30 July, 2010

People's Choice

I've mentioned it already on Facebook, but it hasn't actually made it onto the blog yet...

Late Sunday night at the Gala Closing Party of the Okanagan International Film Festival - hours after the awards dinner (because there was still one film yet to screen at that point) - The Beast of Bottomless Lake won the People's Choice Award.

At the awards dinner we were nominated for Best Canadian Independent Feature which went to Taylor's Way.

We went from the dinner to our second screening to the gala and waited with baited breath, though once again we had a stong hint from organizers that we really should be present.

So yes, long story short, we won.  Yay!!!

Outside of the second screening, Craig & Kennedy with Paul Armstrong, producer of Everything's Comin' Up Rosie which won Best Canadian Short Film. 
(All Photos Courtesy of Heath Tait.)

23 July, 2010

Returning to the Scene of the Crime

The relaxing part was the drive up.

On Wednesday Jodie and I picked up Phil (one of our composers) and Erin (his girlfriend) and hit the highway to the Okanagan.  Its not actually that long a trip - about 4 and a half hours, and the company was good.  We dropped Phil and Erin off at their hotel and grabbed lunch before Craig and I met for a TV interview down at "The Sails" - a downtown, lakeside park where we shot a scene in the film three (ulp!) years ago.  It was also, appropriately, across the street from the theatre we'd be screening at.

From there I rushed out to where my Dad and his wife, my Sister and my niece were - at an old friend's place which was where Jodie and I were to get prepared for the evening at.  We really did have long for hugs and hellos before we had to shower and run out the door again to get to the pre-screening party.

I could not be happier that we planned a pre-screening party.  It was really the only reasonable chance I had to say "hi" to most of the people, both from the Okanagan and those who travelled, who had worked on the film and were in attendance.  Even then it was total chaos.  We had the event at Sturgeon Hall - a place that was always good to us.  Right back to when Keith and I first went to Kelowna together and he told me about his idea for a film then called "Nightmare Beast of Blood Lake: A Scientific Overview."  Keith and I spent a lot of our time in Kelowna while on tour at Sturgeon Hall.  They also provided us with a place for extras to get out of the rain when we shot at The Sails... but it didn't rain so they got off easy on that one.  We crammed 'em in on Wednesday night and put their staff on their highest setting.  They were great.
At 5:30 they turned on the news for us (it is normally a sports bar, but we had all but one or two small tables... not to mention there wasn't much gripping sport on).  The interview that Craig and I had done earlier in the day had been turned into a full feature on the news.  We all cheered.

At 6:00 I headed out the door with Rebecca our publicist.  The theatre was less than a block away and the line-up party was under way.  Yes.  "Line up party."  One of our Executive Producers, my old friend Scott John, whose in-laws live in the Okanagan, giving him some additional resources, decided to collude with Rebecca to make sure that all the people standing out in the blazing sun to get tickets had a good time.

We had cast members stopping by and doing interviews. 

Scott's wife Kathy baked a cake with the poster of the film on it!

And she made a bunch of cupcakes that were put together to show the Ogopogo rising out of the depths of the lake.

People got cupcakes and Craig and I cut the cake like a newly married couple.

The show was officially sold out.  There were a number of tickets held for festival staff and volunteers and I spent most of my time before the screening doing everything I could to get people who had worked on the film, who for one reason or another had not got tickets yet, into the theatre.  Including giving up my own seat.  My plan was to stand at the back.

That plan didn't quite work out.  Apparently the theatre only allows one person per-seat plus one standing (the usher presumably).  Craig took the place of the usher and I stood outside with Scott and our editor Mike and even Craig's wife Elaine relinquished a seat.

More people arrived after the film had started and had they arrived earlier then perhaps more of us (like Jodie - who was sitting with her parents) who already knew how the film ended would have to wait outside.  Don't get me wrong.  I am not complaining.  This is an AWESOME problem to have.

Apparently the Okanagan Film Festival has never had a sold out show before.  It's kind of cool to be first.  While the early portions of the show played we listened to organizers tell late comers that they were already considering doing a second showing before the festival was over.

When ever we'd hear a peal of laughter from inside, Mike and I would try to guess what had been the inciting joke.  We know the film well enough that we were never wrong.

Eventually people started having to come out to go to the bathroom.  I quickly did the math - there were now less people in the theatre than it's maximum (albeit temporarily).  So I started sneaking in while people were answering nature's call.  By the second half of the film there was always at least one person outside at a time, so I got to witness the audience reactions for the whole last half of the film.

There was little doubt in my mind by the time the credits rolled that they had all had a great time.  As Craig and I walked down the aisle to the front the cheers were pretty awe inspiring.

The Q & A was really short as so much time had been lost at the start due to seating issues.

On my way back up the aisle a woman grabbed me and said "I just had to come tonight.  I did community theatre with Keith when we were kids.  I used to have such a big crush on him."

I answered "I get it.  If I was a girl I'd have had a big crush on him too."

Keith's family - his Mother and Father, his brother and his lady, and of course Janet, Keith's widow were there too.  They were all so happy.  I can't imagine that this film would ever represent closure for any one of them, but it does mean that there's a piece of him that will always be around for all of us.  One of the highlights of my night was seeing the big smile on his Mom, Lainie's face when she arrived at the gala.

The gala itself left something to be desired, but I don't want to get into that.  It was just as well to go elsewhere and quietly raise a glass with friends - after all I had work to do at my job in Vancouver by mid-morning.

Once again, like the day after we won Best Feature in Mississauga, most of my free time during the day on Thursday was spent responding to messages about the film.

Last night before bed I noticed a tweet on Twitter claiming that there was going to be a second screening of the film.  This morning Craig confirmed it and so today, in between tasks at my day job, I spent my time getting the word out that we will be screening Sunday after the awards dinner at 6:30pm at the Black Box Theatre (a part of the Kelowna Community Theatre).  Tickets available at the door.  That's right, we were the opening film of the festival and now we're also the closing film (co-closing film actually - Paul Gross's Gunless is also screening at the same time.)

So, when my weekend begins in a few hours it will be back to the Kelowna Festival - there is a film maker's BBQ that I'm looking forward to on the lake tomorrow and I should really see some other films!

16 July, 2010

Get Your Tickets Now - there aren't many left!

This is no longer advertizing.  This is a warning/public-service announcement to those people who were involved or are close firends of people involved who happen to live in the Okanagan and who want to be in attendance at the Premiere of Beast of Bottomless Lake in Kelowna at the Okanagan International Film Festival next week - July 21st.

We've done the math.  There are already less than 100 seats left that we are aware of - indeed if the people who have said to us that they were going to get advance tickets have done so then there are less than 70 seats left.... but we aren't actually positive those people have got their tickets yet.

If I were to open up my file of people in the Okanagan who worked on this film the list would be longer than 70 names - and that doesn't include any friends or guests that they'd bring.

Do you see what I'm saying?

Get your tickets now.  Do not wait to get them the night of the show.

According to the festival website, tickets are only available through the Paramount Theatre Box Office.

The festival organizers have said that the Okanagan Film Festival has never had a sold out show.  Clearly the number of people who worked on the film who would want to see it weren't factored into their plans.  Who knows - maybe we will come out the other side of this looking a little naive, but we think that this is not only going to be their first sell-out, but that there is going to be a BIG demand for tickets above and beyond their expectations as based on the venue size.

So, don't get screwed out of your chance to be there for the premiere.  We are working hard to make this a special night for everyone in attendance.

15 July, 2010

What Can YOU Do for the Beast?

A good question.

For now the answer is simple.

Do you Twitter?  If not are you willing to do so for an evening?


So here's what we are planning...  A Twitter-Blast!

On the night of our World Premiere at the Okanagan Film Festival we want to have as many people as possible Tweeting about The Beast of Bottomless Lake and using our hashtag - #thebeast - in their tweets.

If you don't know your Twitter basics here's where to go to figure it out.

If you are attending the screening there ought to be plenty you can tweet about over the course of the evening (but we'll provide options below).  If you aren't there, then it can be as simple as any of these (feel free to cut and paste):

  • I wish I was at the World Premiere of The Beast of Bottomless Lake #thebeast
  • I wish the cast and crew of The Beast of Bottomless Lake the best of luck at tonight's premiere #thebeast
  • The Beast of Bottomless Lake premieres tonight - I can hardly wait for my chance to see it #thebeast
  • "Life's a Beast... until you find one." The Beast of Bottomless Lake premieres tonight #thebeast
Or you could tailor your tweets to the timing of what will likely be happening...

(This is all on the night of Wednesday July 21st, BTW.)

5:00 PDT - We will be having a pre-show get-together at Sturgeon Hall in Kelowna (announcement on that to follow)
6:30 PDT - People will start heading to the theatre - we don't know that they're doing anything red-carpet like, but you can imagine they will and tweet about that
7:15 PDT - The introductory statements.
7:25 PDT - The short film that preceeds us (at least I assume it's preceeding us based on the OIFF schedule) Skylight screens.
7:30 PDT - The Beast of Bottomless Lake begins...
9:05 PDT - The film ends - Q & A begins.
9:15 PDT - Off we go to the opening night gala...

If you are in the audience, you WILL be reminded.

And while you are at it, some relevant folks to follow on Twitter:

Me: @kennedyg

Our Publicist: @rebeccacoleman

And Provost Pictures itself: @provostpix

12 July, 2010

Reaching New Heights

Today has been so exhiliratingly weird.  Many people I know have posted things about "Beast" winning Best Feature at MIFF last night.  Last night for a few hours before going to sleep and then again this morning after the West Coast began waking up I could have refreshed my Facebook account every minute and there would be either a new post, new comment or new announcement of someone "liking" one of the already existing posts.

Honest to god, this afternoon when I opened the "top news" that the site generates for me based on the most popular recent threads of all my friends, HALF of them above the fold (and several more below) were related to "Beast."  Such a great feeling of validation.

Yesterday before the final film of the Mississauga Film Festival Craig and I went and met two old friends (one of his, one of mine) and watched the World Cup.

When the game was over I remarked as the camera showed the jubilation on the face of Iker Casillias, the Spainish goalkeeper, "what a crazy moment - you are living the single greatest moment of your life and you have to know that the chances of there being a higher high is close to none."  But you have to admit that having the specter of your remaining life being that you will never do better than achieveing the single biggest honour that you can in your profession, the "it's all downhill from here" isn't really such a bad thing - there's an awful lot of high topography to step down to below you and hey... you won the fucking World Cup - FOREVER!

When I was in my early and mid 20s I spent six years touring Canada in a comedy troupe, the Juanabees (to whom there is a tip of the hat in the movie).  Those were seminal years of my life.  We had a great time.  We learned a lot.  We met some very cool people, some who went on to various levels of fame and fortune and others who are still good friends and collaborators today.  (Indeed at least one falls into both of those categories - and has a cameo in "Beast.")
We picked up some accolades - it actually mentions in my company Bio for Provost Pictures that the Edmonton Journal called us Canada's best comedy troupe without a TV show.  (This was in the heady days of Kids in the Hall and the earliest iteration of This Hour Has 22 Minutes.)  I've had a few people tell me that the Juanabees were inspiring to them - sadly no one who has gone on to being a superstar of comedy.
In any case, those were some pretty cool times for me.

It has occasionally occurred to me that there's a possibility that the time I spent with the Juanabees when we were at our best might just be the most impact I would have on the world, that it might be the biggest impact I would have on the world in this life. 

I haven't wallowed in that, but it has always kind of been there - as I expect it would be in anyone's life, this just happens to be my personal version of measuring my self-validation.

I have never assumed that I would never do better and there are numerous things that I have done since then that I could probably make arguments in favour of being new high-water-marks in my life.  But none have been definitive.

As "Beast..." has come closer and closer to completion I have been pleased with the way it has been turning out and it has seemed to me that this might just be the clear new pinnacle.  Now that we've screened at our first festival and won Best Feature I'm actually thinking that it is a fait accompli.  All that really remains is the fourth Everest* - making sure as many people see it as possible: Distribution.

And the cycle begins again.  In order to out do myself next time I'm going to have to work even harder - damn!  But first, we have to ride this one out... I'm really looking forward to the Okanagan Festival.  Returning to the scene of the crime.

"This one is for Keith."

*I could have sworn I had done a post on this phrase already, but damned if I can find it.  I don't know where I got it from.  I may have made it up myself.  And David Nykl cited it in one of our YouTube videos of him.  What I was refering to was the notion that making a film is like climbing Everest four times.  Once for pre-production, once filming, once in post-production and then one last time in promotion and distribution.

11 July, 2010

Best Feature

Holy heck.


Holy heck.

We're one for one. 

One festival, one award.

Best Feature at the Mississauga Independent Film festival.

Holy heck.

I'll write with more depth later when I'm a little less shocked.

10 July, 2010

Mississauga Missives from the Front

I wouldn't believe this if it didn't happen to me - so I don't expect anyone else to believe this.

I got carded!  I am back in my hotel room, rather than partying after the premiere because I GOT CARDED!  This is not a boast.  I do not look like someone who should be denied entry into a bar for being under age.


As if to accentuate the point I have a frikkin' beer in my hand!

Not one week ago I thought to myself "there's something that will never happen to me again" - BZZZZtttT! - wrong.

Just some doorman deciding that everyone had to have valid ID I guess - regardless of how clearly over legal drinking age they might be.  Prick.

Oh well.  It's not really the end of the world.  In the past 36 or so hours I have managed to sleep three times.  Sadly its not a matter of quantity.  And the quality and the duration have been terrible.  I even walked out of the second film tonight because I was concerned about snoring in it - which would have happened if I was watching Jurassic Park or Aliens too so should not be taken as a measure of the film's quality.  I was not being rude by leaving.  I was leaving to avoid being rude.  Warm, dark space with less than 3 hours sleep in the past day and a half... it's a miracle I didn't fall asleep during my own film!

So Beast screened to it's first impartial audience tonight....

The Mississauga Independent Film Festival is small and friendly.  There is only one theatre and it may hold 250 people at most.  I'd say we had a 1/3 audience - which appears to be par for the course.

I would have to say that if we can get the reaction we got from this audience from every small audience we can be proud of what we've done.  They laughed as much as could be expected, and consistently throughout.  You could hear people "getting" the tricks in the movie at the points where they needed to be "got."

I don't think I've mentioned this anywhere else before, but at the cast and crew screening, Mike, Craig and I (Mike mentioned it first to give credit where credit is due) noted that there was one scene that due to some additional cuts could now be lifted out wholesale without harming anything else.  Tonight we screened the version without that scene - possibly the last cut we'll ever make.  I didn't miss it at all, and it helps speed things along more in the last quarter of the film.  Yay!

Anyhow... not meaning to dis the MIFF, but I expect a much better turn out in the Okanagan in ten days.  And so it should be.  The Okanagan is at heart the REAL premiere of the film.

Okay... I must sleep now.  I can't believe I'm still awake.  I should thank that bouncer for carding me... I'd be a mess if I were still out.

09 July, 2010

Expecting a Deluge...

Not a deluge of rain - certainly doesn't look that way in Vancouver right now.  Ontario doesn't seem likely either and the Okanagan... yeah, right.

I am speaking of a deluge of posts about the film over the next two weeks.

It has already kind of begin if you haven't noticed.

Here is today's link of note  - The Beast of Bottomless Lake pimped on the Pan-Canadian Skeptical Blog, Skeptic North.

If you are following any single one of our outlets (this blog, our Facebook Page, our Twitter Feed or many of the equivalents for the various people involved in the film) you will likely get most of the links.  If you happen to be subscribed to more than one - there is going to be a lot of redundancy.  For example, this post will automatically appear on the Beast Facebook page, and the Facebook page automatically feed to our Twitter account.  I'll link to it on my Facebook page and Twitter feed too...

Anyhow, there's going to be a lot of traffic between now and the end of the Okanagan Film Festival.

I know it's going to seem like there's a lot of it out there already, but in the grand scheme of things it's going ot be a drop in the internet-pond... so if you can link, re-post, re-tweet and - if you are a real superhero - do posts of your own based upon the information that comes out.  I know there are a few people out there who are already doing that last thing - thanks to you.  There is nothing more important that taking this opportunity to make as much noise as possible in the world.

Stay posted...

And be prepared to take part in the Beast Tweet Blast on Twitter on the night of the Okanagan screening - July 21st.

08 July, 2010

Countdown: 52 Hours...

The Mississauga Independent Film Festival began yesterday.

Craig was there for the opening gala, walking the red carpet.

I'm catching a red-eye tomorrow night, arriving early Saturday morning.

I will be talking at Cafe Skeptique about the film, cryptozoology and the Ogopogo at 2pm at The Bean. (388 College St. in Toronto.)

[On a related note, there is a slight irony hidden in all of this.  For months I've been bemoaning the fact that I couldn't attend TAM8 this year.  Last year I went to TAM7 and did a test screening of the film.  But just last week - a week ago today in fact - I returned from a trip to Europe to a wedding where I was best man.  It was simply going to be too much money and too little time or me to do both the trip to Europe and to Vegas for TAM.  But then we were selected for MIFF - on short notice I might add, just before we left for Europe.  I stuck to my guns.  MIFF was the same weekend as TAM and would cost a comparable amount... not to mention that in the time since we committed to going to London for the wedding, my girlfiend and I found out we are expecting a baby.  Jodie, my girlfriend called me an idiot (about not going to MIFF, not the baby) and booked me a ticket to Ontario.  So, now I'm going away on that weekend anyhow - AND I am participating (however briefly) a critical thinking event, all in service of the film.  I hope folk are having a great time at TAM8, I plan to have a wild rumpus at MIFF.]

Then I'm high-tailing it out to Missisauga to the theatre for the (ulp!) World Premiere.

I keep getting asked if I'm nervous.  The short answer is 'no.'

The long answer is - I suspect I will be, though honestly I feel pretty confident about the film by this point.  I guess there is a fine lin between nrvous ad excited.

05 July, 2010

Beast Teaser

Okay, this is fun...

Just in time for the two upcoming festivals we are screening at we have just posted our trailer on YouTube.

There are also some other new videos available on our account - interviews with David Nykl and other cast members; reactions to our cast and crew screening; and a parts of a few scenes.

Have fun!