“Josh” – my new documentary short film – is now online!

I visited my friend and neighbour, Josh Vander Vies, one beautiful sunny day. He welcomed me (and my production assistant, El Apostol) into his home to film what is a regular Saturday for him and his family (Dalia Mykolaitiene, and her son, Karolis). It was an ordinary day all right, except that there’s nothing ordinary about Josh.

Josh is an athlete, artist, law student and motivational speaker. He’s a young man with big dreams… but that’s not what makes him special. “Josh” is a short documentary film about one ordinary day in an extraordinary man’s life.

“Josh” is now online at RipplemakersTV.com

“Ripple” is a web TV series that premiered on July 30, 2010. It is produced by Layaco Media filmmaker Carol Gancia. Layaco Media is a video production company based in San Francisco, California that uses technology and social media to solve the challenges of reaching your target audience.

“Ripple” is about regular people like you and me whose lives have had a positive influence on their communities. By virtue of who they are… by standing by their beliefs… by following their dreams… they create a ripple effect around them.

Happy viewing…

“Crossover”

Crossover Series

I used to be a control-freak. I like being the driver and knowing where I’m going.

But the last 6 years of my life have been one big surprise after another. I moved from Manila to San Francisco to Vancouver without so much as a game plan. I found myself in unfamiliar places. I was a stranger and I was lost.

“Crossover” is a digital art photo essay that reflects my journey from the familiar to the unknown. While I rest in the comfort of “knowing,” I now appreciate the gift of “discovery.” I’ve learned that if I don’t step out of my comfort zone: (1) I will never know what I’m capable of, and (2) the mysteries of the universe will never unfold.

I now enjoy taking the passenger seat, watching the world go by while someone else drives.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Making of “SIKAT”

Action!

This time last year, I was busy writing and re-writing my first short film narrative entitled, “SIKAT.” It was one of 6 films chosen to be produced at the 2010 Crazy 8s Filmmaking Competition, out of over a hundred entries. It was an experience like no other… one I couldn’t have imagined, not even in my wildest dreams.

It was December 13, 2009 (my 39th birthday) when I decided to register for Crazy 8s. I had never even heard of Crazy 8s before then. I signed up for the pitch workshop more than anything else. I thought, being new to Vancouver and starting my career all over again, I could use a few pointers around project pitching. I paid the $50 fee and thoroughly enjoyed the pitch workshop delivered by Melanie Friesen. Money well spent!

I decided to put my new pitching skills to use. I submitted a 5-minute video pitch which landed me a spot in the top 40 in-person pitches. The in-person pitch was nerve-wracking, to say the least. But because I knew well enough to practice, practice and practice, I delivered a sound pitch and made it through to the next round… the story editing phase.

Shooting our first scene... pan de sal in the oven.

The story editing was my favorite part of the selection process. Each filmmaker/writer was paired up with a professional story editor to refine his/her script. I remember thinking that if I didn’t make it any further than this round, I already won. I would have come out of this process with a solid screenplay, which I did by the way, thanks to my amazing story editor, Dylan Akio-Smith.

But my journey did not end there. A couple of weeks later, while I was in Disneyland (the happiest place on earth), I received an email from Crazy 8s. My script was selected! It was one of 6 films to be produced in 8 days with $800. Crazy 8s, with the help of local sponsors, will provide all the production and post-production support needed to make my film.

I was with my partner and two of my best friends when I got the news. They were up on their feet screaming and ecstatic for me, but completely baffled by my own reaction. I felt all the blood rush to my face. I was stunned speechless and couldn’t move… literally! It was as if a brick wall landed on my head and pinned me to the ground. I was terrified! I kept thinking, “What do I do now? I have to make a film. How in the world can I pull that off?!”

My friends reassured me that I can do this. They treated me to an ice cream sundae and my blood started circulating again. Ice cream IS the cure for everything.

With Kira Clavell (Sikat) and my "babies" on-set.

In the 6 weeks that followed, before the official start of our 8-day filmmaking sprint, I worked like a dog to get my crew together, find locations, create my storyboard, finalize the shot list and audition actors. Every time I felt insecure about my abilities as a filmmaker, I dove right back to work. “Sikat” was on my mind 24/7. And Crazy 8s, without a doubt, was the most effective weight loss program I had ever been on.

Needless to say, it was an incredible experience. I had over 50 people working on this project for absolutely nothing more than a chance to make a good film. “Sikat” came to life with the help of some of the most talented people in British Columbia – cast and crew – that I’m proud to have met and worked with.

A lot of “care” went into the making of this film… and I mean that in the nurturing, motherly sense. “Sikat” is about a mother’s love and sacrifice. And I believe it’s no coincidence that both my producers were expectant mothers while we were working on this film. Ita-Kane Wilson was 9 months pregnant and ready to pop when we screened “Sikat” at the gala. Olesia Shewchuk was in her first trimester. “Sikat” was their baby as much as it was mine and I was lucky to have them on board before they became full-fledged mothers.

Since its opening gala, “Sikat” has aired on CBC-British Columbia and screened at various festivals. Check out the following link for future screenings of “Sikat.”

http://www.curlytailpictures.com/news

Turns out… signing up for Crazy 8s was the best birthday gift I could have ever given myself.

Lunch time!

*Photography by Olesia Shewchuck*