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Vancouver Event To Create 6 New Movies This Weekend

There's one true thing about genuine Vancouverites: we're kind of cowboys.I don't mean assless chaps cowboys (though one could argue...) nor ten gallon hat cowboys. We leave the higher the hair closer to God concept to Surrey. No, I mean mavericks, renegades, desperadoes.

There's nothing better for maverick renegade desperadoes than a good old-fashioned challenge. So it's no surprise that a short film event called Crazy 8's is celebrating its tenth anniversary in Vancouver this year.

In April of 1999, Nunavut was named Canada's third Territory, Wayne Gretzy played his last game of NHL hockey, MySpace was introduced to the internet,The Red Violin had won the Genie for best motion picture and Shakespeare in Love had won the Oscar. And, on April 20, 1999 two kids put Littleton, Colorado on the map for all the wrong reasons.

In Vancouver, a budding independent producer named Andrew Williamson got the task of overseeing an event styled after the Seattle International Film Festival's On The Fly Program.

"First year I had $2500 and had to bring all the sponsors on." Williamson explains, "Did 3 films and tailored the schedule to make it work in Vancouver. What kept it going was the fact that each year we made films. Every year. And you could see the impact when you realized that 8 days prior those films hadn't existed."

And in some cases, those filmmakers hadn't yet existed. The delightfully animated Kelly-Ruth Mercier took a chance on herself in 2005 when she entered the competition with a pitch for a TV news style short called 24/7.

"My most profound lesson was not in how to direct, but in how to direct the technology." Mercier told The Shorts Report at the Alumni Dinner last night in Vancouver.

For Dylan Akio Smith, it was an opportunity to test a team. His 2004 Crazy 8's film, Man. Feel. Pain. allowed him to try working in the trenches of real filmmaking alongside writing partner Kris Elgstrand and acting collaborator Brad Dryborough. They scored on this test when their film won best Short at the Toronto International Film Festival that year.

Katrin Bowen can thank her 2006 Crazy 8's film Sand Castle for introducing her to a whole new level of professionalism."It upped the ante on the level of people I could and got a chance to work with." Bowen explained.

She's putting it all to good use as she preps her first feature Love Bites starring the delicious Zak Santiago and my friend, the whip smart, effortlessly talented Sonya Bennett.

For Marc Stephenson, the experience of producing Cameron Labine's 2004 Crazy 8's film Chemistry made him so grateful that he decided take a quick break from work on his many feature projects and give back.

When Williamson stepped down after an impressive 8 year run, Erik Paulsson stepped up to the plate. Executive Producer Paulsson and Producer/Production Manager Stephenson are overseeing the event for the first time this year, with Williamson on as Executive Adviser.

Starting tomorrow, 6 teams will scatter throughout the lower mainland to shoot, edit, post, and complete their films. The finished films will be unveiled at a gala screening at the Vogue Theatre Saturday April 25th.

A Tickets are still available, but don’t delay the show usually sells out. For more information, click here.

The Shorts Report will be covering these 6 films as they race to the finish line marking 10 years of maverick renegade desperadoes bringing true independent cinema to Vancouver.

Read more about it at The Shorts Report.

Photo of (Left) Marc Stephenson and (Right) Erik Paulsson by Kellie Ann Benz: Crazy 8 film event
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