Category Archives: HJL Weekly

My Weekly Blog!

Ho Ho Ho

Check out this cute little Xmas video I made for work this week. 🙂

PS This product really is AMAZING! You should get some, and I’m not just saying that cause I work for ORB, there’s no other product like it- it feels incredible and you really can make anything you want with it!!

HJL

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Life Changes

It’s been forever since I’ve posted anything, so I thought I’d update you all on my incredibly life-changing summer.

My last post was a casting call for my short film- so let’s start there. At the end of May I went into production for my third narrative film (but my very first funded one), and it was an incredible and intense four day shoot. It was amazing to have an actual DOP and crew for this shoot as my previous films were just DIY productions. So it was a huge relief to be able to focus on directing and not have to worry about operating the camera and monitoring light and sound as well. My actors were all Yukoners who had never acted in film before, but they did AMAZING, they really went above and beyond for me and for the project. I know they pushed themselves past their comfort zones in order to get some of the scenes and shots that I really wanted. And they really made me so proud! At the end of those 4 days my heart was so so full of love and gratitude, I was just beaming.

It was super intense because I came down with a really bad cold on day 2, and after we wrapped I literally had 48 hours to pack up my entire life for our move across the country. I also needed to get in an application to the Yukon Filmmakers Fund before I left to try to secure some funding for post-production for the film. Needless to say those were a couple of sleepless nights, but I got it all done and my fiance, Lyndsie and I were able to embark on our epic cross-canada roadtrip on June 1st.

It was wonderful to spend a week in Vancouver and visit with some of our dear friends and hang out by the ocean before heading to Pemberton for our big gay camping wedding.

Our wedding was without a doubt, my dream wedding, it was casual, colourful, and it was camping! Plus I got to spend a weekend with my favourite people and celebrate our partnership and our commitment to building a beautiful life together!

Here are a few of my favourite pics from our special day! (Taken by Lara Gray from LMG Photography of Vancouver)

HLWed2.jpgHLWed5HLWED1We thought our roadtrip across the country would be a lot more leisurely than it was, but we were petal to the metal through the prairies due to a three day storm that we were not keen to tent in- so we drove from Vancouver straight through to Toronto and made it there for Toronto for Pride which was super fun. Then we drove down to Niagra Falls for a cute date and some gambling at the Casino. We were able to spend Canada Day long weekend with our friend at her cottage a few ours outside the Toronto. Other highlights of our trip include chasing squirrels with Darla in literally every park we stopped at, and eating yummy yummy food in Montreal and wandering the streets of Saint John, NB at sunset.

We made it to Halifax on July 5th and slept in hammocks on the harbour our first night in the city.

We almost moved into what we thought was a beautiful apartment with a view of the Harbour but we realized in the nick of time- that it was a sketchy bedbug infested building! So for all of July we camped at different campgrounds (or slept in the car if it was raining) and house-hunted.

I got a notification email from the Yukon Government on July 7 that I would be a recipient for the Yukon Filmmakers Fund! So I have been able to hire a Yukon Editor, Sound Designer and Colorist to help me complete my short film, Hands Don’t Lie! Which is due in December. 🙂

Lyndsie started a job at a local Irish Pub before we even had a roof over our heads! But we finally found a perfect 2-bedroom apartment in Clayton Park which is just a 15min drive out of Halifax and fortunately were able to move in at the end of July.

I joined roller derby here in Halifax and am back on skates after not skating FOREVER (since before my surgery last December) which has been super exciting but also super challenging and frustrating because my legs don’t feel/work the way they used to but I’m finally starting to feel more solid on my skates again!

Next life changing event: I landed a job that couldn’t be more perfect for me- video production coordinator at ORB, an award-winning toy company based out of Halifax! And it just felt amazing like this year is really my year! I literally get to do all of the things I love at work, write scripts, plan shoots, make videos, do other creative writing and marketing campaigns etc. So just when I thought my life couldn’t be more perfect-

My dog Darla got very very sick. In a matter of days her kidneys and liver were failing and the vets didn’t know why. She’s only 2.5 years old and I started asking myself why the heck we moved here and blaming myself for uprooting her from her home and causing this. I’ve never cried as much in a week as I did two weeks ago. The vets said she wasn’t going to make it. We almost put her down, but I just couldn’t do it- I needed a 2nd opinion and then a third, the vets said it would take a miracle for her to start getting better. So I just waited and prayed and cried and prayed and cried for what felt like forever. I didn’t even want to stay here if Darla didn’t make it. We spent 5K trying to save her life, but the Clayton Park vet was so kind and even gave us $1000 off her treatment. When she started improving I felt like I could start to breath again.

Lynds quit her job in order to be a stay at home dog mom and give Darla medication around the clock for the last three weeks. Now Darla has two more days of pills left then we will get her blood tested again and see where she’s at. She’s definitely got her spunk back, but she has lost A LOT of weight and I’m still really worried about her,… but I am SO HAPPY she is alive.

Yesterday I found out my first film, Witch Therapy, was selected for the Reel Pride Film Festival in Winnipeg in October. 🙂

So all in all I feel like this summer has been an amazing emotional journey with lots and lots of change and milestones. Some days I feel like everything is moving at lightning speed and I haven’t had any time to stop and catch my breath- but I’m just grateful I get to share these ups and downs with my lovely partner and furchild because they are the ones that make everything else I do worthwhile.

❤ HJL

CASTING CALL

I’m looking for actors for my next short film: Hands Don’t Lie.

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It’s a love story about two women in a senior’s home, and one of them is a palm reader 🙂

So if you like to act (or have always wanted to try) and are in the Yukon, or willing to travel to the Yukon at the end of May- one of these could be your role!

CASTING FOR:

June 70+ Proper, bitter, controlling woman, who finally let’s go of this hard exterior & is able to embrace her true self
Gretta 70+ Sweet, wild & unabashedly queer, a palm-reader who has done and seen it all- she can read the future & the past!
Peter 45-55 – June’s son, a kind but conservative caring middle aged man
Rebecca 25-35 Calm, professional & honest Nurse/Care Attendant

EXTRAS – Senior men and women needed for a few 1-line roles and some non-speaking background parts

ALL ETHNICITIES WELCOME FOR ANY/ALL ROLES

TO AUDITION or to find out more about the characters & story email me: heidijloos@gmail.com or call (867) 333-3719

Please pass along this acting opportunity to all of the senior women you know!!!

Thanks,

❤ HJL

With Love & Snow

Here is a link to the most recent video I made for CBC’s Exhibitionists:

Michael'spiece

It is a touching story about local snow carver Donald Watt and his long-time carving partner Michael Lane who recently passed away. The photo above is the memorial sculpture the Yukon team made for Mike at the Whitehorse International Snow Sculpture Challenge in February 2017.

I found myself tearing up while editing this. They made so many incredible snow sculptures over the years. Mike will be dearly missed.

HJL

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

Survived Dead North

To all of you wondering why I’ve been MIA the last month and a half- I took on the challenge to make a short film for the Dead North Film Festival and guess what- I successfully submitted “Spirits Crossing” this week HUGE SIGH OF RELIEF. This means the fantasy/thriller we created will premiere in Yellowknife at the end of this month!

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What an incredible, exciting and difficult endeavour this was! When I decided to take on the challenge it was the end of November, and I thought, heck yes this will be an excellent way to spend my cold, dark December and January. But what I didn’t know then was that I would be getting knee surgery on December 15- so that really threw a curve ball my way. But I was determined to still go for it even if I had to hobble around and take a lot of pain killers to do it…

Luckily I wrote the first draft of the script two days before surgery so I at least had the ideas down before I got super loopy. Otherwise I think the story would not have made much sense. Then I was able to crutch around have SO MANY amazing people lend their helping hands (for free!) to help me bring the story to life. I also got some really incredible guidance & advice from the Dead North 2017 mentors.

However, I DID push myself too hard during the process, and I did have to go to emergency after my knee started burning and swelled up like a balloon (again) because I was on my feet too much shooting and ignoring my body (OOPS). But at least the last two weeks, every night after work I’ve had my leg elevated and nose buried in screens editing & colouring (and watching tutorials) like crazy to try to get the job done.

I may have cried a few times during this process, but I’ve also pretty much accepted that crying is part of my natural creative process 😛 and some of the tears were happy tears. Especially watching ALL of the takes where my actors just KILLED IT. I can honestly say that I am so so so so proud of what we created.

And for all the little mistakes and flaws that make my insides squirm, (I’m my own worst critic, trust me!) at least I can rest assured I have learned A LOT that I can apply to my future film projects!

Can’t wait to share this baby with you all! In the meantime please like Spirits Crossing on Facebook, which is where I’ll post about any additional screenings such as a local Yukon premiere.

Love & Gratitude

From a Dead North Rookie

Heidi J. Loos