Tag Archives: Heidi J. Loos

MARGOT.

I filmed this little teaser for my friend Nina Reed’s new comedic web series. Check it out.

 

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YWITT Promo

Check out this little promo video  I made for my friends at Yukon Women in Trades and Technology.

YWITT LogoThis organization does great work and I was thrilled to help them spread the word about their wonderful programming and encourage more young women and girls to consider trades & technology careers!

🙂 ❤

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!

sc_shoot

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

My 2017 Resolutions

So I’m a few days late with these, but here is what I hope to achieve this year! I have a REALLY good feeling about 2017… It’s going to be a BIG one for me. 😀

In 2017 will try my best to:

  1. 2017Treat my  body with kindness, patience and respect.
  2. Rehabilitate my knee- lots of gentle exercise & phsyio
  3. Make at least 3 short films
  4. Submit one or two of my short films to some film festivals
  5. Make 1 or 2 mini-documentaries
  6. Start planning/pre-production phase for my LGBT web series
  7. Get Married to my favourite human being on the planet! (date is set, venue is booked, it’s looking pretty damn likely, folks!) ❤
  8. Roadtrip to the East Coast
  9. EXPLORE all different towns and cities across Canada
  10. FILM our roadtrip to the East Coast
  11. Join a roller derby league in Halifax (or somewhere out east)
  12. Make some cool new friends
  13. Lots of creative collaboration***
  14. Get involved in the film scene on the East Coast
  15. Take a class or course in something that interests me
  16. Submit my writing to some literary journals & contests
  17. GET NEW PUPPY!!!! Because Darla needs a companion…

I LOVE New Year’s Resolutions, especially looking back at them at the end of the year and seeing what I hoped/expected for the year and what actually happened. For some reason I totally missed writing resolutions for 2016 but I definitely achieved A LOT, and I’m quite proud of my accomplishments this past year. But I know I am going to learn and grow and achieve even more this year with all the exciting changes that are coming my way.

I wish you all the best with your resolutions, dreams & goals!

xox

Heidi J. Loos

ACL Surgery

I don’t think I was mentally prepared for just how painful (and emotionally draining) ACL repair surgery would be. Not the actual surgery because thank goodness the anesthetic knocked me right out and the fentanyl and morphine made sure I didn’t feel much of anything for the whole first day and a half. But the days and weeks after are kinda brutal, at least they have been for me. I had never broken any bones or had any surgeries before this so it has been quite the learning experience.

knee-1-week-post-op
Healing Nicely! 1 Week Post Op

I am so happy that I purchased a Cyrocuff icepack because it helps SO MUCH with pain management and keeping the swelling down. I initially said no to it, because I thought the clinic was just trying to upsell me – but seriously it is SO worth the cost… And I am ever so grateful to my loving and caring fiance for filling up the ice cooler every 6 hours and carrying it up and down the stairs for me and basically answering to my every beck & call. I’m so lucky and feeling pretty damn loved.But being in constant pain has made me into way more of an erratic bitch than usual which I’m hoping I am getting to the other side of now. I mean, I anticipated the crying because I’ve always been a crier but I didn’t expect the bursts of rage that have accompanied me on this journey of healing.

Before the surgery I thought I’d be on crutches for a week after or something and then right back to it but it’s been 12 days and I definitely can’t put all my weight on that leg yet. The post-op package I got says most people use crutches and then a cane for 3 weeks to a month afterwards. And I can almost extend my leg fully now which I have to be able to do at the end of two weeks post op. So I’m just hoping and praying I can walk by the time my next film shoot comes along mid January because I’m really excited about it and don’t want to have to forfeit the Dead North Film challenge on account of my knee.

I have been able to start biking on a stationary bike with no resistance for 10 minute intervals 3-4 times a day but 10 minutes feels like forever when there is a severe stabbing sensation up and down your leg every time you pedal.

I know now that it’s going to be a much longer road to recovery then I thought and I really need to slow down and let myself heal. I went back to work three days after surgery and I really should have taken last week off. Upon reading the post-op guidelines it says if your job is not a physical one you can return in ‘a few weeks’. But I just thought because I work an office job I’d be fine to just keep my leg elevated. Bad idea! My body and mind have just felt so utterly broken and exhausted. And that’s it, healing from surgery is just emotionaly and physically exhausting.

It has been especially hard for me to be so vulnerable and have to ask for help all the time which is just not a skill I have mastered. I’ve become much more aware of all the places and spaces I go on a daily basis that are not accessible. Even just trying to get in and out of the bathroom at work last week was a struggle. Privilege often blinds us, and I feel more awake to the discrimination and accessibility barriers people with physical disabilities face on a daily basis in our modern ableist society. Time to make some art about it and challenge these systems of oppression. Okay, not quite yet, but definitely soon!

I feel much better after having 4 days off for Christmas but I’m starting to feel a little stressed about my Dead North film project. There is a lot to plan & coordinate for the shoot. I know I can do it- but I also know, I never know when to say no and not push myself to the point of exhaustion.

Hopefully my team will pull through and we will be able to create something amazing together even if I’m not feeling 100%. After all, time, rest & physiotherapy will heal my knee, but creativity will heal my soul. ❤

Happy Holidays Y’All. Hope you’ve had an excellent, rejuvenating break 2.

HJL

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

Not Fun-Knee!

I had my surgery consultation today and unfortunately my knee is even more screwed up than my doctor thought. I found out last week that the MRI showed a complete ACL tear, but the surgeon says there is more to it than that. I also have damage to my outer ligament and scuffing on the bone so he cannot do the ACL repair surgery here as my kneeds are too great! >.< Additional repairs must be done at the same time making the surgery a lot more complicated than they initially thought. Now I have been put on another wait list to get a consultation with a sports medicine surgeon who works out of UBC.

Keep your fingers crossed for me… I need my knee for roller derby! (among other things…)

radishderby

But seriously joining roller derby is hands down one of the best things I have done this past year. It was on my bucketlist even before I moved to Australia in 2012 and I am so happy I finally joined. The Yukon Roller Girls has been the most wonderful, welcoming and supportive league to do my fresh meat training, min skills test, and play in my first bout. I absolutely love the sport, the competitiveness it brings out of me, and the extended derby community. I just hate not being able to play. I was heartbroken to sit out the 1st YRG home bout in over 3 years, but glad I could at least film it.

I knew my knee was really messed up when I first injured it in June- and by the way: I DID NOT injure it during derby, it was during SOCCERkneeinjury

and FYI soccer and basketball are known to injure way more knees than roller derby ever will, so don’t believe what your mama tells you when she says roller derby is far too dangerous… Derby is good for the soul! Anyway I did everything the physiotherapist said to do and was off skates for three months. But when I was still experiencing weakness and pain all the way up my leg I decided to listen to my body for once and go back to the Doc.

The resident doctor I went to basically told me to suck it up and that there was nothing wrong. He said I didn’t need an MRI, so I had to get my physiotherapist to write a letter recommending the doctor to refer me for imaging. Thankfully that worked, but it was kind of annoying to say the least. I have had a few really frustrating experiences with doctors and I find they never really listen to me. Maybe because so many people use Dr. Google and are hypochondriacs, but I really think as patients we do know our bodies best so what we have to say about it shouldn’t just be dismissed. I actually have a really high pain tolerance (I think). Anyway for the last two months I have been going to the gym or swimming every single morning, and for the last month I’ve been back at derby. However, since the MRI results last week the Doctor has urged me to stop doing any contact until I get my custom knee brace ordered. If I do further damage to the other ligaments now my knee may not be fixable with surgery.

I get to order my custom knee brace tomorrow which will cost me $1,350 :O and if I can’t get in to see the specialist at UBC (which would only be partially covered by medical) my other option is the Cambie clinic in Vancouver but knee surgery there will likely cost me about $10,000.

So do me a favour, and if you have two good knees don’t take those little buggers forgranted.

Xox

Love & Gratitude,

Heidi J. Loos

aka Raging Radish