calgary international film festival
i feel quite thankful to have premiered my film in alberta at the calgary international film festival.
it was small, and that was okay. the film festival was a film festival for the filmmakers, i enjoyed and appreciated that.
first off, they took care of me. they flew me to the festival, and put me up in a hotel right downtown and somewhat central to the venues. when i arrived at the airport, i landed maybe 20ish minutes before my executive producer joe mckeough so i waited. my phone rang, it was an alberta number so i answered it. it was a fucking car waiting for me at the airport to take us to the hotel. wild. i was ready to get into a cab and here they are sending a car. that was really nice of them.
went to go check out our comped tickets, and an error of mine was assuming that i would get a ticket - which was fine, i would have bought one (i wouldn't have needed to because the theatre wasn't packed but thats besides the point). we wound up chatting with a girl we went to high school with who had been working at the festival, which was quite nice.
the screening went well, the first screening. there were a lot of family and friends there, some strangers. friends came from all over AB to scope it out and i'm super thankful for that. after the film we wanted to go out and celebrate, and we wound up at a karaoke event, which if you know me is lol, because i hate that shit. but when i was there i got to meet a lot of the staff, they approached me and told me how much they liked my film. it was crazy. it felt genuine. after that we walked to our hotel and wound up partying in someone elses room until 5am.
my biggest knock is that calgary wasn't a breakfast town. it was a struggle to get breakfast in the morning.
did i mention we wound up taking home the 'best canadian narrative feature' prize? let that sink in for a moment, it still kind of hasn't for me. a lot of the films at viff were also in calgary. never steady never still, entanglement, indian horse, hollow in the land.. these guys thought my film was best. wow. i fucking loved hollow in the land, i thought it was such a great film, and there was no way in hell i was going to top that to the judges. but i did.
we were at the awards gala, and they had just given a shout out to my homie daniel leo for his work on 'man proposes, god disposes' as an honorable mention. it was his first ever film, shot in poland and brazil. its a great film, he killed it for his first project ever. and then they were talking about the award winner:
For its authenticity of story and performance, uncompromising commitment to detail, carefully calibrated aesthetic and ultimately for its freshness of character and situation, the jury unanimously awards the award for Best Canadian Narrative Feature to
Cody Bown for GREGOIRE.
what? i couldn't fucking believe it. i was shocked. i had no words. i still dont. it's been 3 weeks. i still dont have words for this. unanimously?! what? it was such high fucking praise, i could not believe it. i can't believe it.
calgary was an absolute trip. the whole festival was top notch from top to bottom. brenda lieberman, elaine weryshko, gillian mckercher, jeff turner, taylor lang, cole binder, brennan tilley, samantha koroluk, sean garrity - thank you. thank you thank you thank you.
because of all of you, i left calgary feeling on top of the world, ready to create again. it's been 3 years working on this project where i've given my everything for it and you just validated my hard work, my struggle, my passion, the way i do things.