When we download the latest Spielberg flick, or the latest Hollywood popcorn partner we usually don't feel too guilty. Spielberg is dripping in it, and Hollywood is full of self-important Vanity Smurfs. So they can stand to lose a few bucks, right?
But forget about Spielberg and his mansion or Brad Pitt in his French villa. What about the people who work on that film, without whom it would never have been made? The gaffer, the boom operator, the 1st, 2nd, 3rd assistant director, the executive producer, the producer, the costume designer, the set designer, the production sound mixer, the director of photography, the director of gasp audiography – good Lord, the roles go on and on. There are so many individuals who have built their livelihood from working on film sets, and each time we download a film, we steal from their 12-16 hour days for weeks on end. These people work tirelessly around the clock all in pursuit of a common goal, so it must feel pretty shitty when people go around taking advantage of their hard work and dedication.
I'm just sayin'.
Three budding filmmakers are doing their part to show the world how stealing movies hurts those who make them.
Matthew Power (from Paradise, Newfoundland), Shlomi Amiga (from Bat Yam, Israel), and Anne Feldman (from Tel Aviv, Israel) live and work in Toronto as a freelance marketing consultant, professional photographer/videographer, and film editing student (respectively). All three are consistently looking for their next creative project.
That latest project turns out to be Plan B – a 90-second glimpse into the life and work of a young director (local filmmaker Jordan Canning). The trio has submitted their film to the Canadian Film Centre (CFC)'s Reel Challenge contest.
Contest criteria states:
“Prizes will be awarded by the adjudicating committee to the Content Providers whose submissions promote creators’ rights and address the importance of content protection, from a creator’s perspective, in the most compelling way, provoke the most thought and feeling in the viewer, and are considered the most engaging, imaginative and the most innovative in content and delivery. This evaluation shall be conducted at the sole discretion of the adjudicating committee, whose decisions shall be final and shall not be subject to appeal or review.”
The film's star is currently completing the CFC's director's program. Fragments of an interview with Canning show her talking about why she loves filmmaking, how she became involved in it, what inspired her to pursue it as a career, and what about her craft she feels few people realize. With no blatant messaging throughout, the 90-second piece is simply an intimate glimpse into the mind of a young director. Yet the punchline is powerful.
“This is who you're stealing from.”
Matt was cool enough to answer a few questions for me over Facebook. Here's what I had to ask, and here's what he had to say:
Q: What made you decide to enter the contest?
A: While I was familiar with the CFC, I hadn’t heard of the Reel Challenge, until I was approached by Shlomi Amiga and Anne Feldman. The chance at $10,000.00 played a serious factor. Ultimately though, it was the opportunity to work with artists I respect, on a project that had a style I never been a part of before.
Q: Have you ever been impacted by illegal downloading?
A: I have not directly been affected by illegal downloading, but that is one of the deceiving aspects of this problem. Indirectly, there is no way to calculate the work that is lost. Film industry employment opportunities dwindle, because lack of potential financiers. These financiers are deterred by diminishing returns of their investments.
Q: Who was involved in creating this film? For a 90 second piece it seems to be a pretty big production.
A: That was the magic of film at play. It was actually a small 5-day production that was without a budget. Shlomi was the videographer, Anne was the editor, I was the producer, and we all shared the directing duties. Between us, we developed the concept, produced the sets, shot the footage, edited the film, and even did a little bit of acting. There is notable mention to Rob Bakker for recording our sound, Hayley Blackmore and Jessica Jerome for acting, and Jordan Canning, who was our wonderful interviewee.
Q: What would you do with the prize money if you place?
A: I think the general consensus among the group is to reinvest into new equipment. That way we can tackle more of these competitions.
Q: And do you have a plan B? ;)
A: My Plan B is to always combine my artistic side with my job, whatever avenue that might be. As long as I can be creative within my work, I can always be passionate about my career.
Now that's pretty solid advice for anyone, no matter which industry you work in.
To view Plan B, visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=otdvyFpOrYg
And Canning's work is well-known - her work has been showcased in many film festivals, and one of her music videos (The Pathological Lovers' Best Served) is nominated for Video of the Year at this year's East Coast Music Awards, along with Hey Rosetta's A Thousand Suns (director Noah Pink).
Fans can vote for the ECMA Video of the Year at: http://ecma.bellaliant.net/