Monday, May 26, 2008

61st Yorkton Short Film and Video Festival

I just got back in yesterday from the 61st Yorkton Short Film and Video Festival where my film Yellow Sticky Notes was up for Best Animation and I was up for Best Director Fiction. It is the longest running festival of its kind in North America and is like no other film festival I've ever been to. Yorkton is about a 2 hour drive from Regina. The city boasts a modest population of 15,000 residents but the city itself really embraces this yearly festival. After getting back from Tribeca in New York and Pangea Day in LA, Yorkton was a nice and strange change of pace. Great small town hospitality and warmth greeted all the visiting filmmakers and delegates. The Yorkton Short Film and Video Festival is best known for its prestigious Golden Sheaf Awards.

I was fortunate to win my category for Best Animation...which was the first time in 12 years a non-NFB animated film won. Actually I was up against 4 other NFB animations this year. Funny that a small film with a $100 budget used to buy yellow sticky notes and black markers could compete and win against films with $150,000 budgets. Yorkton wasn't all about award galas and films. I was also there pitching One Big Hapa Family to the broadcasters that were there. I met with Joanne McDonald from SCN along with Sarah Jane Flynn from Canwest where I was able to pitch my new doc. I also met John Dippong from Telefilm Executive Feature Film, Western Region and some great filmmakers like Randall Okita, Penny Ward, Steve Wolfson, Sheona McDonald, and John Bessai. Overall, Yorkton was a great time and unlike any other festival I've ever been!

Golden Sheaf Awards Gala

Partying with the some of the cast of Corner Gas and Jennifer Chen from Ouat! Media

With festival winners Randall Okita and Sheona McDonald

With John Dippong and Joanne McDonald

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Pangea Day 2008

I was very fortunate to have my film Yellow Sticky Notes take part in the first ever Pangea Day. From May 8th to the 10th, Pangea Day brought together 100 filmmakers from around the world to participate in an event where these filmmakers came together to create one global film community. They flew me out to LA, put me up in the Sheridan Delfino in Santa Monica and threw some great parties along with a mind blowing filmmaker retreat. The Pangea Day event was on Saturday. All the filmmakers got to go to the Sony Studios - Studio 15 (where the filmed the Wizard of Oz) to watch the live taping of the four hour show that was broadcast live around the world.

Pangea Day can be described as a global event bringing the world together through film.

Why? In a world where people are often divided by borders, difference, and conflict, it's easy to lose sight of what we all have in common. Pangea Day seeks to overcome that – to help people see themselves in others – through the power of film.

Starting at 18:00 GMT on May 10, 2008, locations in Cairo, Kigali, London, Los Angeles, Mumbai, and Rio de Janeiro will be linked for a live program of powerful films, live music, and visionary speakers. The entire program will be broadcast – in seven languages – to millions of people worldwide through the internet, television, and mobile phones.

The 24 short films to be featured have been selected from an international competition that generated more than 2,500 submissions from over one hundred countries. The films were chosen based on their ability to inspire, transform, and allow us see the world through another person's eyes. Details on the Pangea Day films can be viewed here at

The program will also include a number of exceptional speakers and musical performers. Queen Noor of Jordan, CNN's Christiane Amanpour, musician/activist Bob Geldof, and Iranian rock phenom Hypernova are among those taking part.

The Filmmaker Retreat featured many guest speakers including Deborah Scraton, Matthew Modine, Lee Daniels, Duncan North, Lawrence Bender, Marco Williams, Carline Baron, Alex Gibney, Chris Anderson, Jehane Noujaim, Queen Noor, and Ken Ralston.

The entire three days was amazing and the Pangea Day wrap-party was a blast. I met some amazing and inspiring international filmmakers during those three days, and at then end, we were all a sad to have to go home. Everyone went away from the event inspired and honored to have had the opportunity to interact and learn from each other. It was truly one of the most magical experiences I have had so far as a filmmaker!

With Ted Chung and Marc Osbourne - Director of Dreamworks Kung Fu Panda

Filmmakers at the Filmmaker Retreat

The Filmmaker Retreat setup at the Sony Studios

Pangea Day set

Actress Cameron Diaz

Actress Meg Ryan

Dave Stewart performing at the Pangea Day event

Pangea Day finale

At the Pangea Day Wrap-Party in Beverly Hills

With Matt Groening - creator of The Simpsons

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Tribeca Film Festival 2008

This year I had my US Premiere of my animated film Yellow Sticky Notes at the prestigious Tribeca Film Festival in New York. Truly one of the biggest film festivals I've participated in, I was able to attend the full festival run from April 23rd to May 4th.

Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal and Craig Hatkoff founded the Tribeca Film Festival in 2001 following the attacks on the World Trade Center to spur the economic and cultural revitalization of lower Manhattan through an annual celebration of film, music and culture. The Festival’s mission focuses on assisting filmmakers to reach the broadest possible audience, enabling the international film community and general public to experience the power of cinema and promoting New York City as a major filmmaking center.

Yellow Sticky Notes played in the Window Seat shorts program. 4 of the 5 screenings sold out. The screening that didn't sellout was still 3/4 full. The film screened to great reception from the audience and we had some great Q&A sessions. Almost every filmmaker who had a film in the program was present for at least 2 or 3 of their screenings. Since I was at Tribeca for the full run of the festival, I was able to be at every screening.

The parties, galas, and receptions were nothing short of amazing. Lots of free booze, free food, and tons of smoozing. I met a lot of talented filmmakers, press, distributors, festival directors, and film lovers. It was a great atmosphere. Even though every day was filled with interviews, press, screenings, receptions, and parties, I still managed to find time to do some tourist stuff. I attended tapings of the Late Show with David Letterman, Conan O'brien, checked out a Yankees game, walked around Central Park, and saw the Statue of Liberty.

Overall, it was a great experience. Enjoy some of the photos from my trip!

With Saturday Night Live actress Molly Shannon

With Jessica, Brian and Joe - filmmakers in the Window Seat Shorts Program

View from the Tribeca Shorts Filmmaker Party

Hanging out with some filmmakers at the Tribeca Short Filmmaker Party

Baby Mama Gala Party - April 23, 2008

With animation filmmaker Bill Plympton - Bill has been a big inspiration to my work and is one of the reasons I wanted to create independent classical animation!

The Entertainment Weekly Shorts Interview - check it out at

Actor Robert De Niro - Tribeca Film Festival Founder

The Awards After Party at the Mansion

Awards Wrap-Party - with Shiloh Strong, Rider Strong, Sheryl Santacruz, and Leetal Platt

Me with Genevieve Vincent - Yellow Sticky Notes' composer