I am pleased to announce that the full length version of the documentary film, Surviving In The Cracks, will be having its first public screening in Vancouver on Tuesday, November 9th at 8pm. Click on the Brown Paper Tickets logo or the link at the bottom of this post to purchase your tickets!
On June 19, 2009, a micro-budget theatre production called Surviving In The Cracks wowed an enthusiastic sold-out crowd at Ironworks Studios in Vancouver. It was about a group of street youth who, with their allies, advocated for the reopening of three safe houses whose funding was cut by the provincial government in March 2004. The play was written and performed by these youth, some who are still very close to being street involved today. In the months of rehearsal leading up to this performance and the months that followed, I was there with my camera, and produced a short documentary film that screened at the Vancouver Short Film Festival in October 2009 and the World Community Development Film Festival in January 2010.
I went on to create this 56 minute version of the film which goes into much more depth surrounding some of the main subjects and the issues that they and the project faced. This version earned a grant from the National Film Board, which I will be using to complete the film in preparation for its DVD release and the educational market. At this screening on November 9th, you will have a chance to provide your input on what this final DVD version will look like. Ticket proceeds will go towards the cost of the screening and supplement the grant for the final edit and completion costs of the film. A Q&A will follow with myself and some of the actors from the play.
The show begins at 8pm on Tuesday, November 9th at the Pacific Cinematheque (1131 Howe St., Vancouver, BC). You can purchase your advance tickets here for $10 (plus service fee) .
I hope to see you there!
The trailer for Surviving In The Cracks.
If you take another look at Day 3, you’ll see that I was overly ambitious with my movie viewing today. While my plans had me seeing four films, I managed to watch only two. The first change happened when I had to leave the Isabel Bader theatre after Babies to get back in line for Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage. And what a line it was. Both Babies and Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage received a disproportionate amount of publicity due to their screenings last night, the opening night of the festival. Babies is having a massive North American theatrical release following the festival. Their popularity at the box office reflected this publicity (line ups around the block), and proved that our society – well, the choices we make of what we consume at least, are highly dependent on the media. I am just as guilty. That’s why I decided to see Babies today – I wanted to know what all the hype was about. Similarly, with all of the films out there – shelves and shelves of them at the video store, thousands on television and perhaps millions on the internet – I gravitate to the ones with the best critics quotes on the package. It saves me time and improves my chances that the viewing experience will not be a wasteful one. But it also robs me from experiencing the great films with far less or no marketing. So here I am, the hypocrite, about to ‘review’ a movie or two, and add to the media circus, for what it’s worth to the reader, for what it’s worth to the film.
Hmmm. I’m feeling a little feisty tonight. Probably not a great time to try my hand at being a movie critic. Plus I don’t really know if it’s a good idea for filmmakers to criticize other filmmaker’s work. Courage Greg (or stupidity). Here goes.
Review: Babies – Thomas Balmes
Follow four babies from four countries (Namibia, Mongolia, Japan, and the US) from birth to bipedism. Like nothing I’ve ever seen in a film, I admire the courage (and the patience) of the filmmaker and his attempt (intentional or not) to put the onus on the audience to decide what this film is about. Some will adore it for it cutsie putsie surface qualities – after all, babies and absolutely everything they do are cute. And these babies are sickeningly cute. Much of the audience will be happy to see it just for that, and go no deeper. But some will attempt to go deeper and decide this film is a silent commentary on the common ground we share as humans, despite the contrasts we have in our geography and culture; people will be aghast with the “primitive” way in which some cultures raise their children, other people will be more self critical – aghast with the ridiculousness of western ways of raising our kids. Still others will see this film as a window into our own behaviour as human adults – both the joy and the hopelessness. From absolute happiness to fear, frustration, curiosity and cruelty, we as adults behave in exactly the same manner, albeit with the burden/responsibility of having to deal with the consequences that moral, ethical, and legal consciousness carry. I think I see this film as all of these. Summary: Courageous. Fun. Cute but not too cute. A little long. Love the music but each time (several times) the same song played I thought it was cuing the credits – it wasn’t. Technically falls short of expectations. Definitely falls short of the hype. 3/5
Review: Babies – Thomas Balmes
Review: The World According to Ion B. – Alexander Nanau
Seriously, I’m too tired to write another review tonight so I’m cutting to the summary. Summary: A solid textbook portrait doc about a world-reknowned artist’s rise to stardom from the gutter (literally). A political film about a political artist. Inspiring. Purposefully remains true to the artists’ rise to fame, his work and his political motivation – the celebration of the artist is not stolen by the story of the gallery-owner’s agenda, which in the film appears well-intentioned, but as we learned in the Q&A with the filmmaker, was rooted self-service. 4/5
Review: The World According to Ion B. – Alexander Nanau
In other news, I learned today that one of my Rendézvous requests was accepted by a distributor out of California. Next Tuesday I have a 15 minute slot to pitch my new project Alexis.
Well, turning in a little early tonight to get a good night’s sleep. Tomorrow is a long day – lots of screenings and in the morning I’ll have a look at the Doc Shop, the online market where Surviving In The Cracks can be screened. GNight.
HOT DOCS INSIDE OUT – DAY 1: Kickoff report from Winnipeg and Toronto – a Screening and a Scholarship
Greetings to my readers – all three of you – and welcome to my kickoff blog entry for “Hot Docs Inside Out”. To begin, I have some good news and less-good news to report.
Firstly the less-good news. Surviving In The Cracks was not selected to screen at Hot Docs, DOXA, or Yorkton. Darn. But why is this “less-good” and not “bad”? Because of the good news that follows! (Also, if you missed it from my previous post, “133 Years…” did not make the finals of the International Doc Challenge, so it won’t be screening at Hot Docs either – but it did rank in the top 25 out of over 100 entries!).
So enough of the less-good news, let’s move on to the good news. There are three major things:
First, I am presently in Winnipeg for the “World Premiere” of Surviving In the Cracks at the Winnipeg Cinematheque, which happens tonight. As well, my brother and I will be interviewed this afternoon on APTN (Aboriginal People’s Television Network) which, I am told, will broadcast nationally tonight.
I will tweet and Facebook the details of the broadcast when I know them. The interview will appear tonight on the APTN National News, which airs at 7pm Central (Winnipeg), 6pm in Alberta, and 5pm in Vancouver.
Second, I have been honoured with the Astral Media TDF Scholarship at Hot Docs (only two in Canada, one from QC and one from BC – me!!). This means that I get the all access full-meal-deal – to see and participate in Hot Docs from the inside out, attend Doc U, the Toronto Documentary Forum (TDF), the opening gala, festival pass, plus travel and accommodation to Toronto for the whole festival. Wowzers.
The third good news, and something already underway that I am not blogging but I am very excited to be part of, is that I am participating in NFB’s Cookin’ Creative spring group back in Vancouver. Just want to say hi to any of you if you happen to be reading, and I think I’ll be seeing at least one of you at Hot Docs too!So I thought, why not share the amazing experiences of the next two weeks with everyone – those who deserve this experience as much as me, those who I have worked with before and will work with in the future, film students, filmmakers, industry folk, family, friends, my brother’s dog, my sister’s cat, my cousin’s sea monkeys etc, etc.
My format for this will be a daily blog, starting now, April 27 through May 8, here on my website, plus regular live tweets throughout. I’ll also be linking back to my blogs from Facebook and Twitter so feel free to follow me/friend me from either, or both of those platforms.
Alright, here we go!
I am pleased to announce the “World Premiere” of the full length version of Surviving In The Cracks at the Cinematheque Theatre in Winnipeg on Tuesday, April 27. The show starts at 7:30 and tickets are $5 at the door. A note from the group who is sponsoring this event:
“The University of Manitoba Transmedia and Justice Group is a multi-disciplinary collective of Winnipeg-based academics with a shared interest in supporting grassroots community-based efforts to achieve social and environmental justice through creative transmedia approaches to research and advocacy.
In this first film screening of the Transmedia and Justice Group, in partnership with the Winnipeg Film Group, we have invited emerging Vancouver filmmaker Greg Masuda to Winnipeg to present Surviving in the Cracks. This film chronicles the story of a partnership between the Vancouver Youth Visions Coalition, and the Partnerning in Community Health Research program at UBC. The film depicts how a group of formerly street-involved youth who advocate for the rights and wellbeing of the homeless in the Lower Mainland region of BC came together with students interested in applying creativity-based research approaches to shift the discourse on youth and homelessness in Vancouver to produce a theatre-based product that brings renewed attention to the BC government’s abrogation of responsibility in caring for the health and safety of children who end up on the streets through no fault of their own.
This film will be of interest to community members, academics, students, and policy influencers with interest in issues of homelessness, housing, social work, urban planning, health inequalities, and social justice, particularly those who wish to support grassroots voices in calling for a shift in discourse on these issues through creative approaches to community-driven research and advocacy.”
Thanks to the University of Manitoba Transmedia and Justice Group, the Winnipeg Film Group and the Winnipeg Arts Council for their help with this event. I will be making a stop-over in Winnipeg to attend this screening on the way to Doc U and the Toronto Documentary Forum at Hot Docs.
UPDATED: THE RADIO INTERVIEW ON CJSF 90.1FM ( Cable 90.3FM) or online at cjsf.ca WILL AIR NEXT MONDAY, NOVEMBER 9 AT 3PM.
What a weekend! Surviving In the Cracks premiered Friday, October 23 at the Vancouver Short Film Festival to a full house. This was the first public screening of the film and it went splendidly! It was amazing to be part of this festival and to be included among such a solid lineup of films and it was a huge thrill to see it up on the big screen at one of the nicest theatres in Vancouver, Vancity Theatre!
The film didn’t win any awards (visit vsff.com for the winners), but it did draw the attention of some press: I just finished recording an interview with Nick Pannu at CJSF 90.1FM ( Cable 90.3FM) or online at cjsf.ca. The interview will be airing at 3pm Monday, November 9th on the Arts Indy program.
Surviving In The Cracks is an ongoing project… it started as a play, became a grad film project which spun off this version, and now has legs to become much more. On the live-theatre front, we are working on getting support for a re-mount of the play. On the documentary front, a longer version is in post-production now, and I plan to submit this to larger festivals before the end of the year. On a third front, we are seriously exploring the possibility of creating a new media component… Send me an email if you want to offer your support.
Stay in the loop: Become a fan of Surviving In The Cracks on Facebook!
The 10 minute version of the “Surviving In The Cracks” documentary film will be screening, along with other short documentary and dramatic films, at Langara College Main Campus on Sunday, September 27, starting at 3:00pm.
I will also be putting the film into a draw to be screened at the next meeting of the Celluloid Social Club, on Wednesday, September 23. UPDATE: Since “District 9″ guests were presenting tonight, the draw for the screening was pulled from the agenda.