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

Full house at Kerrisdale Women’s Safety Workshop

Three weeks and no charges have been laid in the case of Julie Paskall, the hockey mom who was beaten to death at a community centre in Surrey. The soon five-year-old murder of Wendy Ladner-Beaudry in Pacific Spirit Park as well as the mysterious sexual assault series at the UBC campus are equally unsolved.

Not a good idea: focussing on your smart phone in a back alley. Photo: Katja De Bock

Not a good idea: focussing on your smart phone in a back alley. Photo: Katja De Bock

Even though crimes nationwide are generally decreasing, sexual assaults and other violence against women tend to stay steady. 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

Rick Peterson bids for leadership of BC Conservative Party

From left: BC Conservative politicians Bill Clarke, Rick Peterson, Sean Upshaw. Photo: Katja De Bock

From left: BC Conservative politicians Bill Clarke, Rick Peterson, Sean Upshaw at the press conference in Vancouver on September 23, 2013. Photo: Katja De Bock

Surrounded by his supporters, former Vancouver-Quilchena candidate Rick Peterson, 59, announced his bid for the leadership of the BC Conservative Party at Terminal City Club today.

Peterson, a Vancouver business man and former BC Liberal, who was in the running as a candidate for the BC provincial elections in 2012, before opting out and passing the torch to veteran politician Bill Clarke, said Continue reading

St. John Hospice opens at UBC

St. John Hospice

St. John Hospice

Hundreds of people celebrated the opening of St. John Hospice, a new 14-bed facility located on the University of British Columbia campus on Friday.

The first community hospice on Vancouver’s West Side was conceived and built by the Sovereign Order of St. John of Jerusalem, Knights Hospitaller, Continue reading