oaks - news, and blog

gregoire update

this weekend i spent some time with my editor to see the progress made on gregoire, and i am so very happy with how it is shaping up.

we're going to make two teasers and debut them at the fort mcmurray international film festival in september. i cannot wait to show all of you.

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i went home

this past weekend i traveled to what will likely be the next place i call home.

vancouver is running out of things for me. the crippling realization that affording a house here, paired with the feeling of never getting ahead - what is keeping me here.

i am looking forward to the next chapter, which i am working so hard to achieve sooner than later.

cody bownComment
i went home

i returned home for the first time since the fire. this was also the second time i got to see my parents since the fire. overall everything was weird.

when i flew in, i could see in the trees where the fire had consumed so much, and when we drove in from the airport, you could see the damage roadside. 

but then when we got into town, in 90% of the streets you'd drive, you wouldn't even know a fire was there... beacon hill, abasand are secluded, on top of a hill, and are only accessible by one way in. you can't see into them by passing along the highway, so you don't see it - at all. waterways on the other hand you can see from the highway. but from the downtown core, you wouldn't even know. skip across the bridge and up the hill and it is business as usual.

it's so weird. 

my parents drove me around over the three days i was home, mostly to get jomaas, but also to my neighborhood. there are check stops at the entrance of every neighborhood, which is great because who wants some asshole looting or sifting through your ashes. but we have to show identification to get in. again - good. but on the other hand, this really closes eyes of everyone else not really effected by the fire. 

as i mentioned the town, is business as usual, and the return to normalcy is nice absolutely - but its almost creating a divide in the town. you see the stupid 'fort mac strong' decals on every single vehicle (i think it's stupid because it's not unique - think boston strong & the boston marathon bombing) and its like.. who are you supporting? yourself because you need a new fridge? yourself because you were displaced and were the first ones allowed back - and allowed to go into your home, not to mention welcomed by the fire department with a huge banner over the bridge.. you forget that abasand, beacon hill, waterways weren't allowed in until a week or more late - and no one was there greeting them. they couldn't come back to their homes, and those who could, can't live in them until further notice. 

abasand and beacon hill have some houses still standing, but it's so random. you have people who get closure as in "my place burned down", and then you have the rest whose houses are standing, but for how long? there are no answers. my folks are one of those people and they're essentially counting down the days until they are told their house is being bulldozed because it's silly to keep 100 houses standing in an entire neighborhood that is going to get rebuilt. 

i ran into so many people from abasand who had lost everything. their attitudes are at 0. there is no where left to go from that low, and they're dying to hear some good news. the other people i've met and talked to, they have no idea what really is going on it seems. granted, i don't know the full scope of it all either, but from what i've observed this is the way it goes. 

it's sad. i really feel for those in abasand, waterways, beacon hill, saprae creek, wood buffalo, centennial RV park, and those who lost houses at random on prospect drive and alberta drive & elsewhere.

keep your fort mac strong, because until you see it you have no idea. 


cody bownComment
planning summer 2016

there is a lot to come out of us in the summer 16' (good luck saying that without thinking drake)

a lot of good.

a lot of ok.

a lot of news. 

stay tuned.

cody bownComment

i put my dvd collection on craiglist today. 432 titles, and all i asked for was $3 or $5 per blu ray.

wild to think that the collection, i spent probably well over $10,000 on. that's a film!

i wonder if i went back and knew i were going to sell it, would i have bought it? what memories do i have of watching movies at my house would i have missed out on, and then what would have happened instead? 

netflix has made it super easy to not care about collecting films. even though netflix doesn't have all 432 of these films and tv shows, but it makes it a hell of a lot easier knowing that some of them are right there - and if i really want it, i'll stream them.

the first order came in, and it was 25 movies and tv shows that added up to only $100, and it had all my favorite films within it. 

i'm happy they might go onto someone who is discovering films or just appreciated it as much if not more than i. 

cody bownComment
just a heads up re: merch

i just want to give you an idea of whats going to come in the near future.

highway 63 t-shirt
this is meant to be a charity shirt, i have run out of the quantities that i have ordered, and might have one or two left over. when i am finished stuffing envelopes i will see what is left over and put them in the store to be made available for purchase. the money will still go to red cross but more things will come into play - tax and shipping costs. 

because i have worked the cost of shipping into the shirt, specifically for this shirt and the jomaas shirt, it will effect the non-charity merch, which should have paid shipping methods. 

jomaas t-shirt
this shirt originally was not a charity shirt, so i do have some additional stock after the re-print, which like above, will be made available soonish.

so in summary, expect some tax and shipping costs. sorry.

cody bownComment
a return to normalcy from afar

this blog might sound incredibly selfish because i in no way shape or form have experienced what anyone else has, so forgive me.

it's been 17 days since the forest fires in fort mcmurray have made an impact on the area, and the fires are still raging. doubled in size since the city was evacuated. the town for now is 'safe' but now the oil plants are in danger. suncor just evacuated again for the second time, which many people were labeling as 'too soon to be back' while others were appreciating a return to normalcy.

i found out that my neighborhood, abasand, was being evacuated during a lunch break at work. i was in a restaurant, about to order a burger, and i saw on facebook of all places posted by my cousins' girlfriend, that abasand was being evacuated. i called my mom asap, at work, no answer. i called her cell phone, she was on a bus heading to an evacuation point - mac island, which is the same place we evacuated abasand that time a drug deal went bad and someone got shot in the head. when mom confirmed the news to me i broke down and cried in the middle of this restaurant while trying to stuff a burger into my face and get the hell out of there. in the following days, my parents made it north to safety, then south to safety, then west to safety - and to me. my parents were visibly shook - as they should have been. it was terrifying for everyone. 

my mom and dad were supposed to spend four more days with me but mom got called back to work so my folks headed back to alberta. this is a good thing - although i missed hanging out with them for more time, a return to routine is what they need. getting my moms mind back on tasks and work will help. my dad since has also been called to work up north and is living in camp. probably the first time he's ever done that.. i spoke to him lastnight and we spent the first thirty minutes of the call trying to figure out why his tv wasn't working. when he emailed me pictures of the remote and tv from his ipad, we figured it out. since my parents are getting back into their routines, the best thing i can do is try to get back into mine. 

i still worry about my friends and family of course. i still want to be involved and help as i can of course. but there is only so much i can do from afar, and i'm realizing that just like my parents i need to follow suit and try to get into a routine to take my mind off of it. 

the t-shirts have been a huge success. we're going to have a nice big donation to send to the red cross when all is said and done. it's keeping me busy and of course taking my mind of things. i am breaking up the monotony of stuffing envelops one at a time by listening to new albums, drake & beyonce mostly. i cannot wait for everyone to get their shirt. some people have them already and have emailed me pictures of them wearing it. i'll add them to the site in due time. 

cody bownComment
forest fires in fort mcmurray

currently there are three forest fires outside of fort mcmurray working their way inwards. 

two neighborhoods have been evacuated. gregoire, and beacon hill (which is on voluntary evacuation)

these places hold memory for me, but that is the past. these places have future for some of my friends and i hope everything gets settled before we see real damage to homes, businesses, neighborhoods, etc. 

sending positive vibes out that way, you should too. fort mcmurray is made up of one of the most generous group of people in the world. you might never know it because of the way the city gets reported in the news - or because of the way you feel about oil. but i bet you'd never know that every year, fort mcmurray donates the most money in canada to the united way. fort mcmurray is no stranger to fire and tragedy, and i'm 100% positive the town will bounce back and support one another the way it always has. but in the mean time, send well wishes. 

cody bownComment
dreams of talent

i keep having recurring dreams about playing music at a talent show in high school. sometimes when i listen to music, i subconsciously day dream about me playing that, at my high school during the talent show.

i always wanted to play drums. when i was a kid i wanted to, and when my friends all got guitars we'd start bands, but i could never secure getting drums. i'd ask my parents and they'd tell me 'where would you put them?'. in the garage? 'no, then where would dad do all his woodworking?'. in the basement? 'no, we're not listening to that all day long.' and i mean fair enough, i get where my folks were coming from. 

so i tried singing. i wanted to be in a band with my friends. we need someone to sing. i can sing. sure why not. then one day in grade 7 or 8, we were in my friends room. one was playing guitar, and the other playing bass, and i had a microphone, and we tried to play adam's song by blink 182. i was four words into the song when i realized - nope you're not a singer, you cannot do this. and i gave up after the first verse. it was embarrassing. 

now that i'm a grown man, i took drum lessons, and had fun, but never followed through with seeing it to the point where i can create. it was fun, it is fun. but i just don't have the time to dedicate to it to ever get to that point.

i miss my time as a youth, where that's all i had. where i didn't have to work, it was school and then free time to do whatever i wanted, where i could have learned something but didn't, where i could have done something but didn't. 

cody bownComment

i'll vote for some of my friends, but... 

every year more and more of my friends / facebook friends are joining storyhive, this grant where you can win like $10,000 if you pimp yourself super hard. some of my friends have received those grants, and good on them. i'll vote for some of my friends, but only if their project is worth it. you don't get my vote just because you know me. and i want everyone to treat me the same way, don't vote for my project or share it, or whatever if you don't like it or believe it in. 

i'm just trying to rid the phony out of a lot of people. that's the whole point. let's get real you know. this years storyhive had maybe 8-10 people i knew or knew on facebook pushing their nonsense. i voted once for one of my friends, but i couldn't get behind the project enough to log in every day and give it honestly. 

my favorite thing is when people copy paste their 'go vote for me' bullshits in a message. like, make it personal, pretend that you aren't trying to just send it to as many people as possible. pretend like the person you are sending it to is actually a person and if this is your first interaction with them in god knows how long say hey, hows it going, hope all is well, then get into your bullshit. 

and dont even think about inviting me to the facebook group. i've gotten significantly bitter that facebook pages are made for short films, that are already completed.. i mean i get it i guess, but, c'mon. 



cody bownComment
thinking about me thinking about me thinking about me thinking.

the toughest realization that i've had to face hit me this past week. i'm not going to make tiff this year with my film 'gregoire'. it's devastating to me.

i would never release a film if i didn't think it was right where it should be, and who know's maybe it wouldn't have been where it needed to be and all of that - so the following is kind of in hypotheticals. 

in the larger picture, this film meant more to me than just telling a story about my home town. it meant more to me than continuing my career as an independent filmmaker. it meant more to me than anything you might ever  understand. so this weakening feeling that it isn't going to happen hurts me more than maybe it should.

i came home from a film festival, only to be laid off from my job of six years. i was given a lovely severance package, but had to live off of it, and i couldn't save the money to make two films like i was hoping. i went on EI and really only got enough to pay my rent, and my bills. everything beyond rent and bills got slapped onto a visa that had already been revived from maxing out (twice).

the beautiful thing about the job that i had was that it afforded me time. i worked four on, four off. which meant i had four days off to work on films. it was perfect. it worked for me. and now i came home, with no job and no place to be but all the time in the world. so what was i to do?

i had to give up my office - a place that i had spent a lot of my downtime, writing. i couldn't write at home, sorry, i can't write at home. my wonderful beautiful friends kris woznesensky and kara eide, let me occupy a chair in their office. together during the days we, all three of us would work so hard and make things happen.

i tried looking for a job, something to get me back in the saddle so i didn't have to live off my severance, but i spoiled that story for you already. no one wanted me. nobody wanted the skills i had spent ten years working on. i was a free agent in the offseason - no one was hiring. i tried applying for jobs that were (lesser) than i felt comfortable doing. jobs that would have been a paycheck, and i would have sorted out my life afterwards and made this work. during my time waiting to hear back i did not get one single email - not even confirming that my resume was sent in. it was fucking tough. 

at a point, when my severance was wearing out i made the decision, and i said to myself. "you've been afforded the time to do something you've always wanted to do. go do it." so i did. i put finding a job on the back burner, although still looking, and decided i would make a jump to a feature film and i would do it myself. 

the shitty thing about being independent is that you're all fucking alone in this. if no one is getting paid or no one is investing money in you - then no one cares. but i found a few people who gave a shit about the story i was telling. and together we filmed it. i wont get into the wonderful time i had filming, because that's not the point of this. once filming wrapped i realized that i was missing a big component of what these other films have - money. money to pay people to do things. as i mentioned before no one cares as much as you do, that's a given, but no one cares even half as much as you do - without motivation, in form of money. i hate asking people to do things for free - so i don't ask. if people volunteer their time, perfect, and i'll have to take it as it comes, and work around their schedule and so on. the post process right now has cost me about 7-9 months of time because of the factors mentioned above. the life of me has been sucked out because i've had to put this project, that has been in my own hands for so long - into others hands and it did nothing but hurt. (the project and myself)

i am sad i wont get to submit my film to tiff this year, with some heavy hitters, in hopes to stand among them knowing that while they were given money and time, my film came at a cost of money and time. i am sad that this film is going to be on the shelf for some time until it is ready. i am sad that this chapter of my career, rests dormant for now. i am sad that this story of my hometown will have to wait to be told, but selfishly i am sad that the return on suffering for an entire year isn't paying off. it will one day, i'm sure. maybe it wont. i've been down before, i'll be up again. i just know that the next time i do this whole thing, it'll be done differently. 

cody bownComment
star wars

i recently returned home from a flight from cancun, i was in mexico for my friends wedding, and on the flight home the new star wars was on. i've gone my entire life never seeing a star wars film, and i honestly wasn't too interested in starting now.

but, this flight was 6 hours, and what was i supposed to do. so i watched it.

i hated it.

i hated it so much. but everyone loves star wars, why do i hate it. i decided i would go back and watch all of the star wars leading up to this film and see what the fuss is all about. i wanted to start from episode 1 and work my way through to 6. people advised against this but hey - if you're a star wars nerd, you need to live with the shit that is episode 1 and 2. jar jar binks was a terrible idea. a terrible terrible terrible idea.

in one sitting i finished the first three episodes, and i must say they did get better as the films went on. i was happy with episode 3, and am looking forward to seeing the 'original' star wars now. i'll get to it eventually.

cody bownComment

'sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never harm me'

it is terrifying to know that something somebody says to you, could absolutely break you down. i would rather have my bones broken than feel miserable because of something somebody says to me.

but what's worse are the things people don't say.

cody bownComment

i'm in a rut. 

i wish i could crawl into a hole, press >> and skip to a date in the future. not know what happened and just be where i am. hopefully out of the rut.

cody bownComment
every day forward

i was put in a situation where my life could have ended, or at the very least i could have been severely injured. it was not the first time i've been in this situation, but the first time it could have been taken from me.

every day forward now, i could have missed if i was just four inches to my right. it was a very sobering experience and i haven't stopped thinking about it since saturday. how unfair that would have been to be taken from me and have no say in the matter. 


cody bownComment
living on

it is silly to think about, how something you create lives on. i'm listening to a bunch of albums from the 90's, of bands that might've had success with one song on the album. it's interesting how this sound lives on. the hit, the classic, oozes nostalgia and takes me to a time and place, but the rest of the album i'm almost hearing for the first time. im listening to it with 2016 ears trying to think in a 1997 mind. weird. would i have loved this then? do i like it now? this track - superb, the album - not so much. but am i saying that as 2016 me, or 1995 me. 

cody bownComment
happy place

happiness and i are not friends. at best we're acquaintances who get together once in a while and spend an afternoon together talking about everything that has happened since the last time we hung out. 

nine days out of ten i am not okay, but writing it down helps - getting it out there. if you looked around my apartment you'd find letters and letters and letters written to nobody, with a face drawn on the envelope to dictate the feelings in the letters. this isn't anything new, i've been feeling this way for thirteen years. 

so now i've wrapped up my afternoon coffee with my old friend, and i say godspeed until next time. 

cody bownComment
fsfi: the sound of / the amnesiest

the sound of
this was supposed to be a no word, short film, about a guy who breaks his headphones, and has to listen to the sounds of the city in different situations. as if the city was a soundtrack.

the amnesiest
this was one of the only stories i actually wrote a script for. it was part of my final projects pitch, or mid terms i don't know. it was about an amnesiest, who was someone whose job it was to sit with you while you're suffering from memory loss, and tell you about your life. our main character learned this profession from his father in law. one day his wife gets in a car accident and guess what - she has memory loss - so while he's compiling the necessary documents and items to re-tell her her life, his father in law is already re-telling her her life, but he leaves out the fact that she's married. the script ends with him learning this and just being devastated, trying to find a way to get her back, and when everything fails, he re-meets her for the first time - which does work. 

cody bownComment
fsfi: beating an albatross / 89th and cactus

beating an albatross
for the longest time that i could remember, this was going to be the film that defined a weird genre which seemingly didn't really feel like it existed in the first place. the original story was about a man who goes to visit his dying dad in a hospital but see's this majestic bird flying beside him in the middle of no where. his eyes are fixated on this bird and he gets in a car crash and dies. when his eyes open up again he's in an office, cubicles as far as the eye can see. and this guy sits down at an empty desk and follows a tutorial on how to answer gods emails. he works and works and works without feeling tired. what happens is that, you're paid for your time, and when you want to leave, you can. when you get back to earth you have 1 clue to your life, and you start off with the money you've earned in heaven. you have as much time as you worked - to figure out who you were and what your life was if you wanted to be reincarnated. so our hero leaves with a girl and they try to figure out who they were. she does, but he doesn't. 

89th and cactus
this film was inspired by couple of streets in osoyoos, bc. the story was about a cul-de-sac that has only 3 houses on it, and each family is bitter rivals with one another. it was meant to be a comedy, that gets severely dark when one of the kids accidentally burns his house down. 

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