Martin Glegg on the magical realist film with a western twist, Unicorn Code

Martin Glegg, Partner and Director at Wallop Film is a writer-director based in British Columbia. Passionate about impactful storytelling, Martin draws from unique perspectives and an education in Human Ecology to immerse himself into the art of storytelling.

 

Photography by Matt Lawrence Dix

 

Wallop Film has collaborated with celebrated brands, agencies, and crews such as BBC, Monocle, lululemon, Destination Canada and more. Martin recently brought the award-winning script for Unicorn Code to life, a story about two teenage girls who discover an escaped unicorn in an abandoned lumberyard site. The animal is distressed and the girls quickly have to decide what is in the best interest of the creature. The story rapidly unfolds to become a tale about human empowerment, the boundaries of genetic engineering, and ‘our’ sacred relationship with nature. We spoke with Martin about the upcoming project.

 

How did you get into filmmaking?

My journey to becoming a filmmaker started when my dad would bring home his work’s VHS camera on the weekends. I’d force my younger siblings to act in these mini “masterpieces” on non-union rates. Around the age of 21 I saw a film at the theatre by the director, Ken Loach. I loved the realism and it felt so different from Hollywood. Loach showed me how it was possible to tell impactful stories about people who usually aren’t seen on the big screen. I hadn’t really watched anything like that before and it kind of blew my mind. It was a very emotive experience and that made me want to tell stories.

 

Tell us about Unicorn Code, how did the story come to you?

Unicorn Code is kind of hard one to describe but let’s say it’s a magical realist film with a western twist. I was born in Scotland where the national animal is a unicorn, which is pretty amazing on a number of levels. I wrote the screenplay after researching mythological stories around how unicorns would be lured and captured. I also loved how unicorns perfectly represented all that is sacred about nature and I realized there was an opportunity to re-tell these old fables, but with a contemporary twist.

 

Photography by Matt Lawrence Dix

 

Who is the team behind bringing Unicorn Code to life? 

Our producer, Katherine Koniecki and the team at Wallop Film brought together the most incredible cast and crew for this shoot. Farhad Ghaderi, our cinematographer was heavily influential in bringing the vision to life. Nahéma Ricci and Julia Sarah Stone played the story’s leads and I couldn’t have asked for more from them. Although, I have to say our star player was Regalo the horse, he stole the show.

 

You produced Unicorn Code this past summer, can you tell us about how you adapted during this time?

As a filmmaker you get used to having to adapt to unforeseen circumstances, it’s part of the game, but planning an indie production during a pandemic was one task that pushed our team to our limits. After a lot of postponing we were eventually one of the first productions out the gates and this was key to us securing such a talented crew. Wallop Film learned a lot about how to film in this new COVID safe environment.

 

Photography by Matt Lawrence Dix

 

How do you stay creative?

I try to stay creative by allowing myself time to read and spend time with inspiring people. In some ways, being creative has never been a problem for me. It’s allocating the energy in ways that can keep me focused on one particular project. There are so many distractions out there and sometimes you can forget about why you wanted to become a filmmaker in the first place. Slowing down and taking time to focus can help me align my creativity with my mission as a filmmaker. It’s a work in progress.

 

What’s your filmmaking mission? Name the most important thing you want viewers to experience when watching your movies.

For me, cinema is about stepping into other people’s shoes. As a filmmaker, I have always gravitated to telling other people’s stories. Filmmaking is a way to intimately explore different characters’ stories and through that I can expand my interpretation of the world. I think visually, so films have been a vital way for me to learn about life and what is important. I hope my work can do that for others.

 

 

Photography by Matt Lawrence Dix

 


 

Website: www.martinglegg.com | wallopfilm.com

Social: @wallop.film

Binge #WatchBC

Watch the best from made-in-British Columbia films and TV series this winter. Here is a list of 21 titles made here in B.C. available to watch on Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, CBC Gem and more.

 

FILMS

To All the Boys I've Loved Before review: Netflix's latest charms - Vox

 

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, Netflix

Lara Jean Covey is a teenage girl who writes love letters when she gets a crush too big to handle but she never actually sends them. One day her deepest secrets are revealed and she creates an elaborate plan to save herself from being too embarrassed but it all goes pear-shaped when it turns into more than fake. Watch To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before 1 and 2 on Netflix.

 

Indian Horse, CBC Gem

The film follows Saul Indian Horse as he survives residential school and the racism of the 1970s. A talented hockey player, Saul must find his own path as he battles stereotypes and alcoholism.

 

The Body Remembers When The World Broke Open Interview: Kathleen Hepburn and Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers | by Seana Stevenson | MUFF Blog | Medium

 

The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open, CBC Gem

After a chance encounter on a busy street, a woman decides to bring a pregnant domestic abuse victim home and encourages her to seek help to navigate the aftermath of the traumatic event.

 

Red Snow, CBC Gem 

Dylan, a Gwich’in soldier from the Canadian Arctic, is caught in an ambush in Kandahar, Afghanistan. His capture and interrogation by a Taliban Commander releases a cache of memories connected to the love and death of his Inuit cousin, Asana, and binds him closer to a Pashtun family as they escape across treacherous landscapes and through a blizzard that becomes their key to survival.

 

Beyond Human Power, CBC Gem 

Edzi’u and Dut Zi Zi Sus Loverin are separated by two decades in age, but they’re close. Edzi’u was in the room when her younger sister was born and smiles at the memory. Dut Zi Zi Sus often looks on her elder sister for guidance when she isn’t sure what to do next, burying her face in their hugs for comfort.

 

Film: Mixed↑ debuting on OUTtv and OUTtvGo on November 11th | EILE Magazine

Mixed↑ (or MixedUp), OutTV & OutTVGo

Mixed↑ (MixedUp) follows Howard J Davis aka Haui in his feature film directing debut, as he navigates what it means to be BIPOC and LGTBQ+. Haui’s mixed-up manifesto demands that we celebrate the exist.

 

Christmas in Evergreen, Hallmark Channel and W Network

About Christmas in Evergreen But when a storm shuts down the airport, she crosses path with a doctor and his daughter. What transpires will give them all a Christmas more magical than they could’ve imagined. Starring

 

Last Stand to Nowhere, Amazon Prime (US), Vimeo On Demand (Canada)

The Earp sisters and Doc Holliday resolve to eliminate the Clanton Gang problem in the only way they know how, at the end of a gun barrel, in this all-female re-imagining of the Gunfight at the OK Corral.

 

Daughter, Amazon Prime Video

In the aftermath of his daughter’s death, Jim is living a life of isolation and self-destruction until he can no longer hide and must face his tragic past.

 

Volition': Meet Adrian Glynn McMorran, Magda Apanowicz and rest of the cast of the supernatural thriller | MEAWW

Volition, Amazon Prime Video

A man afflicted with clairvoyance tries to change his fate when a series of events leads to a vision of his own imminent murder.

 

The Butterfly Affect, VIFF Connect, from December 18 until January 14

The Butterfly Affect follows a worm trying to make its way in a world built for butterflies.

 

B.C. Indigenous supernatural mystery Monkey Beach gets theatrical release in Vancouver | Georgia Straight Vancouver's News & Entertainment Weekly

Monkey Beach, Releasing on Crave on Jan 6th

A young woman with supernatural abilities reflects on profound events in her life as she awaits news of her brother, who has gone missing at sea under questionable circumstances.

 


 

TV SERIES

Van Helsing, SYFY

 

Travellers, Netflix

 

Chesapeake Shores Siblings - Photos - 13 | Chesapeake Shores

Chesapeake Shores, Hallmark

 

DC Legends of Tomorrow, The CW

 

Supergirl, The CW

 

Riverdale season 5: Filming could start in August or September

Riverdale, The CW/Netflix

 

 

The new Twilight Zone is riddled with references and easter eggs to the original series

Twilight Zone, CBS

 

Supernatural, The CW/Netflix

 

Save the Planet Already! - The Green Channel

Save the Planet Already!, The Green Channel

#WatchBC: The Princess Switch: Switched Again

 

THE PRINCESS SWITCH: SWITCHED AGAIN follows, Duchess Margaret, played by Vanessa Hudgens, who unexpectedly inherits the throne to Montenaro and hits a rough patch with boyfriend Kevin, it’s up to her double, Princess Stacy, to get these star-crossed lovers back together.

The picture finishing of the holiday sequel was achieved by Technicolor Vancouver. Senior Colourist Anne Boyle worked closely with Director Mike Rohl and Cinematographer Fernando Argüelles to deliver the warm atmosphere. The end-result is a soft and romantic look, beautifully lit and true to the design of the images, which include distinctive Scottish landscapes and beautiful period costume detailing.

“Working with Anne was a pleasure,” said Rohl. “I was impressed by her professional approach, her obvious technical expertise, but more importantly her keen artistic eye.” The film was completed during the COVID-19 and Technicolor quickly adapted, putting measures in place to provide a safe environment for both clients and their team.

THE PRINCESS SWITCH: SWITCHED AGAIN is now streaming on Netflix.

Eight B.C. feature films to watch at Whistler Film Festival 2020

Whistler Film Festival 2020 will be presented as an online experience from December 1-20, 2020, featuring film premieres, filmmaker and talent talks, and industry initiatives all scheduled for streaming convenience. The lineup will include up to 30 new feature films and five short film programs. Available across Canada for the first time, here are eight #WatchBC titles you can stream from the comfort of your home this December.

SUGAR DADDY (Dir. Wendy Morgan)


SUGAR DADDY follows the story of Darren – a wickedly talented and unconventional young musician who dreams of making music like nobody has ever heard before. But she’s broke, juggling multiple part-time jobs, and has no time to create. Desperate for cash, she signs up to a sugar daddy paid-dating website and throws herself down a dark rabbit hole that forces her to grow up fast, shaping her music, and how she sees the world.

 


ALL IN MADONNA (Dir. Arnold Lim)

Maddie is a seventeen year-old teenager who has been homeschooled since childhood. Maddie has been raised with her younger sister by a rather hard-edged father Paul in a remote rural area in a rainforest. When she insists that the time has come to attend public school and make friends, she finds that her father’s warnings that it will not be so easy start to make sense. The community seems to have a rather negative view of Maddie’s family, and seems to believe that Paul has been involved in a murder. Maddie is forced to look at her father in a whole new way, and must reconcile the man she thought she knew with the man that he might well be.

 



AN INTROVERTS GUIDE TO HIGHSCHOOL
(Dir. Sophie Harvey)


A very funny fast-paced first feature from Sophie Harvey, WFF almuna producer Rachel Talalay’s daughter. The film takes a very funny look at a six week course offered in American high schools to help students prepare for their SAT tests.

 



THE DECLINE (Dir. Kayvon Saremi & Sean Patrick Shaul)


An insider’s guide to life in the streets of drug-ravaged East Vancouver, THE DECLINE actually points to something that is surprising for people who don’t live in Vancouver but have visited or heard of the opioid crisis ravaging the city. The fact is that there are activists and residents who are actively working to get the government to pay better attention to the area’s problems. Users are interviewed, some of them quite lucid when it comes to the possible outcomes of the choices they are making. As the film points out, surprisingly, there is a sense of community in the neighbourhood.

 


IN HER CITY (Dir. Carl Bessai)

Regular WFF contributor BC filmmaker Carl Bessai has been experimenting with storytelling form and structure ever since his first film JOHNNY (1999), about squeegee kids in Toronto. In film after film like MOTHERS & DAUGHTERS, FATHERS & SONS, and SISTERS & BROTHERS, Bessai has been approaching a short story perspective where improvisation and pointed character unveiling have made working on his films an actor’s dream. But here,­ he has outdone himself.

 


INDIAN ROAD TRIP (Dir. A.W. Hopkins)


This is a comic tall-tale about two Indigenous con artists, forced to drive a cranky elder across the reserve so she can make peace with her dying sister. Along the way, they encounter what might be supernatural forces and a stash of stolen loot in a car seat from a wreck they come across.

 


MERCY (Dir. Sam Flamont)

Shot in Regina, and financed by the Telefilm Talent Fund, this is an astute first feature from Sam Flamont about a young man named Finn who is sent to a medium-security prison for six months for killing a wounded deer. Finn is a quiet boy who likes to keep to himself, but there are some very scary fellows in the prison., including big hairy men who threaten the lives and the sexuality of their fellow inmates.

 



THE WHISPER OF SILENCE  
(Dir. Alfonso Quijada)


Josefina Moreno has been working in the coffee fields of Central America since the age of ten. Over the years, she has developed an old factory expertise that allows her to evaluate and appreciate coffee beans with precision. This has come in handy as she has grown up within the industry. Now that she is 18, she is coveted, acting as a coffee taster in coffee bean competitions and sought out by coffee companies to work on their behalf identifying the best beans for cultivation and export.

Attend Whistler Film Festival

Access Reelworld, the new national database strengthening diversity and inclusion in Canada’s motion picture industry

Tonya Williams is leading the mission to diversify Canada’s screen-based industries with the new database, Access Reelworld. Launched summer 2020, the database is creating access and inclusion for Black, Indigenous, Asian, South Asian, Middle Eastern, Latin American creatives and communities in the Canadian entertainment industry.

With the intention to correct the lack of representation of people of colour in the film and television industry, Tonya wants to open up these spaces to create and strengthen opportunities for racially diverse creatives both in front and behind the camera.

 

Courtesy of Access Reelworld

 

“Since founding Reelworld in 2000 it has been my desire to have a national database. You have to know where the talent is to be able to hire them. I created Access Reelworld as the platform for Black, Indigenous, People of Colour creatives to be in one place where not only can the Canadian industry find them, but the USA and International productions can find and hire our great diverse talent. We have many co-production treaties and many of those countries are struggling with their own diversity issues.  Canada and Access Reelworld can be the shining example of how other countries can improve their diversity hires.  I say to all our Canadian racially diverse talent, it’s up to you now.  The ball is in your court.  You have to sign up so that the industry can find you!”

Tonya Williams

 

 

In a matter of a few weeks, the database has already been populated with over 500 names of people of colour working in departments like costume design, cinematography, and animation, where current and upcoming productions can reach out to fill roles on their teams.

Tonya is no stranger to driving social change in the industry. This year marks the 20th year of Reelworld Film Festival and Reelscreen Institute, incubators and champions of diverse filmmakers. Access Reelworld is rather an antidote to the lack of diversity and representation Tonya found in the industry. With optimism, Tonya believes the changing narrative for Canadian Black, Indigenous and people of colour can catalyze change in how the Canadian motion picture industry operates.

Access Reelworld is owned by Reelworld Film Festival and Reelworld Foundation also known as Reelworld Screen Institute. To find out more visit www.reelworld.ca

#WATCHBC online at VIFF 2020

British Columbia’s biggest annual celebration of cinema, VIFF, is just around the corner. From September 24 – October 7th, film lovers province-wide will enjoy over 100 feature films and events showcasing exciting, groundbreaking and provocative cinema and creators from around the globe. For the first time, audiences across B.C. can watch VIFF curated cinema and viewers around the world can tune into VIFF Talks and Conferences via VIFF’s new online streaming platform, VIFF Connect.

Curated below are the 21 B.C. films selected for this year’s festival. Purchase passes and tickets to VIFF 2020 here

 

Benny's Best Birthday Image

Benny’s Best Birthday, Benjamin Schuetze

 

Brother, I Cry Image
Brother, I Cry, Jessie Anthony

 

Cake Day Image
Cake Day, Phillip Thomas

 

Canucks Riot II Image
Canucks Riot II, Lewis Bennett

 

Chained Image
Chained, Titus Heckel

 

Cosmic Image
Cosmic, Meredith Hama-Brown

 

The Curse of Willow Song Image
The Curse of Willow Song, Karen Lam

 

Deeper I Go Image
Deeper I Go, Michael P. Vidler

 

First Person Shooter Image

First Person Shooter, Cole Kush

 

Fucking Idiots Image

Fucking Idiots, David Milchard

 

Laura Image

Laura, Kaayla Whachell

 

The Magnitude of All Things Image
The Magnitude of All Things, Jennifer Abbott

 

Falling Image

Monkey Beach, Loretta Sarah Todd

 

The New Corporation: The Unfortunately Necessary Sequel Image

The New Corporation: The Unfortunately Necessary Sequel, Joel Bakan, Jennifer Abbott

 

A New Leash on Life Image

A New Leash on Life, Daniel Jeffery

 

Nuxalk Radio Image
Nuxalk Radio, Banchi Hanuse

 

Rag Doll Image
Rag Doll, Leon Lee

 

Spring Tide Image
Spring Tide, Jean Parsons

 

Sunken Cave and a Migrating Bird Image
Sunken Cave and a Migrating Bird, Qiuli Wu

 

The Train Station Image

The Train Station, Lyana Patrick

 

tu Image

tu, Suzanne Friesen

 

Congratulations to VIFF for their resilient pivot for their 39th edition!

Kamloops filmmaker Cjay Boisclair joins the BANFF Spark and Super Channel Accelerator program

Cjay Boisclair is an award-winning filmmaker hailing from Kamloops, BC. Multi-talented in every corner of the industry that she touches, Cjay isn’t afraid to dip her toes into anything new. 

Her debut short script, The Bench, garnered numerous nominations and awards at film festivals around the world. Cjay’s second script, Stood Up, followed, winning the Women in the Director’s Chair (WIDC) Short Works Award and immediately went into production. The heartfelt short film debuted at the St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival and is currently enjoying a robust film festival run. As of August 2020, Stood Up has been accepted into 78 film festivals internationally with 48 awards and nominations. 

Most recently, Cjay Boisclair was selected to join the second cohort of 50 women entrepreneurs to join the BANFF Spark and Super Channel Accelerator program, supporting and empowering women in entrepreneurship.

 

Cjay Boisclair on the set of Stood Up. Photography by John Enman


We love to see creators span across British Columbia. Tell us about the motion picture industry in Kamloops
The film industry in Kamloops is constantly evolving and growing thanks to the hard work of our local film commissioner, Victoria Weller, and many other local filmmakers. Vicci has brought in training initiatives, financing opportunities and productions to the area, opening the doors for local filmmakers to pave their own way into the film industry. She is a champion of anyone willing to work hard and very supportive of her local community of filmmakers.

Growing up, I never thought a career in film and television was even an option, it wasn’t even on my radar. It’s not one of those jobs that are listed or talked about in school, realistically I didn’t even know it existed in BC, let alone in Kamloops. I feel so lucky to do what I love!

When I first started in the industry, they had to ship people in from Vancouver to fill background roles. Now we own and operate a successful talent agency (What up my Askem Talent peeps?) and send talent all over BC from the Interior and Okanagan. It’s mind-boggling what a turn around that is!

At the beginning of my career, my sons and I were regular background performers just starting out in acting. We couldn’t find adequate representation in the area so my husband, Duane Boisclair, started Askem Talent to support us (he has supported me through every crazy dream and aspiration and there have been many!). News travels fast and the day we got our license we were meeting about filling a call for a feature film. We took that leap and have been growing since then. Askem Talent now supports talent all over BC with a specialty in the Okanagan and Interior.

This year we did a major expansion in the middle of COVID and plan another one in the winter, as well as being chosen as a Banff Spark participant. This program, meant to spearhead female entrepreneurs in the entertainment industry, will help accelerate an already thriving organization and give our talent pool even more opportunity!

A newer benefit of being a “remote” location is initiatives like Storyhive, the WIDC, Reel Youth and Doc BC who are seeking out new creators in our area. Without programs like these, I do not believe I would still be in this industry or have come as far as I have in such a short period of time. They have invested in me and my career personally through various mentorships and sponsorship AND my community by offering ongoing training and opportunities. Many more local productions are popping up and new people are joining the trade!

 

You’ve shapeshifted in many roles in the industry, how did those experiences build your work as a filmmaker?
Living in a location lacking typical film resources has had both a positive and negative impact on me. There is no film school in Kamloops so what you learn is on location, by showing up, paying your dues, and jumping at every opportunity. Most of our local crew are multi-talented and used to fill in where there is a need or doing multiple roles. It gives us all a varied skillset and understanding of the industry.

The downside to this is having to travel to the Lower Mainland to get gear and adding days to your schedule as well as rarely having the chance to excel and master skills (unless you create your own opportunity or move). We just don’t have enough productions up here to make a living in our own community or keep that kind of equipment.

My first job in the industry was as a background performer, my second as a production assistant, then actor and assistant director. Soon, I had a resume two pages long with all sorts of titles and skills. As a director this has been an ideal experience. I understand most of the lingo and needs from all the departments, so I’m not fighting with my own ignorance. Film is a constantly evolving mashup of storytelling, personalities, creativity and problem-solving. The more you know and can understand, the smoother things will run and the happier the crew.

 

What was the first project you worked on that made you want to pursue a career in motion picture?
The first film I ever worked on was Power Rangers (and I wasn’t even chosen on my own merit, they chose me for my truck!).

Back then there weren’t enough background performers in Kamloops, so big productions, like Power Rangers, would ship up busloads from Vancouver. I was lucky and a friend of mine was one of them. He was experienced and took me around the set explaining everything, crafty, union vouchers, wardrobe how to’s, the hierarchy, everything. Without his wisdom and enthusiasm that first day I probably wouldn’t have fallen so hard for the industry. So, thank you, Derek Usher, you were the first person to encourage and teach me about the film process.

The whole experience was amazing. We ran for 8-10 hours a day for four days, running from an imaginary beast (and not all of us made it either!). The whole experience was a pivotal moment in my life. Up until then, I was a boring suburban housewife, meandering through life, doing what was expected (and doing it well with enjoyment, no complaints!). Now, I caught the bug!

I knew instantly that I wanted a career in the industry, but I thought just as an actor. When an opportunity came along to direct my own work and I stepped into that role, it was like the heavens parted, the trumpets sounded, and the angels sang! Never have I been so sure (and unsure) of myself.

 

Rekha Sharma, Stood Up

 

The motion picture industry has shapeshifted over the last few years, in your eyes, what do you see for the future of film?
I think the future of film, even post-COVID, will thrive and grow exponentially in BC. I imagine more productions will shoot in the Lower Mainland and some will push up our way as well as our domestic growth here.

With the current COVID pandemic, it seems that the Okanagan has become a hot spot for filming, it is our hope that this will increase and the Okanagan and Interior together can share a crew list and live sustainably through the year while working in film.

We have lofty goals, eventually including having a training studio and education centre.

 

You are currently working on the feature adaptation of your short film The Bench, tell us a bit about your process in producing it into a feature
In 2018 I wrote my first script, The Bench, a short drama about a homeless teenager just trying to survive. It became an award-winning story internationally and helped get me into the Women in the Director’s Chair (WIDC) Short Works Award. The program offered mentorship to all the participants and funding to one production. Luckily my film, Stood Up, was chosen!

In October of 2019, Stood Up had its World Premiere at the Saint John’s Women’s International Film Festival. Since then it has been selected in 79 film festivals internationally and currently holds 48 awards or nominations (August 11th, 2020).

While in post-production of Stood Up, I started adapting The Bench into a feature-length screenplay that I plan to direct early next year. It is an authentic story, weaved from lived experience as a homeless youth, destined to impact its viewers and our local community.

We plan on using as much local crew as possible and providing on-set training to those new to the industry. We also will be shooting it in Kamloops and will be showcasing our landscapes and talent. The buzz from this production will hopefully create more attention on the Interior for filming in the future.

Cjay Boisclair, Rekha Sharma and Jason Burkart on the set of Stood Up. Photography by John Enman


What do you think makes for creating a great team for a project?
What makes for a great team? What a loaded question! I am very lucky that my local film community volunteered on my first film. It was truly surreal. We were all there with one purpose, everyone felt like they had the same stakes and opportunities. It made for a very chill atmosphere where everyone was encouraged to grow (mostly, we all have that one person, am I right?).

The traits most of our team shares are; being comfortable in who they are (this is really important, I feel like if you are comfortable in your own skin you are more likely to bring something unique to the table. One of my favourite things about film are how everyone is slightly different from the norm and has amazing, unique perspectives); knowing their craft (or a willingness to learn for trainees) but with an open mind to new ideas; team players (crucial, I have no time for drama, we are all grownups, can’t we all just get along?); and a desire to be a part of the project (if you can get crew who are passionate about the film you will see it in the end result AND the crew will bond better).

We ended up with a very loyal crew who have joined us on many more projects (and we’ve joined them on theirs’ too!). In fact, there is a core of about 9 people that always seem to work together while others drift in and out depending on availability. Those people that were there in the beginning, who all came together to make my vision come to life (all volunteer!), they are my people and always welcome on my sets. I am honored that they would donate their time and talents and will always be one of their supporters.

In fact, I was fortunate to build up a relationship with an amazing young DP, Nolan McAllister, very early in my career. He was one of the first people to encourage me to write and direct, he volunteered his time, talent and gear, and made everything I could think of out loud, look beautiful on film. He is the first person we call with a new idea or production and often the first person signed up as crew.

It takes every position to make a film. As a writer/director, I try to always remember that everyone is there working to bring MY vision to life. I am very thankful my team is willing to share their talents with me, and it is very humbling to have that kind of support.

We believe that if you take care of your crew, they will take care of you. I think a good director realizes the value of the people they have around them and can encourage the best out of them. It is a team effort, any successes I have had are because of my team, right down to our p.a’s. I am only a conductor weaving their talents together.

On our sets, we really try to make a positive, family-type environment. This is especially true with crafty and catering, our spreads are the best and I know the whole set appreciates it!

 

What’s the best advice you’ve received that you would pass along?
I have learned more in this career by doing, than anything. Textbooks and tutorials are great resources for new ideas to understand how things work, but there is nothing like being on set; learning by finding out what doesn’t work and making mistakes.

If you want to get into directing, make a film. If you have no money, no friends, no resources, use your cell phone. Put together a short film and edit it yourself! It is amazing how much your thinking changes if you know the end game and the way you want it cut together. It will inform your choices on camera angles, blocking, lighting, camera movement, everything. You can really create a piece of art, not just storytelling, with enough foresight.

For anyone who wants to be a creator; apply for everything, volunteer for your first few credits, be nice to EVERYONE (you never know who will be the next director), work the extra-long hours, watch the tutorials, listen to experienced crew’s advice, be innovative, pay your dues, be thankful, and find a mentor and ask for help!

The biggest lesson though is the same in every industry. If you want it, you have to work for it, so see every “No” as a short-cut to the next “Yes”.

 

Cjay Boisclair

Cjay Boisclair, The Bench


What’s next for Cjay Boisclair?
Lol, it is an odd thought, “What’s next?” when your roster is full! Currently, our focus is getting “The Bench” into production, completing the Banff Spark program, a new documentary, and expanding Askem Talent. We are still working on other projects but they kind of float in a master pile, slowly gathering detail and bulk, until something pushes one of them to the foreground. Right now, there is a series and a feature both competing to be the next focus!

I would also love to direct one of the MOW’s shooting in the Okanagan. There is something incredibly satisfying in creating a film that makes your heart smile and is a throwback to simpler days. I grew up watching all the old black and white and technicolor love stories with my grandma (Oma). Stood Up was written right after she died in a moment of complete and utter heartbreak and is heavily influenced by those early memories and epic romances. It is sweet, innocent, and full of heartwarming charm. In a way, it was the perfect send off to someone who had such a huge impact in my life and makes her legacy last that much longer.

It’s amazing the things that can inspire you too. The Bench was written from my own experience as a troubled, homeless youth and while it shows the realities of a harsh life, it also gives hope and inspires compassion. I don’t know what my next inspiration will be, or which project will capture our hearts, or even the genre! It could come from a simple conversation, the punchline of a joke, a tragedy unfolding before my eyes (hopefully not!), a simple memory, or a whisper in the wind. Whatever it is though, my team and I will be ready!

 

Learn more
Askem Talent
BANFF Spark Accelerator Program
Thompson-Nicola Film Commission

Apple TV+’s “See” Nominated for Outstanding Locations for 7th Annual Location Managers Guild Awards

“See” Season 1 has been nominated for Outstanding Locations in a Period Television Series for the 7th Annual Location Managers Guild Awards. The Location Managers Guild Awards celebrate the outstanding contributions of location professionals in television, commercials and feature films. The awards spotlight the craft, honoring productions in which the creative use of film locations set the tone, enrich the character and inspire the narrative.

 

C/O Apple TV+ 

 

The Apple TV+ series takes place in the distant future, after a deadly virus decimated humankind. Those who survived emerged blind. Jason Momoa stars as Baba Voss — the father of twins born centuries later with the mythic ability to see — who must protect his tribe against a powerful yet desperate queen who wants the twins destroyed. Alfre Woodard stars as Paris, Baba Voss’s spiritual leader.

 

 

C/O Apple TV+ 

The series filmed in various locations in the Vancouver Island North region including Buttle Lake, Ralph River, Myra Falls all in Strathcona Provincial Park and Campbell River’s Discovery Industrial Park. Visit Vancouver Island North Film Commission’s website to learn more about the regions “See” was filmed in. Earlier this year, “See” was announced to be returning for Season 2. Learn more about “See” on Apple TV+.

See' Trailer | Hollywood Reporter

C/O Apple TV+ 

Feel in colour with Daniel Code and Graham Kew

Colour Study is a meditative and evocative experimental short film that will entrance you. Writers Charles Demers, Chelene Knight and Shazia Hafiz Ramji take us on a dreamy journey through ROYGBIV, while organizing objects and locations by their exact colour. Eager to share this visual narrative, we touched base with Graham Kew and Daniel Code, the filmmakers behind Colour Study.

 

Watch Colour Study on CBC Gem here

 

Tell us about Colour Study, the inspiration, the people involved, the narrative

Graham Kew: The three narratives in Colour Study were written and narrated by Chelene Knight, Charles Demers, and Shazia Hafiz Ramji. At the outset, we gave the writers basic parameters and shared information about colour theory and colour science, but then we just tried our best to stay out of their way. Reading each of their first drafts was both exciting and daunting. I do love that in film you can hand over control to a writer or a composer or a production designer and then they come back with something so creative that it just blows your mind and elevates the entire project to a whole new level. We got very lucky with the whole team on this project.

Daniel Code: The concept started to take shape after I found a video about scientist Neil Harbisson and his sonochromatic scale, and how he created a camera to transpose light frequencies into sound frequencies to help with his colour blindness. After that I dove deep, listening to pure sound frequencies while looking at different colours. Once I got off my laptop, I noticed that the colours in the room had really popped for me as if my eyes had been through a colour workout or something. I started thinking about the order of colour and creating an art piece based on this experience.

 

C/O Anthem Jackson Productions

 

Tell us a bit about yourselves, your careers and what inspires you

GK: Anthem Jackson is the name of our production company. Dan and I have both worked in the industry for years across a variety of departments, but AJ is our creative outlet. We want to produce innovative and authentic projects that matter to us.

DC: I’ve always been inspired to work on projects that provide a certain level of creative and social fulfilment. I’ve stayed pretty clear of the Hollywood movie machine to focus on smaller projects with friends and people I enjoy collaborating with. Sometimes you have to treat it as a creative lifestyle rather than a job.

C/O Anthem Jackson Productions

What advice do you have for emerging BIPOC filmmakers?

DC: Building a community is important and finding allies in that community can go a long way.  Work with your friends and/or develop relationships with the people you connect with on sets. Network at bars, art galleries, clubs, or places outside of film work environments. I’ve always found the best networking relationships are with people I’ve shared a meal, coffee or drink with randomly in a place people were out just having fun.  Volunteer in the area you want to learn something from and don’t waste your time on areas you don’t need. Learn as much as you can for your goals.  Put some sweat into those areas until you feel comfortable and then let people know with conviction exactly what you do in film.

It’s an uphill battle in the film industry as a BIPOC. Quite often I’ve been surrounded by primarily white creatives and it’s been a challenge to make your voice heard.  Having a more diverse video production can really create a beautiful and comfortable creative atmosphere. It allows room in the project for different cultural perspectives that otherwise wouldn’t be noticed without this diversity.  You would be surprised at how many BIPOC creatives are out there and a lot of them like myself would be willing to help foster their talent or point them in the right direction.

GK: I wouldn’t presume to give advice, but if any emerging BIPOC filmmakers reading this are struggling to break into documentary editing, they can hit me up at graham@anthemjackson.com and I’ll try my best to connect with them.

However, I will give advice to well-established non-BIPOC filmmakers… Reach out and see who you can help get a leg up! The mentors in my career have been incredibly important to me and it’s a relationship you will most likely enjoy and get a lot out of.

 

C/O Anthem Jackson Productions

Do you have any upcoming projects you can share with us?

GK: We are developing a scripted series with Shazia – one of the writers from Colour Study – and we have two documentary projects in the works, one of which is about a legendary 1970s Nigerian Afrobeat music group.

C/O Anthem Jackson Productions

 

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Thunderbird Entertainment wins prestigious Peabody award for ‘Molly of Denali’ series

Thunderbird Entertainment Group announced that their animated series ‘Molly of Denali’ was a Peabody award winner this year in the children’s and youth category. Molly of Denali follows the resourceful Molly Mabray, who has cultural heritage from three Athabascan groups: the Gwich’in, Koyukon and Dena’ina, as she helps her parents run the Denali Trading Post in interior Alaska. She and her friends explore the epic surroundings and rich Native culture that is home. The series is designed to help kids ages 4-8 develop informational text skills through video content, interactive games, and real-world activities. The series is co-produced by WGBH Boston and the company’s kids and family division Atomic Cartoons, for PBS KIDS and CBC Kids.

 

Molly of Denali 

 

Often compared to the Pulitzer Prize for literature, Peabody Award winners represent the most compelling and empowering stories released in broadcasting and digital media. Sixty nominees were announced earlier this year from approximately 1,300 entries across news, entertainment, documentary, children’s, public service, and web/interactive programming. From those 60 nominees, Molly of Denali is one of just 30 productions chosen to receive a prestigious Peabody award.

Since its 2019 premiere, Molly of Denali has been widely recognized as the first nationally distributed children’s series in the United States to feature an Indigenous lead character. More than 60 Alaska Native actors, writers, advisors, producers and musicians are involved across the production, which is designed to help kids ages 4-8 develop informational text skills through video content, interactive games, and real-world activities.

 

 

In Canada, Molly of Denali airs Wednesday and Saturday mornings on CBC and is also available on the free CBC Gem streaming service.