Rwanda: Hope Rises DVD Release

Rwanda DVD Release

It’s hard to believe that almost five years ago, five friends started planning for a trip to Rwanda. Our plan was to shoot a documentary in two weeks, spend a month in hard-core editing, and have it ready to watch by the summer of 2005.

I was so naive, in so many ways. I had shot several documentaries by this point, but nothing on this scale. The process has been intense, difficult, and there was more than once that the whole thing almost didn’t happen. But here we are… the film is ready for the world to see on DVD.

You can get your copy here: Hope Rises Store. There is more info and trailers on the website as well as a Facebook fan page.

Thanks for all of your support over the years to get this thing made.

Bulembu Promo

In August 2008 I travelled to Bulembu, my second trip to this small town in Swaziland, Africa. I had been a few months previously, on a photography assignment (you can see some here and here). This time, I was directing a film of the Canadian Tenors as part of the Voices for Bulembu campaign. The eventual result was this promotional video, and a mini-documentary of the Tenor’s experiences (see it here). Both films were shown as part of a series of gala events to raise money for the work of the Bulembu Foundation. It was a great success, with almost one million dollars raised over a single weekend.

Through my involvement in Bulembu I’ve gained many lifelong friends, and become part of a significant effort to transform this struggling nation. It has been a great privilege.

Many thanks to those involved. Post-production on the videos was by Jon at EXE Productions. Cinematography was by the talented Jonny Beecher. Special thanks to Kelly Walker for producing both trips and to the team at the Bulembu Foundation for their transformative work.

YMCA Youth Peace Network PSA

A recent project for The YMCA of Greater Vancouver.

We had a very tight timeline, and an even tighter budget, but we managed to pull it all together — just in time for the YPN’ers farewell dinner. A great group of youth to interact with (and a great program!) Check it out for yourself…

“The Duchess” a Film Race Finalist!

“The Duchess” was a 2009 Vancouver Film Race finalist! The film was selected out of 34 in competition by judges in New York to run for the top prize. Last night was the awards announcement at the Anza Club (host of the Celluloid Social Club). In the end we didn’t win… but we had a good time with the other contestants watching everyone’s films and hearing Q&A’s from each team.

Thanks for everyone who supported Team Cinesketch for the race! Here’s a link to some of our sponsors:

If you haven’t watched the film yet, head over to the facebook page where you can become a fan and watch the video.

“The Duchess” Screening July 22nd

The Duchess

Victor (played by Matt Chandler) thinks he has things straight when he nabs the Duchess (Joy Pecknold) for theft. But the Duchess spins a tale faster than a Mach 1 Mustang’s wheels in a burnout… can you keep up?

“The Duchess”, a short film created for the 2009 Vancouver Film Race, is screening Wednesday July 22nd at Fifth Avenue Cinemas. Tickets are $9. Hit the link for more info (our film is at the 7pm screening).

We had an awesome time making the film. Car chases, burnouts, gunshots and subterfuge… all good fun. I had the pleasure of directing, with Jesse Rosten as DOP, Matt Chandler penning as well as starring with Joy Pecknold and Dan Stewart. Hope you can make it!

Wall•E – The Shot Tells the Story

It’s no secret that I’m a big Pixar fan. Their focus on “story first” has resulted in a long string of engaging hits and memorable characters.

© 2008 Pixar Animation Studios / Walt Disney Pictures.
© 2008 Pixar Animation Studios / Walt Disney Pictures.

I’m preparing for my next short film, and beginning the process of storyboarding. I ran across Karen J Lloyd, whose site is an excellent storyboarding resource. While the site’s focus is professional artists, she recently completed a series on Wall•E which I’m reading through now: The Shot Tells the Story. While Wall•E works on many levels, the shot selection is a big part of the storytelling in a movie with no dialogue (much like my next project).

Take a look if you’re interested to see how shots break down to tell the story of Wall•E.