Posted by Terry on October 27, 2011

Most people can rattle off a long list of famous actors, a much shorter list of famous directors, but maybe only a few producers.   What does a producer do, particularly when it comes to making films in Canada?

Apparently, even producers can have a difficult time answering that question as can be seen in Anneli Ekborn’s Producer’s Corner part 1 blog.  Anneli produced Big Girl, an award-winning short that we were thrilled to include in our 2008 festival.  She outlines 10 rules for pre-production and production in her Producer’s Corner part 2 blog as well as 10 tips for first-time producers.

As the producer of the festival and the producer of the short film that got me started on this crazy path, it’s not the chance to meet a celebrity that makes my heart palpitate nor the chance to schmooze with directors.  It’s meeting  a producer whose work I admire that gets me in a tizzy.  One of my most embarrassing moments happened when I introduced myself to Steven Hoban of Copperheart Entertainment.  It was at the Summer Institute of Film & Television in Ottawa in May 2008 where I was taking a producing workshop.  Steven had come in from Toronto to do an hour talk with the producing and directing classes.  The hour passed very quickly and then he was whisked off to another class, but there were many people who hoped to have a moment to speak with him in the hallway while he was going from one class to another, and I was one of them.  This was the man who’d produced Ryan, the animated short that won the Oscar in 2005, as well as Paradise which was in our 2008 festival. Although I couldn’t know it at the time, we would go on to include another one, The Spine, in our 2010 festival.  But I completely forgot to mention Paradise when our instructor let us out early and I saw Steven in the hallway. I was the first to reach him, but I could scarcely speak because I was on the verge of hyperventilating, so I did my best to introduce myself while I reached in my bag for what I wanted to give him.  But I was flustered and couldn’t find it and all the books and papers I’d grabbed in a hurry off my desk fell in a big mess on the floor just as everyone else got out of their classrooms and stood looking at me.  Steve, who was probably laughing on the inside, was a perfect gentleman and helped me pick everything up.  More than that, he seemed genuinely pleased when I gave him what I finally managed to find.  When he’d spoken to our class, he’d talked about his current project, a sci-fi called Splice which was a co-production between Canada, France, and the US. What I gave him was a DVD for D-I-M, Deus in Machina, a great sci-fi that we’d also had in our 2008 festival.  Co-writers, co-directors, and brothers Axel Rikke and Henning Rikke had come to the festival from Germany and had mentioned how they hoped to make it into a feature.  I had asked them for extra copies of their DVD since I was going to SIFT and the Worldwide Short Film Festival in Toronto after our fest, so it was thrilling to tell them that I’d given a copy to Steven who said he looked forward to watching it.

On Sunday, Nov 6, we have the privilege of hosting Director Charles Wilkinson and Producer Tina Schliessler who will do a Q&A after the screening of their award-winning documentary Peace Out at 2:00 pm at Second Street Theatre in Grande Prairie.  This thought-provoking look at the mega energy projects in the Peace Region kicks off this season’s GPLT Movie Series which screens Canadian and international feature films during the winter months.  It is the first time that we’ll have the director and producer of a feature film in attendance.  I’ll try not to drop anything.

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