October 31, 2005

Doc Talk

I spent most of last week at Doc Talk, (aka Hot Docs Forum-West), with Barry Lank. The purpose of Doc Talk is "...to highlight the Western Canadian documentary production community to broadcasters from around the world," and to "... promote Western Canada as a centre for excellence in leading-edge documentary production."

The centre piece of the whole event is the pitching forum. Twelve projects are selected, from God-only-knows-how-many submitted from the Ontario-Manitoba boarder to the far western shore of Vancouver Island, and pitched by the filmmakers to a round table of broadcasters representing every major television and digital cable channel in North America. Each project is given fifteen minutes, out of which you get seven minutes to pitch and the broadcasters get eight minutes to respond and/or offer criticisms and feedback. The 'round table' is actually a series of tables arranged in a big circle on the floor of the Roundhouse theatre. Doc Talk 'delegates,' (other filmmakers), look down on the grim gladiatorial proceedings from the relative comfort of the bleachers as you pitch your film-in-the-making to these gatekeepers.

Barry and I actually performed very, very well despite the fact that we have not seen each other in over two years. He flew in to Vancouver about 36 hours before our pitch, and we worked out our routine over my notebook computer in his hotel room. The project has evolved since I wrote the original concept nearly four years ago, and since CTV committed development funding back in June of this year. The current working title is, 'Marked for Life.' It's a film about people who have chosen to be decorated not disfigured by their scars and will explore how their scars have transformed who they are and become part of their persona.

Thank you.

October 25, 2005


Okay, so 'On a Sunday' didn't win at the VIFF. The Bravo!FACT award went to Vancouver filmmaker Jaime Travis (who I saw on West 4th Avenue today, but that's another story) and his film 'Patterns', which no one on our team got a chance to see.

And apparently my feeling that the films were well attended was well founded, as the VIFF for 2005 set box office records.

October 14, 2005

Last Day

The 24th annual Vancouver International Film Festival closes tonight. It's been a whirlwind of great film, good people, meetings and screenings, and it hardly feels like two whole weeks ago that Esther and I were wandering the jazzy, under-the-sea atmosphere of the Vancouver Aquarium at the Opening Night Gala, sipping wine and shmoozing.

I managed to catch a number of great films (of the several hundred offered) including a mostly BC shorts program called 'Little Things,' 'Favela Rising,' a fantastic documentary and 'Lucid,' the second feature offering from Winnipeg filmmaker, Sean Garrity. There is an almost ravenous appetite for film in this city, and every film I went to was well attended.

Our sold-out screening at the band new Vancity Theatre in the Vancouver International Film Centre was stellar. The projectionist was fantastic, seguing from one film to another without a single glitch, which is not an easy thing to do given the varied formats of the nine short films in the program. 'On a Sunday' never looked, or sounded, better. I would have liked to shake the projectionist's hand, but alas, they work in complete anonymity. Too often the opposite is true, like at the LA Shorts Fest when our film, 'Flickering Blue,' was projected with the wrong aspect ratio and appeared blurry and dark.

The winner of the Bravo!FACT award will be announced at tonight's closing gala, and while 'On a Sunday' is on the short list, I did manage to take in some our competitor films and... well, I'll keep my fingers crossed anyhow. You just never know. At any rate, it's an honour to be in such good company.