Tuesday, October 14, 2008



FINAL DEADLINE, October 17, 2008

Vancouver, BC - Women in Film & Television Vancouver (WIFTV) is pleased to
announce the 4th Annual Women in Film Festival BC will be presented March 5 -
7, 2009 at the state-of-the-art Vancity Theatre in downtown Vancouver, British
Columbia, Canada.

The festival is produced by WIFTV, an internationally affiliated non-profit
society committed to advancing and celebrating women in screen-based media.
The annual festival coincides with International Women's Day (March 8th) and is
presented in association with the international organization, WIFTI, who will
present a short film showcase. We will also celebrate the achievement of BC
filmmakers at the Spotlight Awards Gala on Friday March 6, 2009.

"This festival celebrates women's storytelling and helps advance women
filmmakers. Join us and meet some great filmmakers, see some great films, and
help us celebrate our diverse and exciting cultural perspective." Peggy
Thompson, WIFTV President & award winning screenwriter (Better Than Chocolate).

The Women in Film Festival accepts Canadian and international film submissions
in the following categories:
Narrative and Documentary, Shorts and Features, New Media, Music Videos, Video
Poems, and Experimental. Any genre, animated or live action, will be considered.

Submissions featuring strong female characters and stories are encouraged.
Eligible films must have at least THREE of the following (one woman may serve
more than one role):
. a woman as Writer
. a woman as Producer
. a woman as Director
. a woman as D.O.P
. a woman as Lead Actor
. a woman as Lead Animator / Editor

In addition, the Legacy Awards will be presented by festival sponsor, Deboragh
Gabler (Producer) of Legacy Filmworks, to three B.C. film-making teams for
outstanding achievement in film.

To submit a film/video: Submission information can be found at

New Media submissions will be accepted free this year, the submission form is
available via our festival website at http://www.wiffbc.com.

For further information, check the festival website, email info@wiffbc.com
or call 604-685-1152.


Media inquiries please contact Roslyn Muir, Festival Chair, info@wiffbc.com
or 604-812-1960

Monday, September 22, 2008

MARTINI MADNESS and Women In Film&Television Vancouver, kick off the VIFF!

Women In Film & Television Vancouver is once again hosting their annual Martini Madness event to help kick off the Vancouver International Film Festival!

This year’s event will feature a fabulous evening of networking, music by DJ Truth, casino wheels, raffle prizes and live entertainment by Ingrid Nilson, Leena Manro, Dane Szohner, Sabrina Prada and Yvette Dudley-Neuman.

As an added bonus, this year we have added a ‘Members Only’ hour from 6:30pm – 7:30pm for the first 100 guests, which will be an excellent opportunity to meet with the new members of your board, as well as local and international Women In Film members. With so many local professionals, as well as national and international delegates in town, Martini Madness is an excellent opportunity to meet and network with others in the industry.

Last year, there were more than 500 in attendance, so make sure to get your tickets early! There will many great raffle prizes, a grand prize of a MINI Cooperto drive for the weekend, and a few other surprises in store! Don't miss out on what is sure to be a great party and social networking event!

If you are a member of Women In Film & Television Vancouver, to get your complimentary ticket, please e-mail info@womeninfilm.ca with “Martini Madness Ticket Reservation” in the subject line, and your name, in order to reserve your ticket. You can make arrangements to pick-up the tickets in advance from the office during office hours, or have them ready for you at the door on the night.

A variety of volunteer opportunities for the evening are also still available, and are an excellent opportunity to contribute to the organization, network, and meet other members. If you’re interested please e-mail volunteer@womeninfilm.ca.

Non-members of Women In Film &Television Vancouver are encourage to join the organization before September 23, 2008, to receive a complimentary ticket. (Yes, men are welcome to join as “Friends Of WIFTV”!) Otherwise, you may also purchase a ticket to the event, in advance, for $25 by calling the Women In Film office at 604-685-1152. Tickets may also be available at the door on the day, subject to availability. Advance purchase is recommended.

Looking foward to sharing a martini (or two) with you on the 24th!!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

7:30pm - 11:30pm

Romano's Macaroni Grill
1523 Davie Street
Vancouver, BC


Robyn & Tracey

Friday, August 22, 2008

"Derek" Tonight! Oscar-winning actress Tilda Swinton produced, wrote and serves as guide of...

The Celluloid Social Club has the honour of co-presenting the following film about the great filmmaker Derek Jarman TONIGHT at 7:00 PM:

20th Anniversary Vancouver Queer Film Festival | August 14-24
Friday, August 22, 2008, 7:00 PM
Emily Carr Institute 1400 Johnston St
For more information and to buy tickets, check out website: queerfilmfestival.ca

Oscar-winning actress Tilda Swinton produced, wrote and serves as guide of this loving portrait of queer film maverick Derek Jarman – her mentor, collaborator and friend. Swinton and director Isaac Julien (Looking for Langston, Young Soul Rebels) deftly combine home movies, archival footage, scenes from Jarman’s films and interviews with Jarman himself to create an insightful look at his life and work.

In classic interviews Jarman speaks frankly about his time as an art student in London during the swinging 1960s, his emergence as a filmmaker of homoerotic and controversial features (Jubilee, Sebastiane, Caravaggio and Edward II), his work with The Smiths and The Pet Shop Boys and his public battle with AIDS.

As a gay man living in Thatcher’s Britain, Jarman used his art to build bridges and shout defiantly at the world. Swinton and Julien’s film is a celebration of an extraordinary life in art.

2008 marks the 20th Anniversary of the Vancouver Queer Film Festival. Experience the unexpected at Vancouver’s second largest film festival, bringing film lovers and filmmakers together to celebrate the best of independent queer cinema. Flirt, chat and get a little wild at the hottest parties, galas and cinematic spectacles this side of the Pacific.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Jazzketeers? Bring on the jazz hands and scissor-step your way to Razzle Dazzle: A Journey Into Dance! -Tonight at the Vancouver Queer Film Festival

Jazzketeers? Bring on the jazz hands and scissor-step your way to Razzle Dazzle: A Journey Into Dance! -Tonight at the Vancouver Queer Film Festival

The acclaimed film Razzle Dazzle: A Journey Into Dance is screening tonight, Monday, August 18th 9:30 pm at the Vancity International Film Centre, 1181 Seymour Street@ Davie (604.683.film)

Directed by Darren Ashton, "This deadpan mockumentary from Down Under (fans of the Office and Best In Show will likely approve!) offers a truly queer portrayal of a presumably straight children's dance troupe and it's overzealous, politically correct dance instructor, Mr. Jonathon.

The Jazzketeers prepare to out-dance their rival team at the years biggest dance competition, but can they win with a routine based on social awareness and the Kyoto Protocol Shuffle?... Enter the enormous hair and shimmering sequins. Pushing along her daughter along is the hilarious Justine, a stage mother with her own failed I-could-have-been-a-Spice-Girl ambitions.
Add in a few Hey Big Spender's, and a couple of gay dad's and you've got a queer cult classic in the making!"

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Put some love "Italian Ameican Style" into your Saturday and Sunday night!

"Italian American Reconciliation" at The Beaumont Stage! Runs Thru August 24th only!

Starring:Linda Darlow, Bill MacDonald,Ben Ratner,Lori Triolo,Krystal Vrba
Directed by: Jennifer Clement
Stage Manager:Andrea Heald
LX&Set Construction:S.Tyson

Check out our reviews online!

Th Courier:


The Georgia Straight:


Thursday, August 14, 2008

First Weekend Club's exclusive AMAL interview with Director Richie Mehta

Join free and get the latest in Canadian Film at www.FirstWeekendClub.ca
Exclusive interview with director Richie Mehta (Amal)
BY Alexandra Staseson

Perhaps it is the reverie of summer's season, but every so often we reflect back on those cinematic moments that we've cherished in the past, and wonder when we'll feel that way again...

And It is just then that a film comes along which, like a beautiful summer wind, picks us up along with it; into its cadence, into its tumult, and into its mysteriously sweet magic.

Like a warm wind, or even a tempest, invisible to the eye, its presence is made most known by the stirring of that which encounters it. The way it changes the shape of things and the way it moves whatever it touches. I believe that a good film moves through us, and we in turn, are moved through it.

AMAL, by director/co-writer Richie Mehta, opens in theatres August 8th and it is 'one of those films'. In my conversation with Richie, I was honored to learn how his film came to capture the hearts of audiences during festival fervour. Now, as AMAL is about to receive it's Canadian theatrical release, I invite you to read the generous insights into filmmaking and life that he has shared with me. His discussion will lend itself to the poignancy of the film AMAL when you see it. And here, he so generously shares with us the inspiring journey of making such a piece. After seeing the film, I hope you feel the same as so many whose hearts were swept away by this film.


Alexandra Staseson


AMAL is a rare gem of a film, with intrinsic beauty in the storytelling which in turn, moves us. What in your opinion makes AMAL a universal story? It has, and continues to touch the hearts and lift the spirits of many.This is why First Weekend Club is honored to support the crucial opening weekend of the film on August 8th. Why do you want people to see this film?

Richie Mehta:

We made this film for a simple underlying reason - to challenge the viewer's perception and definition of "wealth." This is something we infused in every scene of the film - it is always about money or going after that thing that makes you happy, which may or may not be genuine. I think these issues - which all relate back to what makes you happy, are very much in the zeitgiest right now. Its the most common conversation I find myself having in every day life - what do you want to do with your life, what are you striving for? And with AMAL, we used a rickshaw driver's life as a comparison point - someone who lives so far away from our Westernized life and lifestyle, and asked these questions, to illustrate how all of us - no matter where we live - are after that same thing.


What was the inspiration behind you and your brother writing the script AMAL? You had first made it as a short film? DId you intend also to make it a feature or did it just keep knocking at your door asking to be made into something more?

Richie Mehta:

It was intended to be an exercise short film, and it certainly wouldn't let me go at least. I think I infected the rest of our team with my obsession over its themes, which Shaun (my brother) had originally unearthed in his short story. But it was the reaction to our short film - audiences were divided in a very good way as to whether the ending was positive or negative as we had hoped - that warranted in my mind another shot, and a really strong effort to expose these themes to broader audiences.


Perhaps your wisdom will help film-makers and artists who have thought about making a short film with the intentions of seeing their feature's fruition. What was the process like, going from short to feature? Would you do it again? Was it easier in some regards? How was it perhaps more of a challenge?

Richie Mehta:

It was very time consuming to write. The thing is, as Shaun and I expanded it, we asked ourselves every day why are we doing this? We've already done it, so is this just a vanity thing and have we really run out of ideas in our 20s? That prompted us to go for broke and really make sure the project was worth doing. Each scene had to not only serve the central, very simple theme, but also be interesting by itself and cinematic. The idea was if we were going to ask the audience to give us 5 times as much time to end up with a similar point, we had to make sure we made it worth their while.
In terms of the production side, it's no comparison. It would be the same as comparing the short film experience to running a 100 meter race against your friends after school, while the feature is running a marathon in the Olympics. It took more stamina, more concentrated creative and emotional energy, more patience, more resources, than anything I could have imagined. People tell you this before hand, how different it will be, but one has to go through the gauntlet to feel it.


You shot AMAL in New Delhi, India. What was the largest challenge to deal with while trying to ' take your Canadian film overseas to shoot?' Was the pre-production much different than you would have expected?

Richie Mehta:

It was far bigger than I'd imagined. I'm used to being self-sufficient, and if I need to shoot something small, with minimal crew, I can manage. But here, we had gotten three Indian stars to participate, so we had to provide the infrastucture to support them - which wasn't that outlandish - but we needed to make sure they had what they needed to perform. And that meant we had to up our game (all of us - Steven Bray and David Miller, the producers) and create a stable infrastructure in Delhi. It helped that I had family and friends to support us, but we were bringing 30-odd crew members from India, hiring just as many Indians, shooting 45 locations in 29 days, and casting more than 40 speaking parts in Hindi and English, it was just big for us first-timers. And many of our backers were uncertain as to whether we could pull it off, that was a tough thing to get through - the idea that it was do or die and we were alone in India doing this. But perhaps that was why the film came together.


Westerners who visit India often feel a 'culture shock' so to speak when adapting to the pace of a different set of variables. So here you were, taking an entire film, AMAL, to India! Was there a 'film-culture' shock? How did people respond to you? How did you react and respond to the conditions you may have faced?

Richie Mehta:

I was used to it as I had spent many months there over the last 4 years, some on the short film, some on development on the feature. I speak Hindi, and I can blend in with no problem. But there were issues with some of the crew. We were very clear going into it that it would be an adventure, and we meant it. India's a place where if you spend enough time and allow yourself to really be there, you will learn more about yourself than you could imagine. You see the best and worst of what we are capable of being and doing in the same frame, right in front of you on a minute-by-minute basis, and it tests you in very tangible ways. To ask a skilled crew to perform their tasks optimally in these conditions is a lot to ask for, and some were not prepared. That was a real issue for us during production. Ironically, the Indians were very welcoming and open to us doing our thing, and gave us no opposition (at least none I can write of!)


Was there ever a time, even a moment when you doubted yourself, or AMAL when say, an obstacle had you questioning the purpose or the path this film was on? What was it that gave you the notion to keep going and to see the life of the film stay true to it's spirit? How did you physically overcome the obstacle? And now, in hindsight, does that obstacle seem changed in size?

Richie Mehta:

There were many times. About two weeks before shooting, we lost our lead actress, and we were on the brink of losing the entire project. I remember thinking to myself we were so close to achieving everything we had worked for our entire lives, and equally as close to losing it. That's a very strange place to be, but we managed to figure things out by not over reacting. There were also the daily moments when I'd wake up with a fever (I was ill the first two weeks of production), take a cold shower (from my trickling tap) and as I shivered at three in the morning (North-Indian winter nights are freezing) I'd ask why are we doing this...what could possibly be worth all of this discomfort and solitude. Even when I saw David and Steven in those days, we were all in bad shape, physically and mentally. Here we were, trying to make a film about a rickshaw driver that we thought had these profound ideas about life, and we were putting ourselves through cheese graters to get there. In the end, again, I think this helped the film stay on path - there was far too much at stake for us to drop the ball. In hindsight you forget those sensations of course, and oddly enough I yearn to put myself back in those situations.


I found some director's notes you've made that were interesting. You mention that "Amal", the film's lead character who, ..."Oblivious to concepts of greed and control, and subject to notions entrenched within Hindu doctrine, has accepted his duty in the world. Every incident and character in the film reflects his attitude and shows the friction that this type of attitude can generate." ... Will you expand on this ?

Richie Mehta:

Sure, Amal sticks to very simple rules that concern his routine, and those rules are unique to him in a survival-of-the-fittest world. (For example, NOT ripping people off to make a few more bucks and live a slightly better life). But when everyone around you is getting paid more, is able to go a little further with that money, and you're left in the dust because of it, who really wins? Is it the guy who never compromised his integrity, or the guy that had an extra five bucks in his pocket. Now when the one with integrity gets rewarded for that - in a currency that you covet - that can create all kinds of problems. But in Amal's case, it doesn't matter, simply because he's not comparing himself to others. That's one of the crux's of the film - As long as we compare our own success to others around us, your views of yourself and of the world will be skewed. I don't mean to sound like a preacher here, but these are some of the ideas that informed his character, and we tried to keep those in mind as we drafted his motives in each scene.


How are you like the character Amal? Which parts of the 'way of life' according to the Hindu doctrine are most inspiring to you? Do you have a personal sense of duty in the world? If you aren't sure what it may be, what would you ideally hope would be your purpose? Have you always felt that way?

Richie Mehta:

Haha, I don't know how much like AMAL I am...I'd like to say I'd refuse a tip and not be devious in any way, but I'm a rather shrewd person (one has to be in the film world to get their way, especially as a director). But I do believe very strongly in the notion that if you listen to your instinct, and take every opportunity to follow the path it guides you towards (which takes a hell of a lot of discipline and effort) than the world will faciliate that decision. I've lived enough strange coinicidences that have made everything I've wanted in life to happen that I believe this.
I've always felt this way yes, but only in the last few years, as I worked on AMAL and really learned about myself, I've learned how to articulate these thoughts. At the same time, I also believe strongly in something that a teacher once told me - the film world (and essentially, the world itself) will take everything away from you at some point. It will rob you of your self-confidence, ego, pride, money, perception of reality, you name it. The only thing it cannot take from you - which is the one thing YOU can give away - is your integrity. I suppose that is a trait Amal has.


Tell us a little about the casting of the film AMAL? How did you come to cast Rupinder Nagra as Amal? At which moment did you KNOW that he was Amal? What do you see as his strongest gift as an artist/actor? And also as an actor who works in the film medium and all it's from a technical on-set stand-point?

Richie Mehta:

I met Rupinder at the Reelworld film festival in 2003 in Toronto. We hung out, laughed, watched movies - saw some we loved, and some we didn't - and realized that we could do work that could get seen at this festival. My brother had just written AMAL the short story, and I asked Rup to read it with the idea of him playing the lead character and us going to India with a skeleton crew to shoot it as an exercise. He loved it, and spear-headed a fund-raiser to get some money to shoot the film, and we went. After the film was received so well, and Shaun and I expanded the screenplay, we always knew Rup would play Amal, so we based a lot of the characteristics of the feature character on Rup himself. He is that nice a guy, that sweet a person. On set, he was a pillar of support - any time I needed anything of him I knew I could depend on him. He became an expert on rickshaw drivers, and the greatest thing beyond that he brought was that in all the turmoil and madness of shooting on the streets, with all the uncertainty of what we faced, he would never let us down.


What is the most funny, serendipitous or notable incident you can share with us about your time in India filming AMAL?

Richie Mehta:

There are so many. It could be the moment we shot the cow eating from a merchant's flower bag during the chase scene. We had hired a cow handler to bring his cow to eat the flour, and we literally had 10 minutes to shoot the scene. There was mumblings of cutting the joke as we didn't have time, but it was important to me - these little moments made up the fabric of the film. So we're ready for the shot, but the cow and the handler didn't show! It was disheartening. But in true India fashion, a stray cow walked by and started eating the flour. We did the shot three time, all great, and when we wrapped the real cow-handler and his cow showed, but we didn't need him. Among other moments, we had to shoot while crowds of thousands of onlookers surrounded us (and straddled the outskirts of the frame). But while it sounds like it was all haphazard, we were so adament about what we wanted to capture on screen, were able to seize any opportunity that arose.


With AMAL, You've really illustrated to us how the sky is the limit. How inspiring! On the subject of "dreaming big", what is your 'dream film' to make someday?

Richie Mehta:

I would love to make a film on a Jules Verne novel. He dreamed far bigger than anyong I can imagine, and I'd love to take one of his visions and translate it. The most amazing aspect of his novels is the poetry of his language, even in simple description. It's not something I find in any recent novels of the past few years, or decades for that matter. I'd also love to do a version of "The Merchant of Venice," although I find Michael Radford's adaptation superb - I'd love to put myself through the ringer on that play. But before all of that, I have my own projects - a personal sci-fi film, a fantasy film, and a big baseball film I need to do, which I will as soon as possible.


What would you say to aspiring film-makers, artists, and anyone who has the inspiration and heartfelt desire to do something much larger than they could possibly know how to facilitate, or have the resources to take-on? From your wisdom-through-experience, what can you share that you see as a crucial yet tangible element towards manifesting life- from a simple heart-felt intention into it's potential?

Richie Mehta:

Persistence is crucial, but there are many other factors. I think people underestimate just how much goes into making that thing in your mind, that intangible dream, a reality. It's not as simple as 'I want this,' and then it happens. The process of working towards it is so time consuming and lengthy, it becomes your lifestyle. So if you enjoy working 20 hour days, integrating your social life into your work, focusing 100% (and I really mean that) into this, you can make that happen. And since that process is within your control, you will have achieved that lifestyle as you wished. Anything else - connecting with the audience, making something that clicks, is bonus, as I suppose it is in my case so far. But those elements are out of your hands, so you can't rely on them to keep you happy.

Many thanks to director Richie Mehta for sharing his insights and experiences with us. I encourage you to support AMAL during its AUGUST 8th opening weekend, and beyond.

Please feel free to share this article, e-mail, post on your blog or website, and help us to support AMAL in the coming weeks!

Save me a seat?


Vancouver Queer Film Festival's 20th anniversary Gala, "Come out and see it"

Vancouver Queer Film Festival 2008 marks our 20th anniversary!| Aug 14-24

Check out the new website!

THU | AUG 14 | 9:30 PM
Celebrities Night Club 1022 Davie Street
Vogue down to high-end 80s pop and locker rock at the party that kicks off
our 20th Anniversary! QUEENS: Wolves on Parade by Coral Short with Lace
Embrace Atelier and Carols Costume Corner. Dianna David dances! dj little d,
DJ Ana and Robin Bank$ gonna knock your socks off.

Check out the Parties page on our website for more events.