Saturday, March 18, 2017

Counter Act --1960's Civil Right's Protest Sit In's Powerfully Portrayed in Short Film

                                        Story Synopsis:
When Alice, a naive young woman having lunch in a diner circa 1960, joins Mary and Ray in their "sit-in" protest, the ire of the racist patrons boils over and Alice learns what it truly takes to stand up for what you believe in.

This powerful short film will be showing this evening March 18, 2017 at the Maple Ridge Festival of BC Film starting at 5 pm followed by the documentary Fractured Land.

I was given the chance to email some questions to the makers of the film, below is the Q&A:

I watched your powerful movie and have seen some interviews with you all regarding the film, what were your main goals in getting across when starting the film? 
Thank you so much for watching! Originally, our goal was just to make a film that honoured and brought awareness to the Sit-In Movement of the 1960's. We were actually unaware of the movement until we saw an incredible documentary called "Soundtrack For a Revolution", a small potion of which focused on the Sit-In Movement. When we found out more details about it and started doing more research, it became obvious that this was an incredible story and learned that, like us, many people of our generation had no idea that it had even taken place. But as we did more research and dove deeper into the subject matter, we found a way to make the film more personal for us - As Caucasian, Canadian filmmakers, we weren't blind to the fact that we were definitely outsiders looking in at these events in history and really of racial persecution in general. That's why we decided to tell the story through Alice's eyes, because it was a perspective we could understand and relate to; somebody who's not personally involved, but feels a duty and responsibility to support the cause anyway. In that regard the film grew from just being a film that shined a light on a too-unknown social movement, into being a film that tried to make a bigger statement - just because you're not a part of the victimized minority, does not exonerate you from doing what's right. 

How was the atmosphere on set , seeing as this is a racially motivated film was there any tension among the actors or crew? To be honest, the atmosphere on set was incredibly professional, and while there were definitely some heavy moments, the amazing actors we hired did a great job of making it feel light and fun in between takes. We made sure to address the issues with the cast and crew before we started shooting each day - that what we were going to be shooting that day would be incredibly intense, and there would be some awful language being said and horrific acts taking place, and just asked everyone to try to be respectful of the performers and of the subject matter, and everyone did just that. They treated the material with honour and respect, and kept in mind the bigger picture of what we were trying to say with the film, and everyone managed to keep a positive, friendly attitude on set and  felt like a real team with a mission, which was wonderful. 
For me the most powerful part of it was when they pick themselves back up and go back to the counter , then the entrance door chimed --chosing not to cut  away to see Alice come back in, but instead you just ended the film. Powerful and yet so small. The reasoning behind that choice of ending? 

(Spoilers abound in the following answer). Thank you, we're so glad that came across. The main reason behind that choice was that we were consciously trying to avoid the idea that this was a "white savior" type of film. We had told everyone involved with the film from the get-go that although Alice was the protagonist of the film, she was not our hero, the heroes were Mary and Ray, and we wanted to make sure that came across. In all honesty, when we shot the ending, Alice actually did return and sit back down at the counter with Mary and Ray, but in editing we just felt like that was too clean, too happy of an ending. It felt like it was saying, "racism has been beaten" and it was really important to us for it to feel like this hadn't been resolved, that it was an ongoing issue that is just as much a problem today as it was in 1960, and rather than try to wrap up the story cleanly, we wanted to put the onus back on the audience, and ask them what they would do in that situation.   
My mother was a part of the civil rights movement and was there anyone in your family etc that was?
We did not have any family members directly involved with the civil rights movement,  . I will say though that it was important to us for it to feel authentic, and in our research we found out that there was a couple named Jack O'Dell and Jane Power who had participated in the civil rights movement that were living in Vancouver. In fact, Mr. O'Dell used to be a personal advisor to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and Mrs. Power had picketed outside of segregated lunch counters in the 60's, so we reached out to them and asked if they would read our script and give us some guidance and just get their opinions in general. They were incredibly supportive of us, they gave us notes on the script, as well as the rough cut after we had shot, and we were honoured that they even came to our cast and crew screening. They're both wonderful people, and with Mr. O'Dell being African-American and Mrs. Power being Caucasian, they were supportive of the idea that people of all colour had a responsibility to stand up against persecution. 
Is there anything you are working on for future projects and how much of a group effort is put into the making of each film, seeing as there are four of you what are each of your parts as a group member? 
We do have a number of things on the go. We have several projects in development, we just finished shooting a western called "The Undertaker's Son" for the Crazy8's contest, and we're just a couple of weeks away from shooting a stop-motion animated short called "Soggy Flakes", about a group of breakfast cereal mascots who have lost their jobs due to the low-carb, sugar-free, gluten-intolerant society we're living in. As far as the group effort goes, everything we do is a huge group effort. It starts with the four of us crafting the story together, and it just grows and grows from there as we add more crew members. Between the four of us, we do have different roles depending on what the project is (we work in both live-action and animation), but overall work as a collaborative team throughout the whole process. Thomas and I (Heath) aretrained in live-action 



Jon and Nathan were 
trained in animation. 

On the set of a live-action project like Counter Act, Nathan and Jon spent more time at video village because of their highly visual nature, and Thomas and I would spend most of our time on the set working a bit more closely with the actors. Stop-motion is a good medium for us because it utilizes both Jon and Nathan's stellar animation skills and Thomas and my ability to work with lighting and cameras. But honestly, we communicate like mad and collaborate on all aspects (particularly when creating the story), and it really is a team effort through and through. 

Thank you for reading this
Anthony Nadeau

Friday, March 3, 2017

Maple Ridge Festival of BC Film--March 17, 18 & 19, 2017--The Act Arts Centre




(Maple Ridge, BC) ~ The ACT Arts Centre and The Ridge Film 
Studios, with the support of the City of 
Maple Ridge, are pleased to present a new festival highlighting 
films created in British Columbia. The inaugural 
Maple Ridge Festival of BC Film is scheduled to take place at 
The ACT Arts Centre in 
Maple Ridge from Friday, March 17 to Sunday, March 19, 2017.

Just as The ACT Arts Centre’s ‘ACT Presents’ performance 
series is designed to introduce new 
Canadian and BC talent to our audiences, the ‘Festival of BC Film’
 has been created to bring
 more attention and access to the work of BC filmmakers,” 
says Executive and Artistic Director,
 Lindy Sisson. “More and more films are being shot in the 
Maple Ridge area and with The Ridge 
Film Studios a block away from The ACT, it felt quite logical 
to join forces and champion BC 
filmmakers,” she adds.

John Wittmayer, owner of The Ridge Film Studios states,
 “We are thrilled to be a founding partner, 
along with The ACT Arts Centre, of the first annual celebration 
of BC Film. This festival aims to 
raise the profile of films made in British Columbia, and supporting
 the awareness of the amazing 
talent that this province has to offer is truly something to be proud 

The Festival kicks off with an Opening Reception on Friday, 
March 17 at 6:30pm and features a 
total of six shorts and six feature films over the course of
 three days.

FRIDAY, MARCH 17 at 8:00pm
Feature Film: Numb

Director: Jason R. Goode | Starring: Jamie Bamber, 
Marie Avgeropoulos, Aleks Paunovic
Synopsis: When a couple in financial distress discovers 
GPS coordinates that promise to lead 
to stolen gold, they must partner with a pair of mysterious 
hitchhikers to enter the remote 
winter wilderness to recover the coins.

Short: Anxious Oswald Greene

Director: Marshall Axani | Starring: Ryan Beil, Jason Burkart, 
Trevor Devall
Synopsis: Oswald Greene must cure his crippling anxiety, 
even if it means trusting a blind nurse, a talking fly, and a 
flamboyant doctor with a knack for rhyming.


SATURDAY, MARCH 18 at 5:00pm
Feature Film: Fractured Land

Directors: Damien Gillis & Fiona Rayher | Starring: Caleb Behn, 
Janet Annesley, Maude Barlow
Synopsis: With some of the world’s largest fracking operations 
on his territory, a young indigenous 
leader and lawyer confronts the fractures within his community
 and himself as he struggles to 
reconcile traditional teachings with the law to protect the land.


Short: Counter Act

Directors: Heath Affolter, Jon Affolter, Nathan Affolter, & 
Thomas Affolter
Starring: J. Alex Brinson, Naika Toussaint, Teal Fiddler
Synopsis: When Alice, a na├»ve young woman having lunch in 
a diner circa 1960, joins Mary and Ray 
in their “sit-in” protest, the ire of the racist patrons boils over 
and Alice learns what it truly takes 
to stand up for what you believe in.


SATURDAY, MARCH 18 at 7:30pm
Feature Film: Black Fly

Director: Jason Borque | Starring: Matthew MacCaull, 
Dakota Daulby, Christie Burke
Synopsis: A troubled teenager and his older brother reconnect, 
setting off a powder keg of buried
 secrets, paranoia, and murder. Inspired by true events.


Short: The Timekeeper

Director: Scott Weber | Starring: Tom McBeath, 
Nathan Dashwood, Tammy Gillis
Synopsis: A watchmaker, who pawns time from people who 
waste it, is forced to question his own 
use of time when confronted by someone who might value it

SUNDAY, MARCH 19 at 2:00pm
Feature Film: The Wingman

Director: Jim Garrison | Starring: Peter Benson, Geoff Gustafson, Iris Paluly
Synopsis: A professional womanizer coerces his relationship 
counselor into helping him seduce 
women, only to discover that having him as his best friend 
is more important than using him to 
satisfy his insatiable sex drive.

No trailer I could link up for this film

Short: I Wanna Date U

Director: Lisa Ovies | Starring: Laura Adkin, Lisa Durupt, 
Anthony Konechny
Synopsis: After being stood up by her dream guy, a perpetually
 single Holly and her best friend
 Lucy decide to take a stand for women everywhere and 
hunt him down.

SUNDAY, MARCH 19 at 5:00pm
Feature Film: Lawrence and Holloman

Director: Matthew Kowalchuk | Starring: Ben Cotton, 
Daniel Arnold, Katharine Isabelle
Synopsis: The dark and twisted story of a cynical and 
suicidal accounting clerk who gets taken 
under the wing of a happy-go-lucky, ever-optimistic suit salesman.

Short: Monster

Director: Deborah Burns | Starring: Jodelle Ferland,
 R. Douglas Hutchinson, Dave Abustan
Synopsis: Monster is a fable set in a pastoral post-apocalyptic 
time. Hannah, played by 
Jodelle Ferland, draws the winning lot to feed a terrifying 
hungry monster waiting in the forest.
No Trailer Available:

SUNDAY, MARCH 19 at 7:30pm
Feature Film: Into the Forest

Director: Patricia Rozema | Starring: Ellen Page, 
Evan Rachel Wood, Max Minghella
Synopsis: A mesmerizing and powerful story about two teenage 
sisters in their remote woodland
 home who are forced to fend for themselves in a society that 
may be on the brink of collapse.

Short: Bedbugs: A Musical Love Story

Director: Matthew Kowalchuk | Starring: Shauna 
Johannesen, Sebastien Archibald, Blu Mankuma
Synopsis: Just when flannel-clad Tracy Polokowski thinks her
 ‘yes’ day has come, her hipster 
boyfriend breaks up with her, she discovers she has bedbugs, 
and she is ostracized by everyone 
she knows.

Trailer not able to be uploaded to this site.

Tickets for the inaugural Maple Ridge Festival of BC Film are 
available online at, by phone at 604.476.2787 or in person at The ACT Arts Centre, located at 
11944 Haney Place in Maple Ridge. Ticket prices range from 
$11 for single tickets, $27 for a 3-pack of tickets, and $50 for
 a 6-pack of tickets. Tickets purchased for the screening on 
March 17 will also be honoured at the Festival’s Opening 
Reception at 6:30pm.

For more information on the Maple Ridge Festival of BC Film, 

About The ACT Arts Centre:
The ACT Arts Centre is operated by The ACT Arts Council - 
a non-profit charitable society that serves the community of
 Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows since 1971. The ACT Arts Centre
 aims to offer vibrant arts and cultural opportunities and 
experiences through excellence in artistic and 
educational programming, customer service, and member 
community service. The ACT Arts Centre is dedicated to
 “Bringing Arts to the Heart of our 

About Ridge Film Studios:
The Ridge Film Studios opened for business on January 1st, 2015 in Maple Ridge, British Columbia. Since then, over 25 TV Movies, 
and two TV Series have been filmed at the studios. With over 
46,000 square feet of stage space available along with film
 production equipment rentals, the vision for The Ridge Film 
Studios is to provide a premiere film production studio 
facility that producers, directors, and crew will find 
artistically satisfying, convenient, and cost-efficient. The Ridge
 Film Studios is committed to building a strong, locally run film 
studio that provides stable jobs to the community and helps 
make Maple Ridge a film-friendly 

Thank you for reading this 
Anthony Nadeau

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Interview With Badass Film Festival Co-Founder David Aboussafy

I had heard of The Badass Film Festival when my friend Nadine L' Esperance had her film "No Pets Allowed" show there. I was invited but could not attend that year but would the following year and have press for both years.
I have been given the opportunity to interview(via email) David Aboussafy co-Director of the Badass III Film Festival this year at The Rio Theater February 26, 2017 starting at 2 PM.
I will be in attendance for this years festival , hope to see you there!

What can people attending this year's event expect?

Thanks Anthony for attending from the beginning, and for your ongoing support of the Vancouver Badass Film Festival!

In brief, Badass film festival goers this year can expect an even more killer line-up of new extreme short and feature films from around the world, (our submissions tripled from the previous two years) in a bigger and more action-packed environment. The films will be headed up by the premieres and first and only Vancouver theatrical screenings of the  highly anticipated new feature films: Director's Cut (Adam Rifkin and Penn Jillette's new twisted meta-masterpiece), and Frankenstein Created Bikers (Jimmy Bickert's new balls to the wall indie exploitation epic perhaps the last such film to be shot on 35 mm film, and the sequel to the legendary biker film Dear God No!).

There are also live events hosted by our master of ceremonies Mister NIckel, including post-screening Q & As with attending filmmakers and cast, appearances by Samantha Mack and others, and performances including those by by Tristan Risk, Burns the Dragon, a very special live presentation before the screening of Frankenstein Created Bikers. There will also be an award show with nominees including Hollywood heavy-hitters, indie mavericks and up and comers from both Vancouver and around the world (see site for nominations list just posted).

_OR watch the evenings host Mr Nickel read off all the Nominations here:

Now that we have finalized our selections, our schedule looks like:

FEATURE  The Valley of the Rats   2pm
Intermission 15
International 3:30pm
Turbo Killer  4 mins
For Blood  11 mins
Commune 15 mins
Retribution  13 mins
The Stylist 15 mins
The Parting Glass    17 mins
Intermission 15
  CANADIAN  5:00pm
Engineers  6 mins
Bon Jovi Witness   11 mins
Un Amour Dangereux  4 mins
The Third Date   8 mins
Burning All The Past Away   4 mins
Marauder  13 mins
Static   16 mins
Intermission 15
LOCAL  6:15 pm
AlphaMem 10mins
Mortem 4 mins
Summoned    6 mins
Ghost Can  6 mins
Baiting the Abductors 3 mins
Ready to Burst 11 mins
     FEATURE   Director's Cut   745pm
   FCB    pre-screening live performance   915pm
     FEATURE    Frankenstein Created Bikers   945pm

With a love for the underground film circuit , this is easily one of the best festivals I have attended.
Having saying that, did you think/know that there would be a market for this style of film festival?

Not initially.  When we set up Badass I in late 2014, Marc Boily and I were simply just a nude photographer (Marc) and a psychologist (me) looking for a venue to screen the crazy films that we and our friends liked (and made). I had previously quite enjoyed the old Cinemeutre festival which ended in the mid-2000s when Kier-la Janisse moved to Australia, and had noted that this left a gap left as historically the big fests (eg VIFF) and playing it safe studios tended to exclude more extreme or challenging films. We had hoped that fans of extreme films would still, as per the motto of our current venue The Rio Theatre,  want: 'an experience that they can't download.'

Two of the major films of last years festival recently found distributors -was their showing at Badass have some help with that?

Yes, as you noted,  last year's top Canadian feature from Badass II, The Evil In Us (from Vancouver's Sandcastle PIctures, Jason William Lee, Director, & Dalj Brar, Producer) and the most badass international feature Atroz (from Mexico, Lex Ortega Director, & Abigail Bonilla, Producer) both announced distribution deals shortly after their Badass Film Festival screenings.  The Evil in Us found success at Sitges and Frightfest with a distribition deal from Raven Banner, with recent wide releases in the UK and Korea, and an upcoming North American release date.   Atroz topped several best of extreme horror lists for 2016 and is being distributed now by Unearthed Films.

Standouts of the previous first Badass year included Quincy Perkins' Swingers Anonymous from Florida (whose poster sported part of your review after Badass I) which was featured at Cannes, and Vancouver's Luchagore/ Gigi Saul Guerrero's El Gigante (which went on to win over 50 awards at other festivals around the world and also a distribution deal with Raven Banner).

I would, of course put all the films' post Badass Film Festival successes down to the quality, originality and impact of the films, and the persistence of their teams'  Producers/Directors, & etc.  Most of the sales happen at film markets like AFM or Cannes, although buzz from even small festivals like ours may help get distributors or buyers attention.

Valley of the Rats is a film you co-produced any thoughts on the making of it?

I am the Executive Producer (among a few other roles) of the new feature film
The Valley of the Rats , whose new cut is kicking off Badass III.  It's a vision of auteur filmmaker Vince D'Amato, and very much in the Italian thriller giallo tradition. It's also a testament to the general awesomeness of the available talented Vancouver cast and crew that we were able to make a quality art-house over the top extreme thriller, on a shoestring budget, and in a very short time.  It stars Momona Komogata and Jesse Inocalla and Produced by Will Carne.  For my part, I especially enjoyed bringing together and working with the cast of this film, especially cult film star Lynn Lowry (Shivers, The Crazies, Cat People) and our local scream queen superstar Tristan Risk along with Lavender, one of her albino pythons.

My future film projects include development of a higher budget film with the D'Amato team which is to be shot entirely in Italy, Los Vampiros Sexuales.  I am also helping to write and produce Marc Boily and Jason William Lee's new high concept science fiction thriller AlphaMem.  I am on the production team of the literary creature feature Sherlock Holmes vs. Frankenstein -also to be shot in Europe.  I am also developping the 'Mad Max, without guns, stuck in strip club' feature script that I wrote with Samantha Mack, Maniac Strippers vs. Bikers. I also co-produced the Elias Ganster creature feature Ayla, which will hit the festival circuit shortly.

Your location has changed from it's previous home of Vancity Theater to The Rio , any reason for the change for those that are curious?

Badass I and II completely sold out our first two years at the great VIFF/Vancity Theatre, where we very much enjoyed presenting our first two festivals.  We've moved this year to the fabulous Rio Theatre which has about twice as many seats to allow for more people to participate in the badassery and to the see the films on the big screen

(that being said a sell out is expected and those who are interested in attending should get their passes quickly to avoid disappointment at the link at

Our attendees at Badass I & II also drank our prior venue dry,  and The Rio assured us of a well-stocked bar and theatre drink service. The Rio Theatre is also cool with our fire and burlseque performers.

Badass III will really be an experience you can't download.

You had mentioned to me  last year of making this an entire weekend event or even a week long event, any changes to that idea(s)? Or is that still in the planning stages?

Yes, our aspiration is to develop The Vancouver Badass FIlm Festival into a  longer festival. This past year there were some issues with potential new sponsors who cited the Badass II screening of the very extreme Atroz as a reason for withholding sponsorship.  This may change going forward, as new partners or a bigger submission and ticket sale base may allow funding of additional days in future years consistent with our aspirations.

I would like to thank David for the time spent on the questions and will see you all getting Badass, soon. here for tickets & Information

Thank you for reading this
Anthony Nadeau