Crazy 8s Gala inspires with six amazing short films by Vancouver filmmakers

Saturday night I went to the Vogue Theatre for the Crazy8s  Gala that supports local filmmakers. Friends in the film industry, like Robyn Wiener from Women in Film, suggested I come out and I’m glad I did because the evening was a great success. It took me Sunday to recover from a great night full of meeting many creative and inspiring people and watching six amazing short films.

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  I entered the Vogue Theatre lobby and felt like I was back in the 40s at a Saturday matinee show. The beauty of the theatre and the excitement of the theatre goers, reminded me of why I used to go to theatres. In the lobby in the middle of the crowd, I  spoke with Jaia ‘Quarian who described himself as an “every media artist.” Jaia told me he was attending the event to learn more from other artists on how to tell stories emotionally and how to learn more about pitching and filming techniques. Based on the way that Crazy8s supports new filmmakers with workshops for producers and directors, I can imagine seeing Jaia in the event in the near future.

I spotted a young woman with a camera, so I asked her if she was covering the event. Ashley Fester is an actress who was taking photos of the event for Christopher Shyer. Ashley was sporting a 1920s style blonde bob haircut, so it was no surprise when she mentioned that she was producing Christopher Shyer’s directorial debut in the 20s Broadway Musical “the Wild Party” in May at the Anza club. It’s clear that many people at Crazy8s were taking full advantage of the opportunity to try something new, even when you’re an established actor or a professional in the film industry. Christopher Shyer is an established actor who is currently on TV show “V” for ABC, but for Crazy8s he was the producer of one of the final six films “Stupid Chainsaw Tricks.” Director Kellie Anne Benz brought Christopher in to produce the film, having work together on “Awkward”, which was presented at the 2008 Vancouver International Film Festival. He was excited about exploring film from the other side and to participate in the workshops that Crazy 8s provided for producers. Christopher Shyer appreciated that Crazy 8s gives first time directors a chance and supports young filmmakers.

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Actor and Producer Ashley Fester and Actor, Producer, and Director Christopher Shyer



The light dimmed off and on, so everyone in the lobby rushed into the movie theatre. I found my way down to the front row and sat next to Frank Roberts who is a local photographer who was capturing official images for the Crazy8s.

On stage to start off the evening was host Fred Ewanuick, who captured the playful energy of the night and interacted well with the boisterous and enthusiastic audience. He made a few mistakes in his announcements, but quickly made it part of his charm in warming up the audience. It seemed appropriate for an event that was less about slick production and more about the people who love film.

Eric Paulsson and Marc Stephenson, producers of Crazy8s spoke briefly after host Fred Ewanuick had everyone in the mood to watch films. Eric and Marc explained that the Crazy8s Gala is the culmination of an eight day filmmaking event. Over 110 submissions started with a video pitch. It was noted that the “Triple Dog dare” initiative to encourage more women filmmakers to pitch their films was a success as four of the six final films were directed by women.

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Audience inside Vogue theatre


The movies were preceded by a behind-the-scenes clip about the Crazy8s process from pitch to production. Each time the crew from one of the short films was shown on the screen, you could hear cheers and hollers from friends, family, and supporters in the crowd. The short films hadn’t started yet and I was already getting caught up in the enthusiasm and excitement in the Vogue Theatre.

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