BC's Best Shorts

VSFF 2009 Panel

Canada has a rich history in dynamic short films, from the NFB to the CFC to the mavericks who do it themselves on their own dime.  Join this panel discussion with some of Vancouver's most adventurous short filmmakers to find out how they broke out of the mould to craft their own successful short films. Moderated by Kellie Ann Benz, Writer/Director of Awkward and blogger for The Shorts Report.

Kellie Ann Benz

Kellie

Moderator

Writers Guild of Canada Screenwriting Award Winner and Leo nominated, Vancouver based writer/director Kellie Ann Benz began her writing career in 1994 when she optioned her first screenplay to Cambridge Films. This opened up the doors for funding from BC Film for a feature script entitled Celia.

In 1996, Kellie Ann wrote a script for a short film entitled The Second Coming and became a director, quite by accident, and a producer, quite by necessity, when she brought the script to life on 16mm film. The Second Coming went on to screen at festivals in London, Austria, France, Ohio and Toronto.  In 1999, Kellie Ann won a Telefilm Canada/Director’s Guild of Canada Kickstart grant to write, direct and produce another short film entitled Cinderella; Single Again, which premiered at the 2001 Vancouver International Film Festival.

Kellie Ann was co-commissioned in 1999 to create a television series for the Comedy Network, which led to the development of three series, which aired from 1999-2001. The last of those projects, ‘Rockpoint PD’ garnered Kellie Ann and her cast and crew a number of Leo nominations.

Since 2001, Kellie Ann has worked steadily writing feature film scripts. The Wedding Guy, How to Break Up With Your Mother & Driving Dad Home are just some of the comedy screenplays Kellie Ann has developed. In 2007, Kellie’s only drama script – the 17th century British based period piece entitled ‘Celia’ – was optioned to Somnapix of Vancouver and Los Angeles.

In the summer of 2007, a feature script Kellie co-wrote for Amaze Film and Television went to camera. Finn on the Fly arrives in theatres in 2009.  Her third short film, Awkward premiered at the Montreal World Film Festival in August of 2008 and has since been officially selected into many short film festivals around the world including Canada’s most important short film festival, the CFC Toronto Worldwide Short Film Festival. In April of 2009, Kellie Ann was awarded the Writers Guild of Canada Screenwriting Award for Awkward.

Kellie Ann is represented by The Jennifer Hollyer Agency in Toronto.

Kris Elgstrand

Kris
Panelist

Kris’ work as a screenwriter and co-producer includes The Cabin Movie (TIFF 2005), Man Feel Pain (Winner BravoFACT Short Cuts Canada Award, TIFF 2004), for which he won the Leo Award for Screenwriting, and Big Head, which just premiered at this year's Toronto International Film Festival. His first short as a writer/director, Love Seat, premiered at TIFF in 2006 and went on to win Best Short at the Whistler Film Festival. His follow-up short, In Her Ear, premiered in 2007. His feature film script, The Job, an adaptation of his stage play of the same name, is currently being developed by The Whatever Institute. Kris is also currently working on several new short films as both a writer and as a director.

Andrew Williamson

Andrew
Panelist

Andrew has produced over 40 short films and recently directed the short eco-comedy The Green Film, which is currently on the festival circuit.  Crazy8s was founded by Andrew in 1999 and Crazy8s films have played festivals and on televisions around the world as well as winning numerous awards. Man Feel Pain won Best Short Film in 2004 at the Toronto International Film Festival, Crazy Late garnered Zack Lipovsky a top five spot on Steven Spielberg’s On The Lot, and the Crazy8s library is now distributed worldwide by Ouat! Media.

Andrew directed and produced Sea for Shavick Entertainment and produced the Telefilm feature Sk8 Life for Travesty Productions, which screened at the Sundance Film Festival in 2007.  He works with Keatley Entertainment as Director of Development. He is developing his second feature as a director, Our Daily Bread, and is producing Red Coat Justice with Travesty Productions, which shot in the Yukon this summer.