Queen of Clubs Now Online

QUEEN OF CLUBS

Last week was another busy week as I attended both the Female Eye Film Festival, and Breakthroughs Film Festival. Both events were huge successes… on Friday night, my short film Queen of Clubs played to a sold out crowd before the feature film Beat Down by director Deanne Foley. Beat Down drew a crowd and rightfully so – it’s a hilarious film about an eighteen year old girl who only wants to wrestle like her dad once did – but he’s doing everything he can to stop her from getting sucked into that world. It was an honor to screen before this film and alongside two other really great short films – Bill, Please! and Lady Bare Knuckles. It was a solid program overall.

On Saturday night I was at the inaugural Breakthroughs Film Festival, hosted by Octavia Films. They are a new not-for-profit in Toronto and focus on fostering female filmmakers under age 30. 12 short films, including my film BODYMAX screened that night, and they were all very strong. It was also great to see such a variety of genres and styles.

So, because it’s now done it’s festival run, I’m officially releasing Queen of Clubs online. We made this film in spring 2011 as part of the 24-hour Toronto Film Challenge.
I apologize for the long wait, but finally I can share it with you, an online audience!

If you haven’t already seen it, also check out BODYMAX which recently won first place at the 48-hour Toronto Film Challenge just recently.

Finally, a big thank you to both festivals for screening my films! Hosting a film festival of any size is no small feat, and it’s great to know there is so much support out there. I hope to do it again next year!

BODYMAX

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Screenings This Week!

Queen of Clubs TEASER from Christine Buijs on Vimeo.

Just a quick post for now – I’m about to head off and register for the Female Eye Film Festival which kicks off today in Toronto. Later this week one of my films will be screening and this is officially my first time in a film fest!

The Female Eye film fest celebrates films created by – yup you guessed it – female filmmakers. There are also lots of free panels. More info is on their website:

www.femaleeyefilmfestival.com

And in some interesting timing, the Breakthroughs Film Fest, which features short films directed by women under 30, is happening Saturday night! There really aren’t enough initiatives for women in this category who are emerging and building experience, so kudos to the Breakthroughs team for the work they’re doing.

I’d love it if you could come out and support me, and other young female filmmakers and check out the screenings! Here is all the info:

QUEEN OF CLUBS screening as part of the
CANADIAN FEATURE PRESENTATION
FEMALE EYE FILM FESTIVAL
FRIDAY JUNE 22nd

6:30pm – 8:30pm
Carlton Cinema
20 Carlton Street at Yonge
Tickets $10 at the door
Festival link: http://www.femaleeyefilmfestival.com/program-events/feff-program-2012/

BODYMAX screening as part of the
BREAKTHROUGHS FILM FESTIVAL

SATURDAY JUNE 23rd
7:30-11pm
The Projection Booth
1035 Gerrard Street East
Tickets $15 at the door
Our film will be in competition so it’s up for awards!
Festival link: http://www.octaviafilms.com/breakthroughs/

BODYMAX

Finally, one last plug – this week I saw an amazing theatre production called The Loyalists put on by my friends over at Single Thread Theatre Company. Based on the War of 1812, audience members not only watch but actually participate in a story where the town of York (Toronto) has been occupied by American troops, and attempt to resist the occupation and take back their land. This production is unlike your usual sit in a theatre and watch show… you get to actually participate and are given tasks and can roam around and take in one of many possible storylines. It’s the type of show you can see more than once, and has been getting great reviews from audience members and critics. Check it out while you still have the chance – it will be an experience to remember. It closes Friday night. Tickets and info are on the Single Thread website:

www.singlethread.ca

The Worldwide Short Film Fest and I: Goin’ Steady

Opening night

Jean-Marc Vallee Master Class

Well, it’s that time of year… summer has started, and the Worldwide Short Film Fest was hosted last week from June 5-10 here in Toronto. Last year I attended for the first time, took in as many screenings and symposium events as I could with my do-it-all combo pass, and came away inspired and encouraged. I had a great time so it only made sense to do it again!

Wow… what a fantastic event. My last five days have been jam packed with symposium events, screenings, and parties. I am exhausted today but it’s all been well worth it!

This year was a bit different, because I got to actually participate in the festival because my short film script was accepted into the Working Lab. I submitted to this in early May and just got the notice on May 18th that my script had been selected, and I was really excited. Along with two other writers, we sat down with industry mentor John Galway from the Harold Greenburg fund, and gave each other feedback. This was hugely valuable for me for many reasons… because I’ve been so busy with shooting and directing, I haven’t had many outlets lately for writing, so it was nice to just focus on the writing for once. It’s also always a great idea to test your script with actors or writers so that any holes or issues can be figured out before you spend lots of money on getting it made! I got lots of valuable feedback and also some inspiration and advice as far as getting it made, which is my next step.

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News Update + AEYIOU Shoot

I’m way overdue for a blog update – I think I need to hire a monkey to read my thoughts and write them down! Lots has been going on since my last post, and while I’ve had a few things I want to write about, sometimes when you get slammed it’s hard to find the time to post!

So, let’s start with a quick news update:

-Took a trip to Costa Rica for two weeks end of Feb/beginning of March. Mostly vacation, but of course took my camera along and shot a tonne of photos and had a tonne of fun! Had my first crack at wildlife photography, and lots of beautiful landscape opportunities as well. Rather than post a few photos here, you can check out my gallery of faves HERE
(Note: for those curious, prints and digital copies of these photos are available for sale)
Got me curious about bird photography as it’s tricky, and researched what kind of lenses are used by serious bird photographers!

-Got to check out the performance of Campbell House put on by my lovely friends at Single Thread Theatre Company – it was fantastic and a beautiful production and location as usual. Never before has Canadian History been so entertaining!

-Shot day 4 of 5 on a new music video I’ve been DPing, for a song called AEYIOU by the band INTF. It’s a remake of the original 80′s song, AEIOU (which is pretty hilarious by the way). We turned the basement of a house into a Club Scene with extras and the like. My job was to take this space and light it to give it that club feel – with limited equipment. I’m very proud of the results and very excited for the finished product – this video is shaping up to be a great one. Also made use of the Steadicam again. See behind the scenes pics below!

-Have been prepping for the upcoming Toronto Film Challenge this weekend – in which me and 9 other teammates will write, shoot, edit and deliver a short film, all within 48 hours. It will be an intense but fun weekend and I will of course do a separate post on that as soon as it’s done!

-And…. to go along with that last bit of news, I will be doing my first ever test shoot on the Canon C300 this weekend! I am very, very excited to finally use the camera I have been drooling over for months now… and get a chance to really see how it works in a pressured situation. So of course I will also share my impressions and reactions on working with this camera.

So this time… expect another update soon … see you out the other side!

Canon C300 test for our shoot this weekend

Canon C300 Test for our shoot this weekend!

Canon C300: First Impressions + TIFF Lightbox Event

Well, tonight I finally got to hold it in my hands and try it out. This evening, Canon had its official launch of the new Canon C300, along with the new 1DX, at the TIFF Lightbox. I spent a few minutes looking it over and getting a feel for all the buttons and menus and form factor, and I could definitely see myself getting used to this camera. Ergonomically, it’s a real departure from traditional cinema cameras (which modern models like the Panavision Genesis, Arri Alexa, and RED all emulate) and feels more like a digital Hasselblad from the stills world. For those of us coming from a photography background, this is actually a pretty nice and familiar feel. Just picking it up and holding it in my hands, with no rig or anything, felt nice and comfortable and I could easily see myself getting handheld shots.

I love the fact that you can build this camera up or strip it down, depending on your needs. With the XLR inputs and monitor removed, it’s quite a small package. I really favor small, portable and efficient setups with minimal muss and fuss, and I think almost everything on this camera is geared to fit that bill.

So: first off, great form factor, and nice and small and light (for what it does), better for shooting handheld video than with a DSLR.

Secondly, the low light performance. I know, this is Canon’s forte, and much has been written about it with regards to this camera. But I have to say, it was the first time I was seeing footage shot at 6400, 10,000, 16,000 ISO on large HD screens and in the Lightbox theatre, and I was truly blown away. I needed this camera on Monday, when I was shooting with a Steadicam rig in the basement of Campbell House, my actors lit mainly by candlelight. The panel of filmmakers who later spoke attested that you could easily shoot up to 10,000 ISO with a very clean image with this camera. That’s pretty incredible. There will be less of a need for big lighting setups and we’ll be even more able to work with available and dim light than we have before. The grain was visible in the demo shots taken at 16,000 ISO but it certainly did look very filmic and not your typical digital noise – it looked like stuff shot on a high end 35mm camera. Vincent Laforet was on hand and described some of the techniques behind making his short “Mobius” and basically said they shot everything in the desert (a very high contrast scene) with almost entirely natural light, and no fill. The camera was able to capture detail all the way from extreme highlights to deep shadows in these scenes.

Thirdly, the workflow. This isn’t something I’d really thought about as a major plus to this camera, and as I haven’t officially shot my own projects with the RED, Alexa, or F3 yet (although I’d like to) – I can certainly imagine the amount of computing power you would need to process 4k RAW footage. I’ve also run into problems with other cameras having their own proprietary cards and needing drivers in order to download and work with the footage – very annoying and time consuming. The costs of maintaining that kind of editing suite could also definitely add up. The filmmakers praised the C300 for the ease of use of the footage – and this is also a pretty important factor to me. Basically, it’s a codec that can be simply downloaded off of CF cards and can be imported straight into your editing suite and worked on right away on a decent home computer – no need for a high end suite and no converting to Pro Res. Canon states this footage should work with all current editing suites out there right now. When on a tight deadline (and budget) this is super important. I actually believe that all cameras should work this way – download and away you go – but that definitely hasn’t been the reality for the film industry for the past few years. So, the apparent ease of workflow from download to edit, sounds pretty great.

Finally, Canon has addressed all the major issues that many DSLR shooters have complained about – rolling shutter and moire are gone, there are manual audio controls and XLR inputs, HD/SDI outputs so you don’t have to deal with the pain that is HDMI when outputting to a monitor on set, and time code sync options. There’s even a built in intervalometer (no need to go buy a separate one), and when paired with the Wi-Fi transmitter, you can apparently view SD footage and control the camera settings from an iPad. Super cool. It’s not yet there to my wish of broadcasting an HD signal wirelessly for monitoring (I HATE cables on set!) but it’s definitely one step closer.

The evening featured a few hours to walk around and try out the C300 and see it set up in various rigs (stripped down to its bare essentials, in a studio setup with rods, follow focus, matte box and zoom control, and on a jib). And then, some keynote speeches from Alex Buono, the DP for Saturday Night Live, Vincent Laforet, and local shooters Paul Steinberg and Nigel Akam. Alex gave a pretty great explanation of how people obsess over high resolution 4k cameras, but give little consideration to how colour and luminance are also an important part of image quality. While this was all new (and valuable!) information to me, I can definitely see how people obsess over high resolution and can neglect other factors – this has been the case in the stills photography industry for years. The biggest criticism this camera has gotten is for not shooting 4k, but to be truthful what I care about is how great the image looks on a big screen – and the image certainly did look great on a big screen – both slo mo and regular shots.

Laforet’s insights into working with the camera on Mobius were great (Hey Vincent, where can I get one of those remote controlled helicopters??) and it was refreshing to see a female DP’s testimonials. It was also really nice to have local cinematographers Nigel and Paul there – and they were able to offer up some comparisons between their own cameras (a Sony F3 and RED respectively). It was also nice to see some footage that actually featured Toronto.

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