Faces of BC Film – Kellie Ann Benz’ movie Naked Night Bike premieres on IndieFlix

Maude (Jennifer McLean) and Bertrand (Kris Elgstrand) try to relate in Naked Night Bike.

Maude (Jennifer McLean) and Bertrand (Kris Elgstrand) try to relate in Naked Night Bike.

Generally, menopause is no laughing matter, especially if you experience symptoms at as early as age 40. Vancouver filmmaker Kellie Ann Benz was diagnosed with the condition sooner than she ever imagined and didn’t know who to talk to. What was worse, her boyfriend at the time got cold feet and the relationship ended dramatically.

“It was clear that menopause evokes this panicky reaction in people, as if aging is contagious and that it was just one of those realities of life that no one wanted to talk about,” says Benz. “The whole experience made me feel like my ‘market value’ had plummeted and yet here I was, still in this world, still vital in so many ways, still loving, still attracted, still attractive, yet now very aware that I belonged to a different club of women. It was such a weird time that I knew a movie had to be made.” Continue reading

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Faces of BC Film: Suzette Laqua and the inaugural Vancouver Web Fest

VWF logoOur digital lifestyle is moving with seven-league boots and sometimes our decisions have to be made accordingly. And so it happened when Suzette Laqua decided within a few seconds to produce Vancouver’s first web series festival, which will take place May 2nd-4th at the Imperial Vancouver (formerly District 319, at 319 Main St.)

The Vancouver Web Fest celebrates “the progressive evolution of entertainment and programming created exclusively for the Internet.” Screenings showcase a wide range of Canadian and international web series including comedy, drama, documentaries, thrillers, animation and more. The weekend also features industry panels, parties, life performances and an awards gala. Continue reading

Television stars Brent Butt, Ali Liebert to present own film productions at Whistler Film Fest

Brent Butt In the November/December 2013 issue of Reel West Magazine, it’s all about the Whistler Film Festival, which is happening Dec. 4-8. I had the privilege to discuss two premiering films with the makers and actors. TV comedy and stand-up star Brent Butt teams up with indie filmmaker Carl Bessai for the crime comedy No Clue (p.16ff). Vancouver’s Sociable Films launch their first feature, Afterparty, at Whistler. The film was made cooperatively, with cast and crew sharing in the ownership of the production. Starring Bomb Girls Ali Liebert and Jodi Balfour (p. 18ff).

Faces of BC Film – Michael van den Bos, film history teacher, film critic and classic movie host

Cherished for 40 years: Michael van den Bos holds the book "The Art of Walt Disney" by Christopher Finch, which was given to him in 1973.

Cherished for 40 years: Michael van den Bos holds the book “The Art of Walt Disney” by Christopher Finch, which was given to him in 1973. Photo: Katja De Bock

***update – in 2015, Michael van den Bos is hosting the Cinematheque Cinema Sunday series “THE SPIRIT OF ADVENTURE,” a yearlong celebration of adventure movies for all ages to enjoy.
On Saturday, Jan. 31, Michael will host a panel (and intro the film) about Back to The Future, in honour of the film’s 30th anniversary at the SPARK FWD 2015 Conference.
Michael will also be hosting more ‘Dancing in the Dark’ compilations at the Vancity Theatre. This show is “an exhilarating waltz through the history of movie musicals, celebrating the interplay between choreography and camera moves by such deft directors of dance delirium as Busby Berkeley, Vincente Minnelli, Stanley Donen, Charles Walters, Bob Fosse, Herbert Ross and Baz Lurhmann.” Enjoy! ***

When Rosemarie and Klaas van den Bos gave their young son Michael The Art of Walt Disney on Christmas Eve in 1973, little did they know the book would not only inspire him to a lifelong love and study of film history, but ultimately delight and educate thousands of Vancouver moviegoers and film students.

If you live in Vancouver and love seeing classic movies on the big screen, you will most likely have experienced Michael van den Bos’ film introductions at the Cinematheque’s Cinema Sundays or pre-concert talks at the Orpheum or the Stanley TheatreContinue reading

Faces of BC Film – Braden Haggerty, underwater cinematographer

Braden Haggerty. Photo: Herb DeWaal

Braden Haggerty. Photo: Herb DeWaal

Braden Haggerty, 46, specialized in underwater cinematography as one of three specialists in Metro Vancouver. The married mother of two teenage sons lives in Vancouver’s Dunbar area. She invested years in training to become a respected underwater cinematographer, a position not obvious for women, she says.

Haggerty is passionate about her job. “Suspension of disbelief is pretty strong in the water,” she says, for example when you see film characters fall into seemingly arctic water and still perform their tasks. In real life, they would have been in cold shock immediately, whereas on set, they can swim in a water tank heated up to 32 C. Continue reading

Faces of BC Film – Alvin Sanders, Actor

Alvin Sanders. Photo: Katja De Bock

Alvin Sanders. Photo: Katja De Bock

Alvin Sanders, 61, is an American actor who moved to B.C. for love 30 years ago. As the president of the Union of B.C. Performers, Sanders is used to speaking to crowds.

At a meeting of different union members in New Westminster on Feb. 13, Sanders moderated the evening, speaking to the audience with a deep, warm voice, which evokes memories of a U.S. TV-reverend and Santa Claus. Continue reading

Faces of BC Film – Mykel Thuncher, film colourist

Mykel Thuncher. Photo: Jennifer Thuncher

Mykel Thuncher. Photo: Jennifer Thuncher

Employment agencies such as the YWCA and Mosaic provide job seekers with career orientation courses and assistance in cover letter and resume writing.

But are these courses useful for film industry workers with highly specialized skills?

Mykel Thuncher is one film industry worker who was brutally forced to re-orientate. Thuncher, 48, a colourist from Burnaby, was laid off after 20 years of steady employment.  Continue reading