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"A sheep in the back of a hatchback was not an option" - filmmaking stories you never thought you'd hear

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"Can you find us a lamb?" I was asked.

I don’t know what I was expecting from the filmmaking process as one of 60 teams participating in the Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival’s Filmmaker Showdown, a 72-hour filmmaking competition. But this wasn’t it.

"Can I dress up Teddy in a lamb’s outfit?" I asked hopefully. After my little dog’s debut in Modern Dog Magazine I thought the silver screen was the next logical step.

His filmmaking career was put on hold, however. One phone call later, the three of us, Kevin, Brad and myself, were chasing sheep this way and that while farmer Jordan Sturdy looked on laughing.

"I think you should be making a movie of this," chuckled the Mayor of Pemberton, who wore the hat of animal handler for an hour.

I now know why animal handlers get paid the big bucks.

We needed a shot of a sheep in a kitchen and seeing how squeezing a sheep into the back of a hatchback and driving it from Pemberton to Whistler and back wasn’t an option, we opted for the blue screen route – shooting a subject against a blue background then removing that background and overlaying the subject onto another shot.

It was a bit of an odd sight: white clouds stretched out over a green farm scene of pigs, chickens, barns, wire fences and a sheep, standing on a piece of blue cloth in the middle of it all with a camera pointed at it.

A visit to North Arm Farm in Pemberton (which by the way will be opening for asparagus season in the near future: check future Table Scraps columns for details) was definitely a filmmaking highlight for the weekend.

Seventy-two hours never felt so long, productive and full of the unexpected. Two trips to the clinic (thanks Nurse Gillis for getting us in and out), slicing cucumbers in mid air (extra trips to Nesters for retakes), multiple shots of smashing a tomato into an actor’s face to get the perfect splat (Taylor, you throw like a girl) and setting a fire in a frying pan with 10-inch-high flames kept us busy… laughing. Despite the odds and the Roam premiere squeeze in, the film came together – securing the rights to music from Vancouver’s hottest gypsy-jazz band at the last minute tied everything together (be sure to check out their music at www.fourthstreetdjango.com ).

We weren’t chosen as one of the top eight films, but as cheesy as it sounds, we are all winners: aside from completing a film, I had so much fun becoming a part of the creative experience with teams collaborating, sharing info and equipment for the greater good. All of the filmmakers I spoke with were really proud of their films, whether producing a showdown finalist or future calling card, it didn’t matter.

"I already won," mocked one of the filmmakers hugging his new Avid program, which was awarded to all of the 60 teams even before the showdown began Friday morning at 10 a.m.

Everyone will have their moment in the sun, even if they didn’t win the trip-to-Mexico prize, all entries will be screened at the Whistler Film Nights’ Filmmaker Showdown edition May 5 at the Garibaldi Lift Company.

Showdown done; writing one of the chapters on Saturday for The Collective Novel Experience left to go.

I love how the festival not only showcases creativity, but also inspires it. The name says so little about what the festival is really about. Skiing and snowboarding is such a small part of it for some – depending on what side of the lens you are standing on.

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