All Lauren Graham wanted to do was make a movie that would make people happy for four minutes.
She says so herself right at the beginning of Insert Meaning Here , the winning entry at this year’s World Ski and Snowboard Festival Filmmaker Showdown.
An elegiac, surreal journey culminating with the point-blank question "What did you do to change the world today?" the film thrilled a packed house at the Telus Conference Centre at the finalists’ screenings on Wednesday, April 21, and succeeded in making the judging panel very happy. Supported by her crew of friends, Graham was awarded the grand prize of a Lumix digital camera from event sponsor Panasonic, valued at approximately $5,600.
The film stood out in concept, format and art direction.
After Graham’s self-narrated introduction a vibrant yellow long stem daffodil was introduced as the visual focus.
Did the cutting of the flower condemn it to death, or did it reward it with an exceptional life other non-picked daffodils would never know?
As the philosophical question hung in the air like the smell of rain, the camera followed the flower through a series of exchanges between mostly faceless human carriers to off-screen narration and a perfectly integrated score of original music composed by Graham’s older brother Peter.
It was an ambitious concept to say the least and the seamless editing required was exceptional under any time frame.
Considering that production under the contest’s rules was restricted to 72 hours the film truly awe-inspiring.
Graham says while challenged, she never felt daunted.
"I’d been thinking about it for a really long time and I was really well prepared. I storyboarded everything," she reflects over a plate of Mongolie Grill stir-fry.
"It came together in the editing room for sure but I knew the pieces would fit together."
It’s not the first thing Whistler has seen from the 23-year-old graduate of the Capilano College film program, who can be spotted earning money to support her projects slinging pints at the GLC. She’s the server who’s got "Help me make my movie" painted on her apron. Every tip helps.
Since moving to Whistler two years ago Graham has established herself as an active member of the local filmmaking community. She claimed the skull-head trophy at the first ever Heavy Hitting Films B-Grade Horrorfest in 2002 with a gory spectacle called Hagridden . She was a finalist in last year’s Filmmaker Showdown with the moody art piece Static , and released an all-girl snowboarding short film called Shot in the Dark last fall. She made a stab at defending Hagridden ’s title at the second annual Horrorfest last Halloween with the psychological thrill-kill piece Slow Fade . A second all-girl snowboarding short is currently in the works.