An Interview with Steve Smith from Aircover Inflatables

If Creative BC can help get the word out about what we’re doing next with the Air Panel, that would be a huge door opening for us. -Steve Smith

Safety was a big motivator for Steve Smith and his partners when they started Aircover Inflatables, an alternative to the traditional green screens used in the film industry. Their previous experience as key grips had them putting up substantial screens for visual effects, with no way of controlling the elements. “It was actually quite dangerous; there were incidents of large screens blowing over in crazy wind storms.”

Their goal was to build something that was not only safer, but also more efficient and environmentally friendly. The end result won them an Oscar. Steve credits their success to their persistence; “It took several years and many prototypes, but we created an inflatable wall, the Air Wall, that could be used as an outdoor VFX screen.” Since then, productions like Godzilla, Tomorrowland, and Planet of the Apes have implemented use of the Air Wall successfully.

According to Steve, there have been some incredible inventions designed by grips. “Grips are inventive; we’re problem solvers. We’re in charge of making shadows and supporting cameras. We install large outdoor screens and backdrops, mount cameras to cars; we do all kinds of things. We’re often asked to do things that shouldn’t be possible, yet we have to figure out how to do it on the spot! That’s the mind you need to have to be a grip.”

Steve’s been amazed at how other grips have used their products in ways they didn’t initially intend on.“They were using one of our Air Walls on Pirates of the Caribbean in Australia when they started to deflate it to let more sun in. Someone suddenly yelled to stop as they realized they could control the airflow to have it maintain a specific angle. They slowed down the airflow and it got them the shot they needed!

”Steve and his team are now working on a smaller Air Panel that tilts, pans and rotates. It’s particularly helpful for smaller productions that don’t require large outdoor screens. “The Air Panel will be a huge time saver; it’s compact and easy to get into locations with limited space. It’s completely unique – there’s nothing like it anywhere.”

As Steve and his team head into prototyping, they need support with funding and making connections. Coming from Los Angeles, Steve is proud to call Vancouver home. “I’ve been here for 17 years and it’s amazing how well the crews and departments get along and work together. We’ve had an incredible response from people here, but it’s always hard in the beginning with a new product. We can always use more support when it comes to getting the word out.”

Learn more about Aircover Inflatables on their website: aircover.ca

An Interview with Mike Wozniewski from Hololabs

 

We want the online universe we are creating to become a resource for kids, parents and teachers interested in computational literacy – and we need support to make that happen. -Mike Wozniewski

Mike Wozniewski came from the world of academia, where he was studying virtual environments and game engines in Montreal. Yet, he gravitated toward artists and how they push the boundaries of technology and creativity. “The most satisfying work for me is building technology that helps artists create new art.”

Mike launched Hololabs in 2010, and then moved to Victoria with his wife and three kids. He set out to ensure that every project he worked on – from video games to virtual and augmented reality, to web portals – would help empower people to be more creative. When asked what Hololabs niche focus is, he was quick to respond: “We make wacky, experimental, weird things! Most importantly, we want to empower people to learn and be creative through technology.” Yet, there’s something even bigger motivating him these days. “Two of my kids are young girls, and as they started to engage with technology – mostly through the app store – I was frustrated with what was available to them. Everything was so gendered and stereotypical. And then I met Jordan.”

 

 

Jordan Stratford, who lives on Salt Spring Island, wrote The Wollstonecraft Detective Agency, a book series featuring positive female role models in science, technology, engineering and math. Based on young Ava Lovelace, the first computer scientist, and young Mary Shelley, the first science fiction author, the series follows two young girls in the 1820s as they set out to solve mysteries often connected to other female trailblazers.

 

 

Mike is now turning that literary world into an online universe. “Our hope is to create a video game that can play across platforms, as well as a web portal that gives kids the opportunity to engage with the characters on an ongoing basis. They can learn how to become a better detective, they can read about female pioneers, and they can even interact with a mechanical computer. We want this website to become a resource for every school that is teaching computational literacy.”

With the support of Creative BC, Mike is building the online portal, yet he knows that’s only the beginning. Hololabs is self-funded, so they not only have to find development money, but they also need to figure out how to maintain everything once it launches. Mike believes that finding people who will champion his vision is key.

 

 

 

 

 

An Interview with Michael Gazetas, Lost in Space Location Manager

Lost in Space, the latest Netflix series to be filmed in British Columbia is being released this Friday, April 13. BC Creates had the opportunity to talk to Michael Gazetas, the location manager for Lost in Space about what it was like filming this one-of-a-kind production in British Columbia.

First off, where in British Columbia was Lost in Space filmed?

We filmed in almost every municipality in Metro Vancouver and in other areas of the province, such as Squamish and Kamloops. A majority of the 2nd unit filming occurred near Cache Creek at the CN. In Langley, we mostly shot at farms including the Johnson Farm and Emerald Springs where Legends of Tomorrow and Travelers were also filmed. In North Vancouver, most of the filming took place in the Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve and Lynn Canyon Park. We had the opportunity to collaborate a lot with the community in Lynn Canyon which was great for the crew and the community.

What was it like being a Location Manager for a set based in space?

I had to imagine what a lost planet would look like when envisioning filming locations, a unique task which ultimately ended up including some spectacular wilderness locations.

With a crew of 200+ and some remote wilderness shooting locations, managing complicated logistics was a large part of the job. For example, one of the shoots took place on a glacier in the Mount Garibaldi range, we had to get 75 crew and their equipment up the mountain in one wave, a real logistical challenge for the Park Rangers, Conservation Staff and the Sno-cat operators. We were grateful everyone was collaborative and a great help getting this shoot done. 

Where there any unexpected challenges during the production?

The snow was a big one! The production was filmed last winter when we saw extraordinary amounts of snow, it was one of the coldest and snowiest seasons Metro Vancouver ever faced! We did a lot of filming in Watts Quarry, near Squamish and it seemed like the snow was non-stop, there were times when all only access road was buried under several feet of snow, and on one very long night, we had a grader drag out our work trucks one-at-a-time so we could film the next day at studio.

While shooting at the Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve, the unusual amount of snow also meant that bears came searching for food lower down the mountain than they usually would. It was a unique challenge keeping the bears away from the catering trucks! To help, we hired bear management experts for the set and they also conducted special bear management training for the crew.

What’s next for the Lost in Space crew?

I believe the family feel of the show is a great niche for Netflix, with a potential audience of those aged 8 to 80, I think the show will do well!  The ultimate hope is for Lost in Space to be renewed and keep using Metro Vancouver as a studio hub.

Anything else to add?

This was a wonderful production to be a part of, although there were challenges with the weather and wildlife, the crew always found a way to overcome adversity and successfully complete the shoot.

North Island Film Commission & North Island College Create Careers in Film + TV

Vancouver Island North Film Commission (INfilm) partners with North Island College (NIC) to celebrate the completion of BC’s first TV and Film Crew Training program–one that has successfully prepared more than 135 students in its first graduating cohort for careers in the motion picture industry. NIC launched the program last year, after the federal and provincial governments allocated almost $500,000 to deliver the pilot program on Vancouver Island.

 

INfilm championed the inception of this program as the regional film commission that provides liaison and location services to film, television, commercial and media companies filming from Nanaimo northward. INfilm commissioner Joan Miller saw an opportunity to increase the region’s success through availability of local crew and led collaboration with NIC to deliver local training which now qualifies crew and creates a base of talent that can help attract a wider range of film projects to Vancouver Island.

Current synergy exists between the acclaimed show Chesapeake Shores, which filmed its first two seasons in Parksville and recently announced its renewal for a third season. This announcement coincides with the graduating class and representatives from the show will be present to congratulate graduates.

Chesapeake Shores is the Hallmark Channel’s most-watched original television show (in Canada the show airs on the W Network).

In a previous interview, Matt Drake, Chesapeake Shores producer, said crews are excited to take advantage of North Island College’s TV and movie industry courses, “I think that will be a really good way for us to get some new faces into the industry.”

Today’s graduation is taking place at Vancouver Island Film Studios in Parksville which will provide the motion picture industry with three new sound stages, office space and prop shops. A portion of the space is already complete with the remaining sections scheduled to be completed in mid-2018.

 

Festival of BC Film Returns to Maple Ridge

The ACT Arts Centre and Ridge Film Studios, with the support of the City of Maple Ridge, are presenting the second edition of the Maple Ridge Festival of BC Film. Highlighting films created throughout British Columbia. The festival is taking place at The ACT Arts Centre from Friday, March 23 to Sunday, March 25, 2018.

The ACT Arts Centre’s Acting Executive Director, Philip Hartwick, says, “As an addition to our programming that includes our Golden Ears Movie Series, we are thrilled to once again present the Maple Ridge Festival of BC Film in partnership with The Ridge Film Studios and the City of Maple Ridge. Through this festival, we are able to not only bring more film to the heart of our community, but high caliber, domestically-made films too. We are proud to be able to support our local film industry in this unique way.”

The Ridge Studios’ John Wittmayer adds, “The Ridge Studios supports a talented and thriving local film community. We are very pleased to collaborate with The ACT Arts Centre and introduce these remarkable films to the public. It’s important to create a strong Canadian film industry.”

According to Lino Siracusa, Manager of Economic Development with the City of Maple Ridge, “Maple Ridge is regarded as a film friendly community, and this is reflected in the high volume of movies and series that are shot here every year. The film industry provides employment to over 600 Maple Ridge residents. In addition, the wages, which total over $24 million, and services procured by production companies help support local businesses. The Maple Ridge Festival of BC Film contributes to the City’s film profile by showcasing some of these exceptional productions filmed in Maple Ridge.”

The Maple Ridge Festival of BC Film kicks off with an Opening Reception on Friday, March 23 at 6:30 pm and features a total of six shorts, four feature films, and one documentary over the course of three days. To purchase tickets and view the full lineup visit http://www.theactmapleridge.org/FestivalofBCFilm/ 

 

 

 

Vancouver journalist, Sabrina Furminger, launches YVR Screen Scene

YVR Screen Scene is a digital magazine and podcast that celebrates the shining stars who power Vancouver’s booming film and television industry. Helmed by award-winning film and television journalist Sabrina Furminger, YVR Screen Scene is a go-to source for in-depth conversations with the dynamic artists, actors, writers, directors, and all manner of behind-the-scenes magicians who’ve made Vancouver’s screen industry the juggernaut industry it is today.

Sabrina honed her craft as the force behind the Westender’s wildly popular Reel People column and with YVR Screen Scene, she continues in her mission to showcase Vancouver’s film and television storytellers through engrossing, revelatory, informative, funny, intimate, and regularly confessional conversations with Vancouver’s brightest stars.

We had a moment to check-in with Sabrina and learn more about what led her to YVR Screen Scene, read our full interview below and follow along with YVR Screen Scene on Facebook and Twitter.

What milestones have you achieved or are you focusing on now?

We hit the ground running on January 8 with a full slate of articles featuring top-notch industry talent like Amanda Tapping, Vincent Tong, John Cassini, Agam Darshi, Lee Majdoub, Christopher Russell, Christina Sicoli, and the filmmakers behind Adventures in Public School and Scout and the Gumboot Kids. As soon as we launched, the response from the film and television industry (and people who love reading about the film and television industry) was immediate and validating, which reiterated something I’ve long believed: there is an appetite for these kinds of stories. I spend my days conducting interviews and writing articles while also seeking out the next generation of entertainment journalists and planning for the podcast, which is coming in March. My goal is to publish at least two interview-driven articles a week but I’ve been surpassing that because there are so many wonderful stories to tell, and I have ample space to tell them. I have some incredible interviews in the can that I’m excited to share, featuring an array of established and emerging film and TV industry talent from both sides of the camera.

What accomplishments are you most proud of?

I’m most proud of the numerous articles I’ve written over the years in which the interview subjects have trusted me with their deeply personal stories. In my journey to find the story behind the screen story, I’ve written articles about pregnancy loss, racism, sexism, domestic violence, poverty, #metoo, missing and murdered Indigenous women, grief, trauma, being an outsider, and all manner of love. I’m just as interested in why someone chooses to tell a particular screen story as I am in how they choose to bring it to the screen. I told many such stories at the Westender, and I’ll continue telling them at YVR Screen Scene.

I’m proud to have been the first recipient of Women in Film and Television Vancouver’s Iris Award for shining a spotlight on female filmmakers, performers, and storytellers in my column (you can watch her full speech on YouTube!).

I’m proud of the cover story I wrote in October about the #metoo movement which featured several brave women speaking out about sexual harassment and violence they’ve faced on set and in the industry. I am proud of those women, full-stop.

Where can readers learn more and sign-up for YVR Screen Scene?

The best place is the source itself: www.yvrscreenscene.com.

 

Cognogon Films – Bridging Film and Finance

A UBC film production alumni, Josh Havelka of Cognogon Films, an independent film group based in Vancouver, has always been passionate about creating films and assisting his fellow filmmakers with the eternal struggle of connecting with financiers and funding projects.

As a producer of narrative short films, Cognogon Films recently produced “Breeze In The Storm”, which is currently in its festival circuit following its world premiere at the Leiden International Film Festival in Holland. In addition to film production, Cognogon Films is committed to bringing filmmakers and funding sources closer together, while making story based advertisements for like-minded businesses.

For a comprehensive list of funding sources to filmmakers with emerging and established careers in every part of Canada, check out Cognogon Films’s latest product, Fulfilmaker.

   

 

Crash Pad

Filmed entirely in BC across the lower mainland, with all post production done in Vancouver Crash Pad starring Domhnall Gleeson, Thomas Haden Church, Christina Applegate, and Canadian Nina Dobrev tells the story of a hopeless romantic (Domhnall Gleeson) who thinks he’s found true love with an older woman (Christina Applegate) only to learn that she’s married and their encounter was merely an instrument of revenge against her neglectful husband (Thomas Haden Church). Initially out for blood the husband finds himself strangely sympathetic to the romantic’s plight and decides the best way for the two of them to get revenge is by moving in together, cutting her out and living a bachelor’s life.

DVD’s are available today!

Facebook: www.facebook.com/vert-ent Red Band

Trailer: https://youtu.be/vc4UTH8wTc4

Check out Crash Pad review:
https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/review/crash-pad-1048950

 

Twenty-one days before Christmas and twenty–one BC films to enjoy this holiday season.

The BC Film and TV industry has played a part in all of the films listed below.

Happy Holidays

Coming Home For Christmas

Christmas Homecoming

Christmas Calendar

A Gift to Remember

Marry Me at Christmas

With Love, Christmas

The Mistletoe Inn

Finding Santa

The Christmas Train

A Joyous Christmas

Four Christmases and a Wedding

Tiny Christmas

Christmas in Evergreen

Christmas at Holly Lodge

Psych: The Movie

The Christmas Cottage

Runaway Christmas Bride

Maggie’s Christmas Miracle

Rocky Mountain Christmas

Christmas Getaway

When Calls the Heart: The Christmas Wishing Tree

A Bramble House Christmas

Christmas Solo

Engaging Father Christmas

Christmas Princess

 

CBC Vancouver Broadcast Centre

CBC Vancouver is a household name in British Columbia’s entertainment industry. Since 1936, CBC has provided Vancouverites with a comprehensive range of radio, television programming, news and broadcasting services.

Hubert T. Lacroix, current President and CEO of CBC/Radio-Canada, was appointed to his position in 2007 for a 5-year term and re-appointed in 2012. Prior to CBC he was a Senior Partner at MaCarthy Tétrault, one of Canada’s largest law firms.

The CBC Vancouver Broadcast Centre provides space for creative industries to create. They offer several studio facilities (ranging from 800 to 5,700 square feet), outdoor urban spaces, various amenities and support services for all film and entertainment needs.  The broadcast centre has been used in feature films, TV series, commercials, music videos, recording sessions, film scoring, rehearsals, concerts, special events, galas and meetings.

Tours of CBC Vancouver can be arranged through their website. They are available Tuesday through Friday and last approximately one hour. Tour reservations are required.

Be sure to follow @CBCVancouver on Twitter for the latest updates.