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Feature - Just give’er

Whistler’s filmmaking community steps up to the big screen


By Kara-Leah Grant

It was a simple idea born from a desire to see something through from conception to delivery. Let’s make a short film – after all, everybody else in town is doing it so how hard can it really be? We just need to come up with an idea, write a script, grab some friends, film it, edit it and hand it in on time for the Second Annual B-Grade Horror Film Festival.

But of course, it wasn’t easy. Our movie, The Starring Role, took five weeks to go from the initial idea to the edited piece, including four days of filming and four nights of editing. Maybe more, the days and nights started to blur together after a while.

We borrowed a house from a friend and a camera from another friend. We begged friends to act in it, telling them we only needed them for a day, then asked them for another day, then another. We sat down to edit and discovered shot after shot we were supposed to get, but didn’t. There were continuity problems, lighting problems and sound problems.

We’d planned to get our short in early, but our sound engineer (who quadrupled as cameraman, lighting guy and actor) was trapped in Vancouver courtesy of the washed out road. While I race to meet my deadline writing this article, my editor and sound engineer are racing to finish our short film so we can get it in on time.

But despite everything, all the work, the ‘beg, borrow and steal’ methodology and the imposition on friends’ time, all we can think of is, what shall we film next? Do we have time and energy enough to make another short before the crème de le crème forum for the Whistler filmmaking community, the Panasonic Filmmaker Showdown during the spring’s World Ski and Snowboard Festival? After this experience, we know one thing for certain, we need to learn a lot and the only way to learn a lot is to film a lot.

And that’s exactly what the Whistler filmmaking community is all about. If the community has a motto it’s: "Just give’er."

There is no funding. There is no financial reward. But there is a talented group of filmmakers in Whistler who, short after short, are learning the craft of filmmaking, guerrilla style.

If the movement has any leaders, then it is the men behind Heavy Hitting Films. Not because they are necessarily making the very best films, or the most films, (although they might be) but because Heavy Hitting Films care so much about providing a forum for the movies they want to make, they’ve created their own.