the lad-

the Genies.”

explaining that, above all, she’s still

up for a thirtieth year reunion,

ders got a big laugh. That really

sponsored by an Okanagan winery.

warms my heart.”

Her one regret was that her

having fun.

friend and editor Haida Paul was

And then those big eyes get even

The festivities featured a tailgate

She was able to introduce her

critically ill and couldn’t attend the

bigger, as if she’s letting me in on

party with live music and a wine

three childhood girlfriends – who

reunion. “I take comfort in the fact

some well-earned secret. “It’s always

tasting. That was followed by a

all had fictional counterparts in

that she knew we were thinking of

been hard,” she says. “Otherwise ev-

weekend screening in the old audi-

the movie. “They stood up in that

her,” says Sandy. “She was always so

erybody would be doing it.”

torium where Sandy and her high

little auditorium that we used to

supportive and inspiring. There was

school pals used to hang out.

decorate for school dances while

this real sense of joy about her.”

The response to the screening

everyone clapped,” says Sandy. “It

When I mention how magical

was as affectionate as ever. “All

was just such a thrilling moment

Penticton looks in the film, she of-



To read the original cover story from the April-May 1985 issue of Reel West Magazine, visit

Reel West Winter 2014

I n di e S c e ne

Whistler Vets Return to the Slopes


By Paul Arm stro ng

t may be the end of the calendar

and director Marshall Axani and

year, but the Whistler Film Festi-

producer Diana Donaldson with the

val often kicks off a film’s future

premiere of Mina.Minerva, in which

heading into the New Year, giving it

a petty argument nearly pushes

the boost only an intimate festival

seventy-year-old twins Mina and

can. And once filmmakers play Whis-

Minerva to fisticuffs resulting in de-

tler, they always want to come back.

cades of unaired baggage threaten-

Carl Bessai, a WFF veteran and board member, returns this year in

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ing to destroy their already dismal relationship. 

the Midnight section with Bad City,

The film stars identical twins

which he directed, produced and

Joyce Robbins and Jaqueline Rob-

acted as cinematographer on.

bins who also featured in Marshall

Bessai says that during his de-

and Donaldson’s Anxious Oswald

cade on the board, “it was our goal

Greene, winner of last year’s WFF

to shape Whistler as a festival

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Shauna Johannesen wrote and

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both developed the story and play the

Says Johannesen, “everyone I

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know who has gone to Whistler

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raves about how great the festival

love department pretends to be gay to

is at fostering relationships with

get close to the woman of his dreams.

other filmmakers and producers in

Says Peter, “The festival works

the industry.”

hard to ensure that a lot of buyers

Bedbugs screens in the Crazy8s

and distributors are in attendance,

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so it’s a fantastic place for an inde-

with the Crazy8s film, Earthlickers,

pendent film to make a deal.”

written by and starring Justine War-

Julia adds that, “first and foremost

rington and Alison Araya and di-

our goal is to have great screenings.

rected by Tony Mirza. Earthlickers sees

Our film is an out and out comedy

seven sexy goddesses descend from

so we are really looking forward to

the Merkabatron after a desperate

watching it with a big audience.”

call for help to restore love on Earth.  


Warrington knows WFF’s rep as,

wrote, directed, edited and had a

“an excellent place to showcase and

cameo in his short Godhead, where a

recognize quality Canadian films and

mystic autistic attempts to heal his

talent and yet still feel the company

broken family. This is Gaston’s third

of an international crowd.” And that

year in a row with short at the fes-

can only lead to “fan support and in-

tival, following Stuck and Til’ Death.

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2014-10-29 10:44 AM

THE SCENES f o r m o r e t h a n 20 y e a r s

Gaston loves the “tight knit” na-

And that support should lead to

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Also returning to WFF are writer

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Reel West Winter 2014

Q u e st io n & A nswe r

Backward  Class Offers  Lessons  in  Living Doc Casts Light on India’s Caste System


W rit t e n By M ark Le ire n-yo u ng adeleine Grant

- was really driven home to me.



The caste system is still very much

ning to make

present in the more rural areas of

a movie when

India particularly, with everything



from certain streets to water wells

sister Evelyn went on a backpack-

to temples barred from the lowest

ing adventure to Southeast Asia

castes. Prejudices and discrimina-

back in 2008. Grant had just fin-

tion run rampant through these

ished a stint as the Art Depart-

mostly illiterate communities and

ment co-ordinator on the first

can escalate quickly to violent, and

season of the TV series Reaper and

at times fatal, encounters.

wanted to have fun, see the world

Q: What inspired you to tell this

and do volunteer work. “Volunteer


work seemed a great way to both

MG: Throughout my backpacking

establish a lifestyle in a new en-

trip, I was blown away with expe-

vironment and also give back to

riencing how top quality education


can break through generational

the communities we visited,” says Grant. But when the sisters arrived in Southeastern



The Backward Class will have its Western Canadian premiere at the 2014 Whistler Film Festival.

cycles of poverty. Such a simple

Photo by Nathan Drillot

idea, but with such high stakes for the individuals involved. I bonded


teaching at Shanti Bhavan, every-

national Documentary Film Festival

offering high quality education to

with the students of Shanti Bhavan

thing changed. Shanti Bhavan -

in Toronto. It receives its Western

some of the poorest of the poor.

school as peers and in the back of

which means “haven of peace” - was

Canadian premiere at the 2014

Learning to engage a classroom

my head I planned to write some-

established in 1997 to serve some

Whistler Film Festival, before being

was a novel experience, but it was

thing fictional set at the school at

of India’s most economically chal-

released in theatres in 2015.

the students themselves who re-

some vague point in the future.

I asked Grant about her adven-

ally captivated me. They were such

Then in the summer of 2008, the

tures in India and the challenges

engaging individuals, eager to learn

economic crisis hit. Suddenly there

facing India’s “backward” children.

and aspiring to become everything

was the chance Shanti Bhavan

from astronauts to nuclear physi-

might shut down and with it this

lenged children. Originally




American entrepreneur Dr. Abraham George, the school fell on tough economic times at about the

Q: How did you get involved with the

cists. It was mind-boggling when I

beautiful embodiment of what op-

same moment the Grants arrived to

students at Shanti Bhavan?

then saw the depths of the poverty

portunity can look like. With the


Madeleine Grant: It all start-

they’d been born into.

first class of students about to en-


ed with a random Google search.

Q: When did you first hear about

ter their last year of high school,

at the University of B.C. - and had

In 2008, my sister and I were on

the ‘untouchables’?

the stakes were high both for the

been working in art departments

an eight-month backpacking trip

MG: I’d known generally of India’s

students and for the school itself.

for Vancouver productions since

through India and Southeast Asia.

former caste system and the lowest

There would be no second chances

graduation - decided to document

We were looking for longer-term,

in the social hierarchy, the so-called

for anyone. It felt irresponsible not

the amazing school before it was

effective volunteer opportunities

‘untouchables,’ but it wasn’t until I

to consider filming it. I realized

too late.

- surprisingly difficult to find. My

visited Shanti Bhavan and learned

nothing I could write would ever be

The Backward Class won the Au-

sister is a teacher and Shanti Bha-

of the students’ home lives that the

as good as documenting what was

dience Choice Award when it pre-

van in rural southern India stood

insidious nature of the caste sys-

actually happening.

miered at the 2014 Hot Docs Inter-

out among educational options by

tem - supposedly eradicated in 1950




Reel West Winter 2014

I’d originally trained in fiction


“What drew me to take on this project was the knowledge that underneath it all, I believed in the story of these students...”

at some point in the next year to screen The Backward Class with the students and school community. Q: What’s a typical day like there? While living at the school we lived a lifestyle very closely intertwined with the students and faculty. We realized early on that it was valuable both for the documentary and for our mental health if the crew spent time interacting with the school community as individuals

- Ma de l e i n e Gr a n t

in addition to filming. So we played sports, chatted at meals and even taught the odd impromptu music

filmmaking at UBC, but that includ-

I grew to love life in India very

ternship, a Bachelor of Arts in Film

class. We became members of the


community so that we could in turn

ed an excellent documentary class


Production, co-op

with Academy Award nominated di-

Q: How long did you spend in India



fade into the backdrop whenever

rector John Zaritsky. It was a super

to research this?

university and an IATSE intern-

we were filming. The typical day

tight timeline, but it was also clear

MG: I lived for about a year in India

ship which led to union permittee

would start with exercise. I liked

to me that if I didn’t film this, no

in total, the majority of that time at

and eventual member status in the

playing basketball with some of the

one would. So I started pitching the

Shanti Bhavan School in the south-

art department. I was a year and a

older grades. Breakfast in the dining

idea at the VIFF forum and in the lo-

ern state of Tamil Nadu.

half out of film school when I first

hall, classes, recess, school assem-

cal community, and there was some

Q: When and why did you decide to

met the students of Shanti Bhavan.

bly, classes, lunch, classes, snack,

interest. We went to India to shoot

try your hand at directing?

When we started shooting in India,

play time, homework time, dinner,

a short demo, and then events just

MG: I directed throughout film

I’d been working in the industry for

more homework time, bed. It was a

took over. We filmed, pitched, filmed

school and have always had an in-

about eight years total.

highly regimented lifestyle, but an

and edited for a total of close to five

terest in storytelling, both from a

Q: How did you choose the title?

enjoyable one.

years. It was an intense experience,

writing perspective and a directing

“The Backward Class” is a sort of

but one I’m so grateful to have had

perspective. What drew me to take

double or triple entendre. It’s a play

will accomplish?

the opportunity to embark on.

on this project was the knowledge

on: the government term for the

MG: I hope people will understand

Q: Can you explain the concept of

that underneath it all, I believed in

students’ family background, the

this movie as a globally relatable

“backward communities?”

the story of these students abso-

fact that they’re the very first class

story – that given the chance any

MG: “Backward classes” and “back-

lutely. It was a way of containing

to try to graduate, and the irony

child can succeed. I hope that mes-

ward communities” are terms used

artistic second-guessing and self-

that from a language perspective

sage translates to viewers’ own

by the Indian government to desig-

doubt – no matter how far I might

the students are so clearly success-

lives and affects how they see and

nate the most socio-economically

stray as a director in the process

ful and in no way backward.

support quality educational oppor-

underprivileged in India. The terms

of making the film, I knew I always

Q: What was your favourite aspect

tunities, particularly for underprivi-

include the former ‘untouchables’

had this strong true story as a con-

of making this movie?

leged children.

as well as other affected groups,

stant to come back to. As a first

MG: Living and filming with the

Q: Was there a particular story that

such as indigenous tribes. There are

time feature filmmaker, I found this

students in India and thereby be-

really broke your heart?

many subdivisions today. All of the

rooted nature of the core story to be

coming intimately acquainted with

MG: The high school student who

Shanti Bhavan students come from

invaluably helpful.

the ups and downs of a community

couldn’t sleep without a nightlight,

designated backward communities.

Q: How did this movie happen?

of people dedicated to enabling a

the five year old who’s father “is no

Q: What was your first ever visit to

MG: Teamwork. So much team-

beautiful, altruistic dream.

more” because of her uncle and a

India like?

work went into this documentary.

Q: You’re normally in the art de-

knife, the children who couldn’t go

MG: It was January, 2008 and I was

We have a key crew of collaborators

partment - what sort of work have

home for even a day because the

lucky enough to spend my first two

without whom the project would

you done and what’s your favourite

chances of abuse were too high.

weeks in India with the family of a

never exist, including my produc-

aspect of your jobs there?

friend in Mumbai. Her aunt would

ing partner Jessica Cheung; editor

MG: I’ve worked in the art depart-

uncle, who sent her to Shanti Bha-

hold my hand as we crossed the

Aynsley Baldwin; Directors of Pho-

ment on many projects from union

van thinking she would likely be

street to make sure I got across

tography Nathan Drillot, Chris He-

work as an art department coordi-

killed - for organs, through sex traf-

safely. Those initial street crossings

bert, Mike Rae; Co-Editor Greg Ng;

nator through to indie work as an

ficking, or otherwise. He felt at least

were terrifying!

and Composer Edo Van Breemen.

art director and production design-

they would be rid of her. The kind

There was barely a semblance of

We received grants from the BC

er. I love the day-to-day creativity

of abject poverty that breeds such a

lanes and there’d inevitably be more

Arts Council and the NFB FAP, and

that comes with working in the art

hopeless way of thinking is hard to

cars, rickshaws, cows and pedestrians

we were ultimately commissioned

department and I find I enjoy work-

even fathom. Every single student

than there was space - with all the

by the Knowledge Network and

ing within the parameters set by the

at the school has a heart-wrenching

vehicles honking loudly. I gradually

worked with two awesome execu-

story and or the director’s vision.

drama in their background and that

learned the art of marching across at

tive producers - Murray Battle (with

Q: How much time are you spend-

could be overwhelming at times.

a steady pace, under the usually true

Knowledge) and Miranda de Pencier.

ing in India now?

But they’re so well adjusted as peo-

presumption that if you maintain

Q: How did you get into the film

MG: I haven’t been back to India

ple that it’s in a way wonderful how

your pace, those around you will ac-


since we last filmed there in 2012.

little these terrible pasts in any way

commodate your movement.

MG: A summer cooking show in-

I’m looking forward to going back

define their present and future. n




Q: What are you hoping this movie

One of the girls told me of her

Reel West Winter 2014

L e ga l B r ie f s

Canadian Content Questions as Canada Becomes a shomi State By Heath e r Watt




onsumers today have more

payment of a fair market value license

ways than ever to access

fee include the program’s SVOD rights.


Doran Chandler





However, the Terms of Trade limits the circumstances in which a broadcaster

(SVOD) has recently been mak-

can sublicense those SVOD rights,

ing news in Canada. In contrast to

which means that while programs fall-

traditional linear platforms, SVOD

ing under the Terms of Trade can be

platforms provide unlimited, on-

exhibited by Rogers or Shaw on shomi,

demand access to programming for

those same programs cannot be subli-

a set monthly fee. While Netflix is

censed to other SVOD service provid-

the most well-known SVOD service

ers such as Netflix. Furthermore, due

Buckley DoDDs

provider at present, Canadians now

to the broadcasters’ right to Canadian

have at least one additional home-

exclusivity under the Terms of Trade,

chartereD accountants

grown option to choose from.

independent producers who enter into license agreements with a broad-

terprise between Rogers Communica-

caster are prevented from licensing

tions Inc. and Shaw Communications

any SVOD rights during the term of the

Inc., was launched in November. shomi

broadcaster’s exclusive license period.

will initially be available only to Rogers

An additional issue is that, as an

and Shaw cable and/or internet cus-

over-the-top (OTT) service, it will

tomers, and will debut with 340 televi-

not be subject to the CRTC’s Cana-

sion series amounting to 11,000 hours

dian content obligations. Canadian

of television programming, as well as

broadcasters are required to broad-

1200 movies. So far, shomi has agree-

cast at least 60% Canadian content

ments with US networks FX, FXX and

programming, with at least 50% dur-

Starz, giving Canadian subscribers ac-

ing the peak hours of 7pm to 11pm,

cess to a variety of programming that

but these requirements do not apply

has so far been unavailable to Cana-

to internet-based platforms, such as

dian Netflix customers.

SVOD. As a result, Rogers and Shaw

This type of competition in the

will be able to meet their CRTC con-

media marketplace will generally

tent obligations with their traditional

be good for consumers. It will create

linear platforms, while showcasing

incentive for service providers to of-

their newly acquired catalogue of

fer competitive rates and be inno-

programming on shomi (which Rog-

vative in order to attract customers,

ers and Shaw have stated will be 30%

and gives reason for those providers

Canadian content) without being

to fill gaps in service. However, for

subject to those same obligations.

Canadian independent producers

The introduction of shomi and the

and some broadcasters, the intro-

more recent announcement that Bell

duction of shomi may have poten-

Media will also be entering the SVOD

tially negative implications.

arena, serve to highlight some of the

Through the Canadian Media

matters that will need to be addressed

Production Association, Canadian

promptly as SVOD services continue

independent producers have nego-

to move into the mainstream.

tiated a Terms of Trade agreement

A more complicated question re-

to govern dealings with Canadian

lates to the issue of Canadian con-



tent: should SVOD service providers

Networks, Bell Media Inc., Rogers


doing business in Canada be subject

Broadcasting Ltd., and Shaw Media

to CRTC content obligations, and

Inc.) in the development, produc-

if so, in what circumstances? This

tion and exhibition of Canadian

question will certainly cause debate

audiovisual works intended for the

as the Canadian SVOD marketplace

Canadian television market.

continues to evolve. n






Kyle Fogden Heather Watt

but subscription video-on-demand

The SVOD service shomi, a joint en-






Kim Roberts,

Of Counsel

Entertainment Law Film | Television | New Media | Music 201 - 120 We st 3r d Av enu e , V anc ouv er B C V 5Y 1E9 tel 604 684 63 77 fax 60 4 684 638 7 info@ cha ndl erfo gd en .com | w w w .ch andl erfo g de n.c om

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Pursuant to the Terms of Trade, the Canadian rights to a program a broad-

Heather Watt joined Chandler Fogden in

caster acquires from a Canadian inde-

2013 where she assists clients with all

pendent producer in exchange for the

aspects of entertainment law.

Reel West Winter 2014


Photo by Phillip Chin


Reel West Winter 2014

Cov e r Fe at u re

Whistler Native Hits Hometown Fest as Film Mogul Producer Peter Harvey Lands Two Films at WFF


Writ t e n By To m Hawt h o rn hen Peter Harvey was about eleven years old, he

along Fitzsimmons Creek. His many duties included being in charge of bear dis-

came across a video camera owned by his best

persal. If a guest spotted a bruin nearby, Harvey retrieved a low-tech but effec-

friend’s father. They got permission to borrow it, and

tive weapon — a bucket of rocks and a shovel. He’d toss a rock in the air with

soon a posse of boys gambolled about the village, re-

one hand before smacking it with the business end of the shovel, like a baseball

enacting action scenes in a spoof of James Bond.

player during batting practice. He remembers some of the frightened bears scur-

Years later, while viewing what had been shot, with the natural British

rying into the bush, stopping to hide as soon as their heads were covered, even

Columbia beauty of Whistler as a backdrop, Harvey realized he did not ap-

though their furry butts were still visible. “I can still see you bear,” he’d think, be-

pear nearly as often as his friends.

fore clanking another rock into the distance. Growing up in Whistler, you respect

“I was always behind the camera,” he said. “Shooting it. Directing people. Making sure everyone was doing what they were supposed to be doing, making sure this is the story we should be following.”

bears even as you acknowledge their hide-and-go-seek technique needs work. The village is a sports town — ski racing, snowboarding, cross-country, disk golf, hockey. Half his buddies took to the slopes, the other half went

Now thirty, Harvey is returning to his hometown for the Whistler Film Fes-

indoors at the arena. In time, Harvey skated for the Princeton Posse of the

tival, to be held in the first week of December. He has two features to show —

Kootenay International Junior Hockey League, a fancy name for a league the

the world premiere of Pretend We’re Kissing, a charming rom-com for which he

players knew as “The Jungle”. He was a 5-foot-11, 175-pound stay-at-home

was the producer, and Backcountry, a thriller for which he was line producer.

defenceman, his physique slight for the demands of the position. One of his

A trip to Whistler for the Toronto-based Harvey is like returning from

more memorable games involved a bench-clearing brawl in Revelstoke; every

college for the holidays. “I get to come home to showcase the work I’ve been

player on both teams playing Don Cherry hockey. It sounds like Slap Shot with

doing to the people who got me to where I am today,” he says. “My old teach-

a cast of away-from-home teenagers.

ers, my parents, my parents’ friends, my aunts and uncles.” He’ll be showing

With a year of eligibility left in junior hockey, Harvey faced a tough deci-

off his old stomping grounds to Pretend We’re Kissing writer, director and fel-

sion. Tough it out in hopes of gaining a hockey scholarship in the United

low producer Matt Sadowski, who has never been to the resort. The village

States, or follow his other passion by enrolling in film school. His admission

has changed over the years. The site where Harvey attended elementary

essay focussed on lessons in leadership he learned from playing a team

school is now home to Hy’s Steakhouse.

sport. Of 500 applicants, he snagged one of 120 spots for the Motion Picture

This will not be Harvey’s first triumphal return to his hometown film festival.

Production Program at Capilano College (now University) in North Vancou-

Two years ago, the comedy Picture Day, which he produced, won the Borsos prize

ver. By third year, the class had been whittled down to 25 students, a com-

as best Canadian feature (while Tatiana Maslany claimed Borsos acting hon-

petitive environment in which the former hockey player thrived.

ours). Six years ago, he made his debut with a five-minute short titled, Growing

In a program operated like a studio, Harvey gained insight into the guts of

Up Whistler, a documentary short featuring three of his high school friends as

movie making. After graduating, he made his directorial debut with Versus, a

they trained for the upcoming Olympics, which were held in their hometown.

dark comedy short (co-starring Drew Scott, one of the Property Brothers) select-

On a sunny fall day in Victoria, he turned a table in the cafe inside the

ed for the student film showcase at the Toronto International Film Festival in

Sitka clothing store (a sponsor) into a temporary office. Harvey wears fash-

2007. In the years since, the films he has worked on as a director, producer, or

ionable Clark Kent glasses and looks a bit like Kevin Smith if the director

production manager have been screened at more than 100 film festivals.

was slimmer, trimmer, less dissolute, kept his hair tidily brushed back and

Harvey is coming to the end of a busy year. He tackled Sadowski’s Pretend

maintained a well-trimmed beard. The producer opts for crisp shirts, the

We’re Kissing under Telefilm Canada’s micro-budget production program. As

sleeves rolled just so up to the elbow. It is the look of one who prefers plan-

producer, his strategy was to pay the crew and bring gear companies on board

ning to happenstance, which is what you want in a producer.

as sponsors with the expectation they will benefit from working with him in

Born in Ladysmith on Vancouver Island, Harvey’s family moved to Whis-

the future. “You get all your resources for low or no cost,” he said, “so you can

tler before his first birthday. His father was a truck driver and his mother

pay your crew and your crew is happy.” The budgets for indie films in Canada

managed upscale condominiums. He grew up with a sister and spent lots of

have a decimal point several spaces to the left of American indie films.

time with older male cousins, who introduced him at a G age to PG movies

The film stars Tommie-Amber Pirie (The Trotsky) as a young woman seeking

like Jaws and Gremlins. The first movie he recalls seeing on the big screen

magical love, Dov Tiefenbach (Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle) as a nebbish

was Jurassic Park at the Rainbow Theatre.

looking for a romantic connection, and Zoë Kravitz, the daughter of musi-

As a teenager, he worked at the Riverside Resort, a campground and RV park

Reel West Winter 2014

cian Lenny Kravitz and the actor Lisa Bonet, as a couch-crashing unemployed


hippie who can play on either team. Pretend We’re Kissing is a charming Woody Allenesque movie (without the ick factor) for the millennial set. The shoot took place in Toronto over fifteen days. Sadowski’s grandfather, who



buildings, found two empty units for the crew, one of which was used as a production office, the other for shooting. Other scenes were shot at such familiar Hogtown landmarks as The Rex, the Cameron House and Adelaide Hall, while the cast and crew did an overnight shoot on the Toronto Islands to capture some breathtaking moonlight and sunrise images. The producer had to skip the final day of shooting to fly to the West Coast, where he was on hand for the filming of some Backcountry scenes in Squamish (Most of the film was shot outside North Bay, Ont.) The stunt actors were amenable and professional in every way. Their every whim was indulged, as no one was keen to see the talent go Val Kilmer on set. “These guys are big boys. Six hundred pounds,” Harvey said. “Growing up in Whistler, I grew up around bears. But I’d never been so close to a bear.” Charlie and Chester, a pair of black bears previously seen in Borat, were provided by Animal Insight of Langley, B.C. and handled by Dana Dube. After meeting the pair and witnessing them perform tricks on cue, Harvey thought, “These guys are pros.” One breathtaking scene involves a roaring, snarling bear inside a tent. Live bear. Small tent. Based on a true story. The Squamish shoot was not for the squeamish. Meanwhile,




ing funding for a film by longtime friend Rob Grant. A twelve-minute short from the proposed feature, What Doesn’t Kill You, won an honourable mention at the Toronto International Film Festival this year and took Harvey to Spain, where he sought international funding. It was shown there as the third movie of a triple bill with a start time of 1 a.m. To his delight, the audience even stayed for questions afterwards and he left the theatre at dawn, thrilled to be among people who celebrate film all night long. n Peter Harvey’s Pretend We’re Kissing (top) will have its world premiere at the 2014 Whistler Film Festival while Backcountry (middle & bottom) will have its Western Canadian premiere. photoS by Erin Simkin (P.W.K.) and Lindsay SaraziN (backcountry)


Reel West Winter 2014

W e st e rn C anadian T V, EH ?

Young Drunk Punk Bruce McCulloch Grows Up


by Dia n e Wild

ruce McCulloch is an ac-

together again when the stars and

cidental marketing genius.

schedules align. But he’s not yet

His stage show, Young Drunk

looking for the next big thing, any

Punk is touring the country while he

more than he did in the early days

promotes the book it spawned, Let’s

of his career.

Start a Riot: How A Young Drunk Punk

“I thought I’d like to make a liv-

Became a Hollywood Dad, and the TV

ing writing, and figured we should

series it inspired, Young Drunk Punk,

get on TV. But I had no plan, I just

which will air on City in 2015.

wanted to make stuff,” he says. “My

“They’re very different, but it’s the

own personal journey in this world

same kind of comedic and emotion-

is to enjoy what I’m doing and not

al material,” says McCulloch, whose

be on the next thing.”

last TV production was the Kids in

The current thing is working with-

the Hall mini-series Death Comes to

in the big machine that is television

Town for CBC. “People trying to find

production. In the editing room in

their place in the world, a young guy

Toronto, McCulloch says he can now

who doesn’t fucking know anything

start to wonder, “is this the coolest

and thinks he knows everything.”

show ever, or is it just really weird?”

Young Drunk Punk the TV series

Says McCulloch, “We have a lot

stars Tim Carlson and Atticus Mitch-

of Canadian shows trying to be like

ell as teenagers Ian and Shinky in

American shows, to look like, talk

1980s Calgary, “somewhere in the

like American shows. I have pride in

lost years between high school and

this being Calgary in the 1980s. We

what’s next.” McCulloch calls it “more

talk about the Flames and oilmen.”

comedically and thematically autobi-

Does he worry about the show’s

ographical than literal,” but the series

reception, given the scrutiny Cana-

does film in the townhouse commu-

Bruce Mcculloch at Outside Lands with the Sketchfest in San Francisco.

nity he grew up in. “Literally the same

Photo by Nader Khouri

dian comedies are under lately? “Never hope or you’ll get your

place. So where I walked around hav-

heart broken,” he says before add-

ing gobbled acid as a fifteen year-old,

an actor first. Even when I wrote

just keep going forward,” he says.

ing, “I feel pressure with everything

we’re now shooting.”

this it didn’t occur to me to play this

“At fifty I feel like a punk maybe

I do… We don’t do many TV shows

character. Other people were saying

even more than I did then. I feel like

here, so I want this to do well for me,

‘you’re the dad, right?’”

I’m different from everyone else.

but also for the young actors, the ex-

McCulloch and his real-life wife Tracy Ryan play Ian’s parents. No nepotism there though: “Oh yeah,

While the stage show and book

Yes, but we all are. The guys in the

ecutives, the fans, for everyone who

of course I auditioned her,” he says.

delve into poignant territory, he

TV show are years away from un-

wants to do TV shows.” He pauses.

“I auditioned her once for Superstar

describes the series as mostly silly.

derstanding that.”

“Thanks, you’ve just heightened my

and she didn’t get the part. I’m a

In the pilot, the boys are chased af-

McCulloch found his band of fel-

tough mofo.”

ter trying to steal a stereo from a

low outsiders in the other members

crowded party. But he’s also aiming

of Kids in the Hall, a bond that con-

Diane Wild is the Vancouver-based

for likeable, relatable characters.

tinues thirty-something years later.

founder of the TV, eh? website (www.

He didn’t write a part for himself either, but it’s probably fair to say

sense of failure and doom.” n

he didn’t audition for it. “I never act

“We’re all lost. Even the people

They’ve done shows this year in, covering news, reviews

unless someone asks me to. I never

who seem like they’re not are lost.

Toronto and the United States and

and interviews about Canadian televi-

audition. I don’t think of myself as

The guidance counsellor is lost. You

McCulloch says they plan to work

sion shows.

the game has changed

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Reel West Winter 2014

Filmmak e r’ s Diary

Cameron Labine on the Climb to Conquer Mountain Men Diary By Came ro n Labine

Cameron Labine’s first movie as a writer-director was the sex comedy, Control Alt Delete, but after hitting the return button to make his second movie he upped the action and stepped outside to shoot the dramatic comedy Mountain Men – which kicks off the Borsos competition at the 2014 Whistler Film Festival. Labine talks about casting real-life brother Tyler, chasing Chace Crawford and why he was so stoked about shooting in Revelstoke. JUNE 2011 It’s been a couple years

Mom’s second wedding and make

since I made my weird sex Canadian

a trip up to their childhood cabin.

feature, Control Alt Delete, so I figure

Murphy’s Law takes over. The most

it’s time to tackle the snowshoes. I’ve

exciting thing for me is the way the

been in TV development land for a

story takes a hard left turn at the

while, but I’m feeling the film itch.

midpoint. It’s all fun and games un-

The big difference between first and

til someone breaks a leg.

second features is you go into #2 with

MAY 2012 Time to find a pro-

your eyes wide open to the volume of

ducer. Jason James is a friend and

blood, sweat and tears they extract. So

fellow Strathcona Eastside Baller

it better be something you love. The

(Film nerd pick-up basketball game.

idea of a survival film has been kick-

Don’t laugh, we need the exercise).

ing around my head for a while. Like

I have to believe he’s a better pro-

any BC kid I always figured I could

ducer than ball player, since he’s

handle myself in the backcountry.

produced several successful films

False. An impromptu tumble into the

at the budget level I’m looking at.

icy Squamish River a few years back

I send him the script and he digs

taught me I was no Mountain Man.

it, says it’s fresh and exciting, but

This strikes me as a pretty potent

also achievable. Over our first cof-

analogy for manhood in general.

fee Jason casually mentions that he

I happen to be the brother of two

might have a great place to shoot

fine young men (I hear sisters are

the movie. He’s recently reconnect-

great, wouldn’t know), which is an-

ed with his biological father, who

other subject I’m compelled to tack-

turns out to be the long time mayor

le. Something about the privileges

of Revelstoke, BC. (more on this lat-

and responsibilities of brotherhood,

er.) Jason options the script and sets

specifically adult brotherhood as our paths diverge and it’s hard to

Tyler Labine (Coop) and Chace Crawford (Toph). Photo by Kerri Knapp

about raising development money for a second draft. I go off and write on a TV show for a while.

know how to fit into each other’s lives. Also, brothers are a pain in the

myself in a remote cabin on Salt

and write longhand. At one point I

NOVEMBER 2012 Jason makes

ass, and that’s funny.

Spring Island (thanks Ali and Dave!)

even have to bust out the chainsaw

good and raises second draft money.

So a funny brother survival film

to knock out a first draft. Fittingly,

to break up a fallen tree blocking the

Telefilm, Harold Greenberg Fund, and

about manhood. Sounds fun. Stop

the coast is hit by a massive storm

road. Maybe I am a Mountain Man?

Creative BC come through. I hunker

thinking about it. Write.

and I’m snowed in. Power goes in

The basic story falls into place:

down once more to kick out a rewrite.


and out, so I cook on the wood stove

estranged brothers come home for

We bring the stunningly handsome


Reel West Winter 2014

I sequester


Elan Mastai on to story edit. I learn a lot. And the script comes to life. The brothers’ arcs are coming into focus. Toph: man-child who can’t make a decision to save his life. Coop: overachieving loner, convinced he needs no one, least of all his clingy brother. Jason and I are both happy with the script. We release Elan and his perfect skin to go back to writing hit studio pictures. Jason starts the herculean task of financing the film. I go off to write a video game.

OCTOBER 2013 Jason is definitely better at producing than basketball. I mean, he has a decent hook shot, but the way he’s putting the financing together is impressive. With the help of Executive Producers Dave Valleau and Tex Antonucci, he’s building a house of cards. The Harold Greenberg Fund comes in for production financing. The Movie Network and Movie Central buy the TV rights. Pacific Northwest Pictures comes on to distribute in Canada, and Myriad Pictures gives us a nice advance on international sales. With our ducks all in a row, Telefilm is the final and largest piece. They give us the thumbs up and... we’re green lit! Dependent on one thing — cast...

JANUARY 2014 It takes a while to get my real life brother Tyler Labine to return my calls. But he finally responds to my tweets and agrees to play Toph, on the condition I stop spreading Scientology rumors. Now we need our other brother, Coop. We hire some US casting directors and start making offers. The script is getting good coverage and nice feedback from actors, but our Coop is proving elusive. The casting game is such a tricky 3-way balance: a name the financiers can sell, a good fit creatively (i.e. someone I like), and an actor who loves the script and wants to make a low-budget Canadian indie in the Rocky Mountains. In February. Winter is coming and we need to pull the trigger on production. Finally, the right name comes up. Our friends at CAA rep Chace Crawford of Gossip Girl fame and they know he’s looking for a meaty role. We send him the script and he loves it. I zip down to LA so Ty, Chace, and I can eat artisan pickles at a Japanese ( Top to Bottom) Director Cameron Labine with actors Tyler Labine and Chace Crawford. T. LABINE and CRAWFORD survey a scene. The brothers LABINE, on set. PhotoS by Kerri Knapp


Reel West Winter 2014

burger joint (why didn’t we get burgers?) Chace is approached a half dozen times for autographs. That’s when I clue in: oh, this guy’s famous. He’s from Texas and we agree that Canadians and Texans are unlikely soul mates. Must be our excellent manners. Chace is in. Ty and I like him. I rush back to Vancouver and dive into prep.

MARCH 2014 Time to check out Revelstoke. The script has always been set in the Kootenays, so the idea of actually shooting there is very exciting. As soon as we arrive it’s obviously perfect from a visual standpoint. It’s a gorgeous little working class town nestled in the mountains. And there just happens to be a world-class ski resort on the edge of town (read: crew bait). And there’s plenty of backcountry just minutes out of town. The clincher though, is Jason’s father, Mark McKee. The longtime mayor, he clearly still has the keys

“As I slurp my borscht at the local church’s ‘soup and a smile’ luncheon I have no doubt this is the place to shoot...There’s an embarrassment of beautiful locations, and everyone we meet has a special spot we have to check out.”

- C am ero n L a bi ne

to the town. Anything we need, he knows a guy. Any location we need, he knows a spot. You can’t buy this kind of access to a community. As I slurp my borscht at the local church’s “soup and a smile” luncheon I have no doubt this is the place to shoot. Just have to bring everyone out from Vancouver, give them per diem, and put them up. Whatever, that’s Jason’s problem. Back in Vancouver we manage to piece together a great team. Catherine Lutes (DOP) and Scott Moulton (Prod Designer) accompany Jason and myself to Revelstoke three weeks

Photo by Kerri Knapp

ahead of production to set up shop at the local snowboarder flophouse. Scott is some kind of art depart-

happens to be a Search and Rescue

ginning and ending of the movie, so

slide cameras down zip lines and

ment ninja. He vanishes for hours

veteran. We’ve really assembled a

I have to make sure we’re keeping in

emerge in one piece. Those hot tubs

only to reappear with truckloads

great group. And Revelstoke is full of

mind all the madness that happens

are coming in handy.

of furs and boats and barn board.

smart, talented people, so we end up

in between. We finish the week by

Third week is deep backcountry

He’s instantly on a first name basis

hiring a lot of crew locally.

shooting a giant wedding reception

stuff. We’re out of cell range. No one

with everyone in town. Jason spends

APRIL 2014 First week of produc-

with 70 local extras. I feel like we’re

can hear us scream. Gear is trucked

his days glad-handing with the fire

tion. We start with the easy stuff: the

capturing an authenticity that we

around on snowmobiles. Chace is get-

department and parks board and

scenes in town. Wise choice. Shooting

wouldn’t get in the Vancouver area.

ting hurled into an icy lake. We’re cold,

chamber of commerce. Catherine

movies is a piece of cake! Everyone

Second week, the film gods re-

we’re wet, we’re tired. Everyone is

has a special eye, especially for na-

stays dry and warm as they are lulled

mind us they still own our asses.

stepping up to the plate. Especially DP

ture, and we run around with a cam-

into a false sense of security, which

We throw Chace over a cliff, blow

Catherine Lutes, who is tough as nails

era planning out the movie. There’s

will soon be brutally ripped away. This

up a truck, and burn a cabin to the

and shooting some gorgeous images.

an embarrassment of beautiful lo-

also gives the art department time to

ground. I ask myself why I stopped

Final week. More adventures in

cations, and everyone we meet has

build two cabins in the bush, one of

writing films about people having

the backcountry: giant snow ma-

a special spot we have to check out.

which will be burned to the ground.

sex with computers. So much easier.

chines, six foot fans, Catherine up

Production rents out a half-dozen

Ty and Chace get along great and are

But life is about growth. And I’m

to her waist in water in our mine-

houses (complete with hot tubs), and

doing strong work. They’re living in a

surrounded by capable technicians

shaft location. Spring has sprung

the rest of the Vancouver crew starts

giant chalet which they’re convinced

who have actually done this kind

and our art department is filling

trickling in. Krista Kelloway, our kick-

is haunted by, I don’t know, dead Aus-

of thing before. The cliff day is the

trucks up with snow and moving it

ass PM, AD Julia Bettencourt (always

tralian skiers? Whatever. This gives

toughest I’ve had, but we get the

around. Time to wrap this thing.

hire a Brazilian AD), Brent Calkin, a

them something to bond over.

scene. It might even be great. We

We cap the shoot off with a ride

burn stuff and explode things and

in the smallest plane I’ve ever seen

one-man sound operation who also

Reel West Winter 2014

We’re basically shooting the be-


“We throw Chace over a cliff, blow up a truck, and burn a cabin to the ground. I ask myself why I stopped writing films about people having sex with computers. So much easier.”

- C a m e r o n L a bi n e

pense, drama. I had imagined getting a band to score the film, but it’s increasingly clear we need an experienced composer. We luck out and hire the right guy. Andrew Harris works like a mad man to find our sound. He’s versatile, consistent, and judging by the timestamps on his emails, vampiric. Fine by me. Musicians and sunlight don’t mix. Kirby Jinnah takes on the sound edit and mix. Kirby’s a veteran of the Vancouver film scene. His IMDB listing is longer than my leg. I feel confident right away. He shines in his use of ambiences to capture that feeling of desolate nature and bitter cold, which elevate the film hugely. A week of color grading at the ever-accommodating Finale Ed-

(Mark knows a guy). We take Chace

couple of weeks to regenerate some

quaintances into the edit room with

itworks and... we’re done? Wait. But.

up in a little four-seater for a rip

brain cells and come in to take a

beer and pizza to tell us what we’re

OCTOBER 2014 The Whistler

through the snowy mountaintops.

look. It’s a movie! That’s really all

doing wrong. We do a couple of big

Film Festival (which is dear to my

It’s a glorious way to finish. We party

you can hope for at this stage.

test screenings in Vancouver and To-

heart) has invited the film to open

into the night, drink up any remain-

Adam’s one of those brilliant edi-

ronto, and sift through piles of good

the Borsos Competition! It’s a mas-

ing beer in town. The grips cram

tors who insists on stating his bril-

notes (get to the cabin sooner!) and

sive cash prize ($15,000) and only

fourteen people into their hot tub,

liant opinions about how to make

crazy notes (too many food shots at

six films from across Canada are in-

so legend has it. Definitely time to go

the movie brilliant, but his dog is

the wedding!) Finally we feel the pic-

vited to compete. Great company to

home before we’re run out of town.

cool (Hi Whisky!). We begin an in-

ture is ready. Sound and music next.

be in. And I can’t think of a more ap-

MAY 2014 Editor Adam Locke-

tensive picture edit. Adam’s com-

SEPTEMEBER 2014 Music wise,

propriate setting for our premiere.

Norton has been assembling the

mitment to the movie is tireless.

the movie is a tricky beast. There

Can’t wait to share Mountain Men

movie during the shoot. I take a

We lure most of our friends and ac-

are big tonal shifts; comedy, sus-

with the world!



Reel West Winter 2014

Pro f ile

Encore  Boosts  BOrSoS  Award Post-production house promotes Canadian filmmakers at Whistler


Writ t e n By Katja D e B o ck

he chemical fumes

professional world of post was a job

that once filled the

as a receptionist at Northwest Imag-

former film lab that

ing & FX. Before long, she was being

houses Encore Van-

trained to do dailies by colourist Larry



Engelmann. “He basically taught me

since dissolved, but now this is the

how to deliver information and com-

studio where digital dreams come

municate effectively with clients.”

true. And six Canadian films com-

Thompson sees serious opportunities

peting for the Borsos Best Canadian

for new talent because of BC’s Digital

Feature Film Award at the Whistler

Animation or Visual Effects Tax Credit

Film Festival will have a chance to

(DAVE), which came into effect in 2003

win a post-production prize valued at

- and was boosted in 2010.


$15,000 from Encore in addition to a

DAVE gives producers an addi-

$15K-cash prize. At a $30,000 value,

tional tax credit of 17.5% on BC la-

the WFF award is the biggest prize for Canadian filmmakers outside of the

bour costs in digital animation and Big Muddy, which was coloured by Encore, will have its BC premiere at WFF.

SFX. According to Creative BC, 224

Canada Goose Award offered by TIFF.

projects did post or VFX in BC in the

“Our film festivals are a really

its BC premiere at WFF. A modern

with Encore’s colourist Andrea Dix-

year ending in March 2014, with 152

important part of our community,”

western about a female outlaw who

on on The Boy From Geita, a feature

projects claiming a DAVE tax credit.

says Suzanne Thompson. The VP of

needs to keep a low profile to pro-

documentary about the prejudices

That’s good news for the more than

Sales at Encore Vancouver says her

tect her son, the film’s remarkable

faced by people with albinism in

5000 people working in the post-pro-

team is “really excited” about join-

colour grading of the Saskatchewan

Tanzania. Shot in Africa and North

duction and visual effects industry

ing the Directors Guild of Canada

landscape was labeled “prairie-noir”

America, the film needed visual con-

in BC. Thompson chairs the Vancou-

in presenting the Borsos Award. En-

at its TIFF and CIFF screenings.

tinuity. “Andrea is wonderful. She

ver Post Alliance (VPA), an organiza-

core also awarded $15,000 in ser-

“It has a super-saturated colour,

brings a wealth of knowledge and

tion formed in 2013. The VPA has

vices to the prize pack for the Best

really nice big blacks,” says director

experience,” says Sarin. “And more

worked to expand DAVE into a tax

BC Film at the Vancouver Interna-

Jefferson Moneo. “We were going for

so than anything else, what she is

credit that would cover all post-pro-

tional Film Festival (which went to

a modern-noir look to the film and

really good at is bringing her sensi-

duction activities. “Currently what

Andrew Huculiak’s Violent) . 

wanted to do something to show

tivity to the honesty of the scenes.”

is challenging in post-production

Encore Vancouver is a full end-

the prairies in a different light. A

to-end digital post-production and

lot of people think of the prairies



to stay here in BC to finish,” says

VFX studio specializing in high-

as wheat fields and golden sunsets

gy, stresses that even though Encore

Thompson. She says an expansion of

end television content like Mo-

and I wanted to do the opposite.”

is part of a global operation, it’s very

DAVE would be logical as animation

tive, Flash and Arrow as well as

Moneo, who is from Saskatchewan,

local. “Even the history of this build-

and digital effects have intertwined

feature films including recent VIFF

but lives in Vancouver, chose Encore

ing is basically the history of the

with post, requiring similar skill sets

faves Preggoland and Black Fly. Their

because he had worked with staff

film industry in Vancouver,” says

and techniques. “We’ve been work-

studio, located on the site of the for-

colourist Claudio Sepulveda before.

Roos. “We have been part of this

ing for three years with government

mer Rainmaker film laboratory, was

“It was a hundred percent be-

community for thirty years.”

and they made a platform promise

rebranded as Encore by parent com-

cause of Claudio,” says Moneo. “He

Thompson started her career cour-

to include the post-production in the

pany Deluxe Entertainment Ser-

really got what kind of film we were

tesy of a retraining program for tree-

tax credit. We expect it to be on the

vices Group four years ago. Encore

making and the look we wanted.”

planters. She went to Vancouver Film

horizon very soon.” Maybe even in

Thor Roos, who was recently VP


is getting the foreign productions

colour graded the Canadian indie

Award-winning director and direc-

School with a keen interest in cin-

time to help the winner of this year’s

feature Big Muddy, which receives

tor of photography Vic Sarin worked

ematography. Her introduction to the

Borsos Award. n

Reel West Winter 2014


Fe at u re Sto ry

Aerial director and pilot JASON TOTH tweaks the camera on a drone prior to take off.

Drones Strike BC Does New Tech Mean Goodbye Dolly?


Writ t e n By Jo h n Th o ms o n rones, or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV’s), are a boon and

“We just treat them like a dolly or crane,” says Toth. Except, of course,

a bane as far as Jason Toth and his business partner Derek

a dolly or crane can’t go where a drone can. Earlier this year, RVRD was

Heidt are concerned. Toth and Heidt are the principals be-

contracted to service the Disney musical Descendants. The set-up was at the

hind Revered Cinema (RVRD), a BC company that rents out

bottom of North Vancouver’s Lynn Canyon and wrestling a crane over rough

custom-made drones, with cameras and crew, to local and

terrain would have been physically impossible.

visiting production companies. They shoot aerials for a living and don’t like the bad press drones have been attracting. “Everybody wants to fly a camera,” says Toth “but with the explosion of drone popularity, you have tens of thousands of people operating with no

“It started out as a tight shot on the actress and we just travelled up to about 100 to 150 feet and back about 150 feet,” says Toth. “As it pulls up you see the expanse of Lynn Canyon with the waterfall and a beautiful pool.” And this is while the actress is lip-syncing to playback.

rules or regulations or disregarding the laws that are in place. It’s like the

In another shoot, The Age of Adaline, with Blake Lively and Harrison Ford,

Wild West in some parts of the world and it’s extremely dangerous in the

Toth’s drone cruised two feet off the ground, emulating a traditional dolly

wrong hands.”

shot, before rising to a height of 125 feet.

There are now hundreds of flying cameras across Canada. They do everything from surveying right-of-ways, to searching for lost hikers, and

“This is where drones truly rule,” says Toth, “They’re not limited to the ground. The shot would have been impossible to capture any other way.”

photographing real estate. Their prime function is gathering information.

RVRD’s drones can fly up to a maximum of 150 feet at 40 mph for about

Film and TV work is a close second. Stories about drones flying too close

15 minutes of flight time. Producers still need helicopters for those windy,

to airplanes or flying through fireworks don’t help matters and this kind of

high speed sweeps through mountain passes. Drones don’t replace heli-

behavior, he feels, tarnishes the industry. And in the TV and film industry,

copters; they’re just another tool in the toolbox enabling the camera to

drones are now a critical part of the business.

get closer to the action without worrying about rotor downwash and other


Reel West Winter 2014

safety concerns. And safety is ev-

tom-designed MOVI gimbal clones.

erybody’s primary concern.

He’s lined up some jobs, applied for

Toth knows all about safety. Orig-

a Transport Canada SFOC permit,

inally from Newport Beach, Cali-

and is ready to add his company,

fornia, he used to be a professional

Halo Cine, to the mix. “Over the next

snowboarder, risking life and limb in

few years my company will be mak-

those Warren Miller extreme sports

ing a complete transition into drone

films. His business partner, Derek

work,” Dinsmore says.

Heidt, was also a snowboarder.





“Better than me,” Toth says of the

represents 26 BC drone operators -

Calgary native who competed for

pilots, camera operators and assis-

Canada in the 1998 winter Olym-

tants or spotters. The pay scale is

pics. Although hired as a performer,

the same as equivalent positions in

Toth fell in love with the film-mak-

the non-drone world. The union is

ing process and started shooting

very concerned about safety and is

stills and videos on his own.

working with Transport Canada to

Toth attended Vancouver Film

develop a set of safe site practices

School and got a job as a composi-

specific to drones, such as limiting

tor with Rainmaker. It was a job in

the number of non-essential pro-

the industry, but it wasn’t camera

duction people allowed on set or

work, so after awhile he left Van-

increasing the spectrum, or safety

couver to snowboard in Alaska be-

area, the higher up you go.

fore the lure of production brought

“At the end of the day we want

him back to BC.

people to understand the differ-

He and Heidt established Revered

ence between shooting real estate

Cinema in 2012 and now offer two

and shooting a movie. Just having

fully-equipped crews and nine cus-

the UAV experience doesn’t quite

tom-made drones that can travel

get you there,” says IATSE Business

anywhere in Canada. The inven-

Representative Marcus Handman.

tory includes Red and Blackmagic

“It’s a piece of equipment in the air

cameras, Freefly MOVI gimbals and

and it can be dangerous. We don’t

Tomahawk HD transmitters. Four

want anybody hurt.”

of the drones can lift Reds for high-

Transport Canada acknowledges

end commercials and feature work.

that it’s working with IATSE and

Mike Dinsmore is a freelance

other movie stakeholders to carve

Vancouver DP with Yukon Gold, Ice

out industry specific guidelines, but

Pilots and Highway Thru Hell among his credits. He would like to do what

any overall regulations that affect Flying the Reverend Cinema Drone.

UAVs will impact production com-

Jason Toth does, but first he’s cut-

panies as well.

ting his teeth on documentaries and

For industry professionals like

reality television. He researched

ized what I had to do, which was to

small plane pilots accustomed to

Mike Dinsmore about to enter the

drones on the net. It piqued his in-

assemble a professional team.”

flying Cessnas and Piper Cubs as

marketplace and trained to do it

part of his team.

properly, regulation is the price of

terest and he bought the most ex-

Assembling that team took two years of planning and preparation

“My philosophy is to hire over-

doing business. Drones are now used


as he learned the mechanics of the

qualified individuals to pilot,” says

in commercials, industrials, docu-

knowledge whatsoever,” Dinsmore

business while continuing his DP


mentaries, episodic television, reali-

adds. “It’s a steep learning curve. I

work. He taught himself the intrica-

His inventory includes four cus-

got dejected and then quickly real-

cies of radio control and hired two

tom designed drones and four cus-

pensive machine he could find. “With




Photo: Liz KearsLey

Join Reel West Magazine’s Digitally Yours columnist Erica Hargreave for her online course in cross-media strategy and storytelling at BCIT.

Reel West Winter 2014

BCST 1073:

Building & Engaging Communities #StoryToGo @BCITStoryToGo |

ty and features. The demand is there and it’s only going to get busier.


What’s up in Canadian television /CanadianTV @tv_eh

TV, eh? covers news, reviews and interviews about Canadian television shows, with the odd foray into the odd industry that produces them.



Reel West Winter 2014

The cast of Strange Empire (clockwise from top): Cara Gee, Tattiawna Jones, Melissa Farman and Aaron Poole Photos by Phillip Chin

f e at u re sto ry

CBC’s New Western Rides High in BC Strange Empire Shoots New Vision of Canada’s Old West


Writ t e n By N at h an Cade ll n the post Hockey Night era,

what actually happened to women

the CBC roster has lined up

on the prairies.”

a new team of shows and

In Cara Gee’s Kat Loving, the

brought in some new talent

show has a hero who’s not just a

— like adding Vancouverite

“gunslinging badass” (Gee’s words),

restaurateur Vikram Vij to their rat-

the character, like the actress, is Me-

ings monster Dragon’s Den. But the

tis. “The fact that we have a Metis

rookie that’s making the most noise

hero is beyond wonderful,” says Gee,

is the made-in-BC western, Strange

her thoughtfulness evident in every

Empire. Created by veteran writer-

question as she carefully speaks be-

producer Laurie Finstad-Knizhnik

tween sips of coffee. “I feel a great

(Durham County), Strange Empire is

sense of responsibility with that,

set in 1869 in the fictional Janes-

with portraying someone of that

town, a village on the Alberta/Mon-

background, especially in a western.

tana border.

Life was very, very difficult for a lot

The series follows the villainous Captain John Slotter (Aaron Poole) and his wife Isabelle (Tattiawna

of native people back then because Artic Air’s hangar in Aldergrove was tranformed into Janestown for Strange Empire. Photo by Bettina Strauss

Jones) as they try to try to turn the

of the genocide. They were not seen as human. To just survive would have taken enormous strength and

town’s women to prostitution follow-

to represent and tell that story on

ing an “accident” that leaves most of

town an hour and a half north of

direction that’s exciting and maybe

Canadian television, it’s a story I

the men dead. Fighting the good fight

Toronto with a population of under

a bit more representative of who we

think we need to hear.”

are rebellious gunslinger Kat Loving

100. Poole’s a veteran of Canadian

are as a country, because we’re up

(Cara Gee) and the mysterious Dr. Re-

film and TV, known for appearing

to some crazy shit in this country.”

becca Blithely (Melissa Farman).

in several Atom Egoyan films. As a

Finstad-Knizhnik, building

one of the Toronto Film Festival’s

but it’s the

Canadian who takes pride in home-

this Empire is a longtime dream. “I

“Rising Stars” last year for her

Wild West, not Little Mosque on the

grown material, Poole is happily

had a western in the bottom drawer

work in the film Empire of Dirt. Just

Prairie or Heartland. No disrespect to

surprised. “They (the CBC) are trying

for years and years. I wanted to go

as there’s more to her life and ca-

those former bastions of the CBC,

to figure out ‘okay, so we don’t have

back to it because I like genre, I like

reer than her Metis heritage, Gee is

but Strange Empire is exactly that

the NHL, somebody with more mon-

genre because it’s so set up and you

pleased there’s more to the charac-

— a strange and bold new estab-

ey came and scooped up the thing

can take it apart and play around

ter of Kat Loving.

lishment. The show takes two clas-

that we thought we were about,

with it and mess up the clichés and

“She is integrated into the com-

sics — CBC rural dramas and the

but what actually are we about?

stereotypes.” As she shows off the

munity. And the fact that she’s Me-

western genre — and flips both on

Where are we? Who are we?’” Poole

soundstage in the show’s expan-

tis is one aspect of this show, but

their heads. The violence and sub-

offers his answer. “That’s created

sive Aldergrove set, she explains

she’s also completely and totally an

ject material are a new direction

this amazing context for shows like

her show’s central conceit. “I really

individual and she’s not represent-

for the broadcaster, while a western

Camp X, shows like this, comedy

wanted to break the stereotype of

ing something. I find that some-

dominated by women is largely un-

like Schitt’s Creek. Stuff with balls.

the doctor, the Indian princess, the

times, not sometimes, often, in the

explored terrain.

And that’s not slagging on what

mama, the virgin, the whore. So I

western genre, native people are ei-

Aaron Poole, who plays Slotter,

we’ve done before, what we’ve done

spent a lot of time reading journals

ther historically horribly misrepre-

is a native of Lakehurst, Ontario, a

before was necessary. This is a new

and histories and reading about

sented or played in a sort of version

This is a western,

Reel West Winter 2014


Gee is no stranger to the Canadian spotlight. She was branded


of black face. So to sort of reclaim that has been phenomenal.” On the flip side of Loving is Isabelle Slotter, played by Tattiawna Jones. Though her character is in a very different situation than Gee’s, she was also attracted to the show because of the way it represents women and the kind of women being represented. “We got the script and I read it and it was a story about women in the west, which you don’t

“To just survive would have taken enormous strength and to represent and tell that story on Canadian television, it’s a story I think we need to hear.”

- C a Ra G ee

often hear about,” says the native of Manitouwadge, a small mining town five hours north of Thunder Bay. “When I was cast I thought ‘How great, what an opportunity,’ because when I think of women in the west I think very stereotypically - white women, blonde, whatever. But then I heard about this cast and who they cast and I went ‘Oh this is a different story.’ It’s still the west, but it’s the story of these specific women. And there are many accounts of women who are very much like us in history.” With the subject matter being what it is, Gee admits it can be a tough process getting into character every day. Asked what scenes were the toughest to film she replies, “Every fucking scene…


Loving is living a nightmare. She’s in hell… It’s a very dark show, but

MElissa Farman (Rebecca) and Cara Gee (Kat). Photo by Bettina Strauss

I think we’re getting at something very important. It’s not about try-

“When we arrived we were just re-

their sense of the epic. A show like

With a massive set, numerous

ing to bring people down with the

ally excited that we were going to be

Lost, or I was in Game Change for

high-calibre actors and a whole

darkness. It’s about how to live, how

able to live here for six months and I

HBO, but this is 1869 and it’s com-

village transformed for the show,

do we live, how was our society cre-

think the reality of shooting a show

pletely mesmerising. We’ve created

Strange Empire seems to be an accu-

ated, why do we live the way that

and shooting a period show you dis-

a whole new world.”

rate title. But with all that’s at play,

we do? How can we be better?”

cover things that hadn’t come to life

As for Finstad-Knizhnik, she’s

what’s happening might be best

The only non-Canadian lead Me-

in history books,” says Farman with

still surprised that the broadcaster

summed up in a hashtag accord-

lissa Farman, a native of New York

an unplacable accent that forma-

took the chance on her show. “I

ing to Poole. “The best hashtag I can

raised in Paris, wasn’t sure what

tive years spent in France will do

think it’s just a new vision, a really

think of is ‘#Lostpucksfoundballs,’”

to expect of the Canadian produc-

to a young New Yorker. “I’ve never

wonderful new vision, of what we

says Poole, howling with laughter

tion. Although her mother is Cana-

done this time period. I’ve been on

can do as a public broadcaster tell-

before becoming dead serious again.

dian, she’d never been to Vancouver.

a lot of projects that certainly had

ing Canadian stories.”

“Because that’s what’s happening.” n

The Definitive Producing Workbook Providing a comprehensive overview of national and provincial funding bodies and engaging stories and words of wisdom by seasoned producers.

Order your copy today!

call: 604.553.1335 email:


Reel West Winter 2014

D i gi ta l ly Yo u r s

Weathering Social Media Storms and Trolls By Eri c a Hargre ave


t was a dark and stormy night

ing.’ As a media storytelling prof, I

and the worst of the night-

tried to post a middle of the road

mare was not outside, but on

suggestion, that we refrain from

our digital devices. Social media

passing judgments and spreading

can be a powerful storytelling tool

rumours before we knew the facts.

for social good, but it can be equal-

Apparently that was not as in-

ly as destructive a force, especially

nocuous a post as I thought, and

during a social media storm, as we

as debate broke out on my post I

saw in October.

acquired my own troll. Sadly, this

With the shootings on Parlia-

was not a singular story. If you

ment Hill, an Alberta journalist

ever wanted to see angry Cana-

shared a Facebook post on her

dians, this was the hot topic. The

disgust at a Cold Lake Mosque be-

debate on my Facebook post was

ing vandalized in response to the

mild compared to most. Further

events in Ottawa. To her shock the

fuelling this storm, and arguably

catherine a. Sas, Q.c.

post received over 700 comments,

as dangerous as the trolls, were

Registered Foreign Legal Consultant with the State Bar of California

not all of which were positive. She

media attention seekers fanning

found her post was amidst the so-

the flames to get on TV and in-

For more information please call 604.687.2242

cial media storm caused by the

crease their web traffic.

added experience. added clarity. added value.

shooting, of people guessing who

So what do you do when you

to blame for the events in Ottawa.

find yourself amidst such a social

While she wanted to encourage

media storm or under attack by a

conversation, some of it was hate-


ful, so she found herself deleting the most offensive comments. The same day, I sat listening to the opening panel of StoryWorld

Reply back and see if you can

• Permanent Resident Applications • Business Applications: Entrepreneur and Self-Employed

Miller Thomson LLP vancouver calgary edmonton saskatoon regina london kitchener-waterloo guelph toronto markham montréal

Disengage. MT_Reel West Digest Ad_v6.indd Erase any highly offensive posts,

after taking a screenshot, in case

panelist address what to do about

you need it for the police.

persistent, negative attacks by

Block repeat offenders.

an individual online. The well-

Change the story on your feed

meaning panelist suggested every

by beginning to share different

conversation could be made posi-


tive by replying. This had me hop-

Click the ‘I don’t want to see

ping in my seat because while this

this.’ option on your social me-

would be lovely if it were true, it

dia feeds around content that is

simply is not.

stressing you out.

There are what are termed

Switch off your devices and

‘trolls’ online who, no matter what

spend some quality time in the

you say, will only hear what they

real world.

want and will persist with nega-

It’s not healthy for any of us to

tivity. With such individuals the

engage constantly in a negative en-

best thing you can do is to simply

vironment, so if that is what is hap-

disengage with them. On occasion

pening on your social media, never

I have even blocked individuals

be afraid to take action to protect

from our storytelling feeds when

yourself and your audience.

they persisted in responding to

On the note of more upbeat sto-

our stories in a manner that de-

ries, feel free to tweet us @reel-

stroyed the story’s enjoyment for

westmag, and I’m sure we can find

both our audience and ourselves.

some positive Canadian stories to share with you. n

my panel. And as the conference closed, the first hints of Ghome-

Erica Hargreave gets her kicks out of

shi-gate began hitting the news

weaving stories across platforms, and

feeds and Canada’s social media

teaching cross-platform storytelling

broke out into a massive storm of

and digital media at BCIT and around

‘he said - she said - we’re guess-

the world.

Reel West Winter 2014

• Work Permits

turn the conversation around.

Quest in Edmonton and heard a

I was glad I’d addressed this on

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T h e W indow

Directors  share  their  favourite  acts


w rit t e n By Mark Le ire n-Yo u ng y favourtie part

It’s not the rehearsals, or the shoot-

I, coming up with a concept that

there ‘cause they’ve got a good sto-

of interviewing

ing, or the preproduction. The only

we love and just trying to subvert

ry, there was a good story to be told.



thing I can tell you is there’s one part

it, you know? Take what is an es-

So I focus a lot on the writing.”



of it that’s the dullest part that I don’t

tablished convention and twist it



like -- and that’s the mix. That’s where

on its head. You know what they

Michael McGowan

why they do what they do. What do

you put all the soundtracks together.

say, they say there are only a cer-

Score: A Hockey Musical

they love about it? So almost every

But other than that, everything else

tain amount of stories and they’ve

“The most real part is the writing.

time I’ve interviewed a director I’ve

is fun. You’ve always got the specific-

all been told before. And all it is

The most fun is directing - you’re

asked about their favourite part of

ity of what you’re doing -whether it’s

is rehashing that same story, but

the closest to being a rock star that

making a movie.

in the shooting style, whether it’s the

dressing it differently. And that is

you’re ever going to be.”

Kevin Smith (aka Silent Bob and

way you want to cast it. It’s the won-

true. And Leigh and I always try to

the Vancouver Film School’s most

derful thing about our work, that it’s

make the effort, man. Sometimes

Jean-Pierre Jeunet

famous dropout) joked that his fa-

never boring.”

we fail, sometimes we succeed, but


we definitely make the effort to try

“Everything. It’s true. I love to write.

vourite part of making a movie is the question and answer session

Lasse Hallstrom

and do something that feels fresh.

I love to shoot. I love to rehearse. I

after it screens. Or maybe he wasn’t

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

I think that’s very important. It’s

love everything - because I love so

joking. This is a guy who does Q&As

“It starts to become more and more

okay to sit down and think about

much to make. I am really a film-

– minus the movies - where he’ll

shooting. It used to be something I

a movie and think about what’s

maker. When I was eight I built a

field questions for anywhere from

hated or really had a problem with

something different that someone

small theatre with puppets and my

four to eight hours.

because it was a combination of

hasn’t seen before?”

parents paid to see the theatre. I

Here are a few of my other favou-

war and circus. But now I’m enjoy-

rite answers. The credit for each di-

ing it more and more. It used to be

Amy Berg

was producer too. But I love to make – the sound, the picture, the colour,

rector (many of whom wear multiple

my least favourite part. Editing is

West of Memphis

everything. All the process.”

hats on their projects) indicates the

probably still the most fun, because

I love the research. I love shooting. I

Jeunet was so excited when we

movie I was meeting them about.

that’s when I really start directing.”

love writing. I love editing. I think if

talked that I had to ask if there was

someone had to make me pick one,

anything he disliked about making

Sidney Lumet

Richard Linklater

it would probably be editing - but I


Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead

Waking Life

can’t do that without all the other

“No.” Then he reconsidered, rat-


I feel lucky because I

“The fun part’s working with the ac-

stuff. And I do love really getting a

tled off some rapid fire French to the

can’t think of a better profession. I

tors, coming up with all the business.”

good interview. I like it all.”

translator and turned back to me

to spend their time. I’m sure there are

James Wan

Michael Moore

ration is less interesting because

better professions, better ways for


Capitalism: A Love Story

sometimes you can’t find a set, you

people to spend their time, but I can’t

“The best part is always, for Leigh

“I’m a writer. My filmmaking comes

can’t find an actress. That’s not my

see it… There’s no best time for me.

(Whannell, his writing partner) and

from my writing. All good films are

favourite part, the preparation.” n

can’t think of a better way for anybody

to continue in English. “The prepa-

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Reel West Magazine Winter 2014  

A trade publication for the Film and Digital Production world. This issue focuses on films that will be screened at the Whistler Internation...

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A trade publication for the Film and Digital Production world. This issue focuses on films that will be screened at the Whistler Internation...

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