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Six Films in Eight Days and Here's What Happened

If you listen carefully, right now, you can hear the sound of a filmmaker screaming in Vancouver. Or sobbing. Or laughing. Nearing the end of eight days of insane work, six teams of Vancouver filmmakers are adding the finishing touches to their new short films. If you think the idea of making a film in 8 days is crazy, you’d be right.

The 2009 Crazy 8’s films will be revealed to a packed audience at the Vogue Theatre in downtown Vancouver on Saturday night.

Started 10 years ago by Vancouver producer Andrew Williamson, the event was inspired by a concept created in Seattle. The premise is six to eight teams of filmmakers, chosen by a panel of industry experts, are given the most modern equipment, professional mentors and $800 cash to bring their short film to life. The only catch is that they have to finish the film in eight days.

More than just a rush-rush film experience, past Crazy 8’s events have actually spawned the careers of some of Canada’s brightest film talents. James Dunnison is now an in-demand TV director, Penelope Buitenhaus is one of Canada’s most unique writer/directors, Carl Bessai’s new feature film Mothers and Daughters opens this week in theatres across Canada, Cameron Labine is about to release his festival darling Control. Alt. Delete, Tracey D. Smith is a prolific filmmaker to watch and Zach Lipovsky took his experience all the way to American reality show fame. Undoubtedly, the biggest success story to come out of the program is Vancouver’s own Dylan Akio Smith. Smith’s 2004 Crazy 8’s film Man. Feel. Pain was crowned best short film at that year’s Toronto International Film Festival. This opened up the doors for his first feature Cabin Movie which premiered at the same festival a year later.

So what will come of the 2009 batch of films? That part of the story is still to be told. Right now the questions is, will these filmmakers be able to finish their films on time?

Over the weekend, I visited the five of the six sets and saw, for the most part, some pretty organized filming. In North Vancouver, Michael Grand was nose to the grindstone onThe Mechanic. In East Vancouver, Blair Dykes had his cast and crew squeezed into the lead actor’s apartment for Riboflavin.
Main and Alexander was the vicinity of a warehouse shoot for Mike Inc by Co-Directors Jose Pablo Gonzalez and Paal Wilhelm Nesset. Lidia Stante's Teaser was calmly filming up at SFU.

Only one set seemed to be experiencing new filmmaker mishaps. Director Tyson Hepburn was making lemonade out of lemons when I found him locked out of his U.S. border set for the film Cash Atom. As I left that set, they were only just getting in and setting up after over an hour delay.

Event producers Erik Paulsson and Marc Stephenson were running a pretty tight ship. Each set’s producers seemed self assured, organized, relaxed even. It helped that before filming started they all benefitted from some workshops presented by the Crazy 8’s.

There was only one film I didn’t see shoot and when I reached them later in the week to check on their status, I understood why. Director Chris Goldade had the ambitious idea to shoot a musical entitled Not Another Damn Musical Problem was, when I talked to him on Wednesday, his composer had lost half of their originally composed songs. Yeah, that’s right. Lost them. Poof. Whether his title is a self fulfilling prophesy or a brilliant new film will be revealed on Saturday night.

Some tickets are still available if you act fast. It’s one of Vancouver’s hottest shows every year.

Click here for more info

The cast and Crew of Cash Atom make the best use of a delay.Blair Dykes shooting his film of Riboflavin
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