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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

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An Interview with Ché Aimee Dorval

 

One of the biggest areas for which I could use additional support, is gaining knowledge about international touring, because it’s hard to know who to approach or what to do. -Ché Aimee Dorval

Ché Aimee Dorval’s relationship with music has always been a bit tumultuous. For years, she struggled with how she could approach music in an authentic way, while still making a living doing what she loved. She left Vancouver because she didn’t feel like there were enough opportunities for her here as a musician, yet it was in leaving that she actually got to see Vancouver in a new light.

After living in Toronto, she returned to Vancouver and started making music again. “Now that I’m here, I realize how beautiful it is to be in a smaller scene like this. There’s more of a chance to rise up. There’s also a spirit of collaboration here amongst the different creative industries.”

While she returned to Vancouver for family, and not for music, she found herself recording an album, Casualties of Cool, with a friend. “It was nice to just write and not feel like I had to do anything with it. Making this record sparked my interest in music again. I also learned so much about putting myself out there.”

 

 

While she was out promoting the album, Ché started writing her own songs. “It was then that I learned about Creative BC and the grants being offered, and I have to say I’m so glad you exist! I applied for the funding and that allowed me to not only fund my latest project, but also helped me get my music in the hands of different people.”

Ché is now using her voice to share stories that are important to her and her audience. Writing her latest album forced her to look outside of herself and see the world for what it is. “When I was growing up, I was naïve and idealistic and I thought we, as women, were further along than we were. Yet, the past 10 years have shown me otherwise. There’s still so much that we come up against everyday. Writing music is how I try and make sense of the world; how I deal with things.”

This spring, Ché will take her new album, which was created through the support of the BC Music Fund, on the road–touring Canada and giving people a chance to hear what she has to say. “I’m excited because I did everything I wanted to do with this album. I want people to be able to get to know me as I really am, and all that comes with that.”

 

 

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

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An interview with Rob Sanders from Greystone Books

“Support in getting out to other parts of the world is critical. We can’t just sit back.”

-Rob Sanders

Without question, there is a strong demand for Canadian content in Canada, yet that doesn’t always translate to international success. According to Rob Sanders of Greystone Books, in order to thrive in today’s publishing market, you need to think globally.

Greystone had the foresight many years ago to set up strong distribution channels across the US and UK, and that’s helped them stay in the game. “We are a stealth publisher, which for us means not pushing Canada on the rest of the world. We find it’s more effective to publish ideas and information without borders.”

While it can be hard to compete with major publishing cities in different time zones, such as New York or Toronto, what it really comes down to is readership. Rob believes that a reader in Texas or London, England can be just as engaged as a reader in Cranbrook, BC. It’s only a matter of reaching them in the most economical and efficient way.

 

Despite the advantages the big publishing cities have, they’re not always better, according to Rob. “In places like Toronto and New York, there’s always something happening, 24 hours a day and that can detract attention. Out here, you have a bit more quiet so you can focus on your community. We have a good sense of what people are doing here.”

British Columbia has a strong publishing community. From writers to designers, artists to small publishing houses, there are lots of people working in the industry. In order to stay ahead, publishers need to continue to be innovative and push the envelope. “We do something new every month – we’re always trying new things. Yet there aren’t a lot of resources to draw on, and we don’t have deep pockets, so it can be challenging. Creative BC has been helpful as we set out to learn what other markets, in other parts of the world, are doing.”

What it comes down to is building relationships and fostering communities. It’s helping establish places, in person and online, for books to find their readers.

“I believe that good material will always find interested readers. For us, it’s about being sensitive to what people want, how they will react and where they will hear about it. Young people are the readers of today and tomorrow, and we want to continue to create an active, dynamic community of writers and people who are interested in what they are saying.”

This interview originally appeared in Creative BC’s 2016/2017 Impact Report.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

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Life Tree Media – The Best of Both Worlds

With a commitment to helping, healing and inspiring its readers, LifeTree Media brings written works to life by publishing books and offering authors additional editorial and marketing services.

Founded in 2013 by Maggie Langrick, LifeTree Media has made a name for itself in the publishing industry for its commitment to aiding personal growth and conscious communication. Pushing the boundaries of the traditional publishing model, the hybrid publishing model employed by LifeTree Media is giving more self-financed authors access to the mainstream marketplace. The creative and distribution services offered by LifeTree Media has contributed to the success of its published works.

In combination with Pink Velvet Couch, LifeTree Media is co-hosting an all day Book Publishing Boot Camp in Vancouver on Tuesday, March 6. The event is aimed at helping first time authors find out exactly what it takes to plan, write, publish and market a nonfiction book!

Some great authors LifeTree has worked with will be sharing their insights at the event, including Tracy Theemes, The Financially Empowered Woman  + Lindsay Sealey, Growing Strong Girls.

To learn more about the event click here.

 

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Magazine Profile: The Claremont Review

The Claremont Review is a literary magazine that features outstanding fiction and poetry by young writers between the ages of 13 and 19. The magazine has about 650 to 700 annual subscribers that are primarily based in the U.S. and Canada, although they have begun shipping more issues internationally.

The magazine is edited by volunteers, who take on a great amount of work during the journal’s busiest period, from January to April. During those first few months of the year, the editors finalize and edit selections for the spring issue, write their Canada Council grant application, run the annual contest, and compile a shortlist for the judges.

“If you want to know the future, pay attention to what youth are doing in their art, what they are trying to tell you or show you about the human condition and what is possible for humanity.”

–       Jody Carrow, Co-Editor The Claremont Review

The Claremont Review has seen significant changes over the years. Artwork within the journal’s pages is now printed in colour, the number of international submissions has increased, and they have doubled the prize money for their annual contest. A unique feature of The Claremont Review is the guaranteed feedback they provide on submissions, which supports and encourages young writers and artists.

 

Stay up to-date on The Claremont Review by following them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

 

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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.

 

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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/ 

 

 

 

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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.