ALFF 2017 Highlights

What aalff1 great festival this has been! I have been thoroughly impressed with all of the films and events I attended at this year’s Available Light Film Festival- so kudos to all of the filmmakers, the coordinators & the volunteers for putting on such a fabulous festival!

I wish I could have attended more films, but I’ve been battling a nasty cold and of course working full-time and working after-hours on two different video contracts just doesn’t allow for a lot of leisure time!

However, I was able to attend a handful of films and events and they were all very memorable and inspirational! ❤

I was blown away by the live performance by Sinister Oculus last weekend. I’ve honestly never experienced anything like it, and I feel blessed to have witnessed such intricate, collaborative LIVE art! What talent!

Also last weekend I fell in love with the animated film Window Horses, and I will be raving about it for a long time to come! Not only is the story super interesting and heart-warming, the artwork throughout the film is absolutely beautiful. I just love the multicultural art and poetry interwoven throughout the film.

Hearing Ann-Marie Flemming and Sandra Oh talk about the film afterwards was also a huge highlight for me- especially their advice to aspiring filmmakers. Basically they said: step by step, project by project, just keep chugging away and eventually you’ll look up and see that you have an amazing portfolio of films and projects to show for it.

The film acting panel with Sandra Oh and Chilton Crane was also an incredible learning opportunity-  intimate, honest, and inspiring. I loved hearing about their unique experiences and challenges as Canadian women in the film industry. All of Sandra’s advice about getting into your body and learning how to relax to be a good actor really gave me a boost of motivation to do a lot more body work & also pursue some more theatre training in my future. Although I don’t have any plans to pursue film acting myself – I think to be a great director, putting yourself in the actor’s shoes and really understanding how to get the emotion and performance you want is essential.

Speaking of good acting-I thought the acting in Weirdos was absolutely phenomenal, and now when I move to the East Coast I really want to track down and work with Julia Sarah Stone on a future project (ADD TO BUCKETLIST). 😉

And both the acting and the writing in I, Daniel Blake were magnificently heart-wrenching. What a gem! I cried in about 5 different places during the film. Actually, I still have the sniffles from the screening earlier tonight. What a tear jerker- in the best kind of way.

And of course, I’d be lying if I didn’t mention the ALFF industry pitch contest last weekend in which I won $7,500 + $2,500in-kind services to put towards my next film, Hand’s Don’t Lie!!!

ALFF Industry 2017 Pitch Winners
ALFF 2017 industry coordinator, Vivian Belik, narrative pitch winner Heidi J. Loos, documentary pitch winner Jessica Hall, and former Executive Director of Screen Production Yukon Association, Naomi Mark.

I was so nervous about pitching, especially pitching solo for the first time. I swear I had to pee like 20 times in the hour before it was finally time to get up on stage and take the mic. It’s not that I wasn’t prepared though, I went to the pitch prep event at SPYA which was super helpful and then practiced my ass off for two days. The morning of the pitch event, Lyndsie woke up at 5AM to me muttering to myself in the bathtub because I was so nervous I couldn’t sleep and was practicing my pitch to an audience of bubbles… And yes she called me Cray-Cray. But hey, it must of helped because even though I don’t remember my pitch, I remember afterwards everyone coming up and saying how much they liked it and would love to see the film! And then when they announced my name as the winner of narrative, I was beyond shocked, but so so so so happy to have the funds and support to finally bring this story to life.

In case you were wondering, Hands Don’t Lie is a bitter-sweet love story in which memories and morals fade away, homophobia is finally forgotten, and 84 year old June falls madly in love with another women at the senior’s home.

I first wrote about the characters of June and Gretta in a fiction class at UBC, and I’ve been obsessed with bringing their story to the screen ever since. I think far too often when we see love in film it’s young people falling in love, again and again, teenagers or young adults- but why? We can fall in love at any age and it can be just as passionate and lustful. Seniors shouldn’t always be depicted as asexual. So my goal with this is to show two complicated, passionate human beings that experience that intense rush of new love, they just happen to be two elderly women, 84 and 79, living at a extended care facility.

Seriously, I CANNOT WAIT TO MAKE THIS FILM. But I also cannot focus on this project until I finish up my contract with CBC at the beginning of March. Because for the next three weeks my mini-doc for Exhibitionists gets all of my evenings & weekends! And then after that, I will focus on writing & rewriting my script as many times as necessary for it can be the very best it can be before holding auditions! So at this point, not quite sure when those will be, but please, if you know any all-star senior actors who would be interested in this opportunity send them my way 😀 ❤

Love & Gratitude,

Heidi J. Loos

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