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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As someone mentioned early in the evening, there was no one winner at the Gala as all 6 finalists were winners. The producers of Crazy8s Erik Paulsson and Marc Stephenson were clearly onto something when they created the event 11 years ago, because it’s still vibrant and exciting today. I can see that everyone at the Gala was passionate about film, and supporting and growing local filmmakers.

Film: Cat vs Man. Writer/Director: Zia Marashi, and Producers: Cole Hewlett & Mark MacDonald. Synopsis: "When blocked writer Rory moves in with his girlfriend, he finds himself competing with her cat, Waffles, for her affections…and Waffles won’t give her up without a fight."
This film was very funny, principally because of  the comedic dynamics between “The film was very funny, in part because I think many in the audience including myself has experienced something similar in our own lives. The three actors made the film fun and playful and full of laughs. Anna Mae Routledge  as the girlfriend was good in her part, but the short film was focused on relationship between Viv Leacock as Waffles the cat, and Richard de Klerk as the boyfriend. What made the film most funny was when the girlfriend’s cat turned into human form and Viv Leacock was able to use his comedic talents. There’s something very funny about humanizing and verbalizing all the neurotic tendancies of cat, which was conveyed with a playful touch by Writer/Director Zia Marashi.

Film: Tunnel (adapted from “The Tunnel” by Mark Strand) Writer/Director: Arianna C. McGregor, and Produces: David Jevons. Synopsis: “Esther’s world goes awry when she wakes to discover a dirt-covered and unresponsive man in pajamas on her front lawn, sending her into a downward spiral of fear and paranoia.”
This playful film made everyone laugh while communicating an important message, you can’t always convey. The film tells a simple story with the humour that a child can understand. I know this because the young boy sitting next to me at the theatre kept laughing. The film tells of how paranoia about people and judging people can lead to insanity. The humour of the film is that the man on her lawn doesn’t move or say anything, yet Esther lets her paranoia get the best of her to the point that she digged a tunnel under her condo to escape.

Film: Sikat Writer/Director: Angelina L. Cantada, Producer: Ita Kane-Wilson & Olesia Shewchuk Synopsis: “It’s been many years since Sikat left the Philippines to come to Canada to care for other women’s children. Now the day has finally arrived for her own son and husband to rejoin her.”
This touching story highlights the lives of many immigrants who come to Canada, while leaving their families behind in their home countries. Kira Clavell as the nanny was moving in a subtle yet powerful performance. I was reminded in the end of how everyone has a story worth telling and hearing. It’s clear that everyone involved felt strongly about the message, and presented it with grace and emotional beauty.

Film: The Education of Wendy Wisconsin Writer/Director: Dwight Hartnett, and Producer:  Patrick Sayer Synopsis: “Wendy, a high school student, can’t seem to figure out why life is so easy. Too easy…it takes a surprise visit to educate Wendy that although boring, her life is part of a much bigger, important picture.”

The film plays on the stereotypes of teenagers and the media perpetuation of the ideas to make money. Mixing funny dialogue and well crafted songs in the style of TV shows like Glee, the film does a great job of making us laugh at ourselves as a consumer society.
Wendy Wisconsin is an actress who wants to be an artist and not  "prostitute [her] art”. The TV show’s producer says that “you model teenage behaviour and we use you to sell stuff.”

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