Tag Archives: filmmaking

8 Intentions for 2018

26511174_10155970438740912_1949145620_oI realized the new years resolutions I make every year are more like intentions rather than resolutions because I’m not resolving to change anything. Resolutions sounds negative… I’m proud of everything i did last year! And excited about everything I will achive in 2018!!!! So here are my 8  Intentions for 2018.

1. Derby Derby Derby (This year- roller derby is my #1, so I’ve deemed 2018 the year of the rollerskates.)

2. Fitness & Weight Training- In 2017, I did well on and off with my body-building goals but this year I want to get a regular gym routine and stick to it for the WHOLE year. 🙂

3. Make at least one short film (Roller Derby love story perhaps?)

4.  Read More! (I have a great stack of books to get me started on this.)

5. Regular Date Nights ❤ I’m always so busy, but this year I want to make sure I make time for love, magic & romance!

6. Monthly Video Chats with Family – Staying connected has always been a challenge for me, but I really want to make a solid effort to chat with everyone regularly especially the niblings!

7.  Doggy Training Time. The little ones need to go to obedience school! Especially Scarlett since she’s in her peeing everywhere chewing-everything puppy phase! And Darla thinks she can get away with anything…

8. Purchase our First Home! We know we’re here in Nova Scotia to stay, so we’re looking for the perfect first house for us…  Fingers crossed we’ll find it and buy it sometime this year!

Good luck with all of your goals and dreams for 2018! And remember- 2018 is the YEAR OF THE ROLLERSKATES.

Determination

xx

HJL

aka RADISH

 

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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

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

the inevitable

(an update of sorts.)

Tonight, I’m feeling proud of myself, hopeful, and super excited about the future.

I’m buzzing with ambition, and sky high hopes for  the multiple projects I have signed up for- there’s the Dead North Film Festival from now until January 31st, then I am going to do another mini doc for CBC’s Exhibitionists, then in March or April I want to shoot my short script “Hands Don’t Lie.” and all the while there is an exiting creative project that I am undertaking at my day job that I will be able to speak publicly to soon.

I talk faster, I stay up later, all I can think about is my projects. But I know that this feeling won’t last. So I’m trying to stop for just a minute and breathe, and just really enjoy it.  I’ve come to know this as my natural cycle of intense highs and lows. The only problem is, I never know how long its going to last…

A couple months ago I was in a state of depression and I didn’t want to do anything, no projects, no goals, nothing. I didn’t even really want to talk to people. I just wanted to make it through the day without crying. This down period was the longest (or at least it felt like the longest) I’ve ever experienced in my life so far. During this period I started going to counselling and talked a lot to my counsellor about my deep seeded self doubt and anger and pain. Then something happened- well, actually nothing in particular happened but I got Happy Heidi back, and poof. I love life, I love myself, I love my projects, I want to sign up for everything and anything. I am on top of the world – and I truly believe I can do anything.

My counsellor said she believes (although she did not have the qualifications to officially diagnose me) that I am bipolar.

I have often wondered about my mental health, but I also have very strong objections to taking prescription medications (a trait I definitely learned and/or inherited from my mother). I am sure they are beneficial and absolutely necessary for some people, but I just don’t want to be dependent or addicted to another substance. And the truth is, I never want to get rid of the highs. I actually accomplish so much when I’m in this manic, obsessive, creative, state.

I’m sure, down the road if my down periods get longer, or circumstances change and my mental health is really negatively affecting my work and relationships I may consider seeking medical intervention. But for now, I’m just going to ride the high. And I’ve always believed there is a very thin line between creativity and insanity.

So let me tell you about the good things…

Yesterday, I submitted my first short film to an actual film festival (the Dawson International Short Film Festival). And I’m so proud of the little story we created. Of course, being the perfectionist I am, I was disappointed I couldn’t figure out all of the special effects I had wanted to do in post but I did learn a lot along the way which was the ultimate goal. I learned so much more about colour grading and blending modes which I will definitely use in my next narrative project. Now I’m just happy we completed it in a short time frame, and I know that every project from here on out will be a little bit stronger because of it. And look how cute and witchy my actors look here –>

witch-therapy

Then tonight I handed in the first draft of my script for the Dead North Film Festival. I’m finally going to make a short film about the two teenage mediums Jade & Tash who met in the spirit realm as children. I’ve been dying to tell this story or a version of this story since my undergrad at UBC. Although this version is definitely going to be much more psychological thriller/suspenseful than the first script I wrote on the concept. I am super excited to receive my first round of feedback on it…

deadnorth-scriptplanning

I’m also thrilled that I get to go down to Vancouver for KNEE SURGERY tomorrow! YES, you heard right! I get to get MY KNEE FIXED FOR CHRISTMAS!

Which means one day in my future, I’ll be playing roller derby again! yaaaaay.

But this also means in a couple of days I’ll be on crutches again, in a lot pain and very likely hitting rock bottom in the emotional department- but for now I’m going to go to bed smiling (or stay up and write more, and then make a five year plan even though I already pretty much have one, but more goals, more goals!) 😉

It’s just like my tarot cards said today:

9ofcups

9 of Cups

“Very, very good times are here- there is a real feeling of making it when this card makes an appearance in a spread. It’s a card signifying a kind of overflowing feeling – delight and plenty in equal doses is flushing the doubt right out of your life, and  you’re now feeling a lot closer to your true self than you were all those times when you wondered whether it was really worth the effort. Remember everything is a process (think of the Wheel of Fortune card) and that this blissful time will change, too- but don’t let go of how happy it makes you feel – and keep that close to you to keep you going through the inevitable tougher times that come up in life. Remember to share some of this good stuff around too- and don’t forget to spread a little love- everything you send out will increase what comes back to you, ultimately. Stay generous to your heart.” – Lucy Cavendish.

From the Oracle Tarot- a deck that’s seen my ups and downs one thousand times over since I first bought them at age sixteen. They know me so well.

Life is full of magic-

even on the days you can’t see it.

Thanks for reading!

Love & Gratitude,

Heidi J. Loos