2013 CIFF interviews short film directors of “Computer Potato” and “The Hunt”

Wednesday, 18 September, 2013

Here are two of my 2013 CIFF interviews with Alberta Spirit award nominated short film directors of “Computer Potato” and “The Hunt”.

“Computer Potato” director Todd Kipp interview

“The Hunt” director Spencer Estabrooks interview

Interview with CIFF documentary Bending Steel director Dave Carroll

Saturday, 7 September, 2013

The 2013 Calgary International Film Festival (CIFF), running September 19-29, just announced the moving documentary Bending Steel is having its Alberta premiere on Sept 20th & 21st (CIFF info & tickets purchase), a film that world-premiered at Tribeca, selected by Hotdocs and has received praises from The Hollywood Reporter, Indiewire, and Toronto Standard. Bending Steel‘s trailer is quite moving . It is a documentary “about an introverted man who decides he wants to become an old-time strongman.” Director Dave Carroll said, “The conflict in the film is when he tries to get out and perform in front of people, he is really up against some of his greatest fears, interactions with people and judgement, and it becomes quite a problem, something he has to overcome.

Bending Steel is Carroll’s documentary directorial debut funded out of his and award-winning producing partner Ryan Scafuro‘s own pockets with friends’ help and money from a $25,000 Kickstarter project. Carroll first met the documentary introverted subject Chris “Wonder” Schoeck when he and his dog heard a noise while doing laundry in the basement of the building he and Schoeck lived in and  that “startling” chance encounter lead to an idea for a short documentary which turned into a feature-length documentary project that spanned 2.5 years and generated 200+ hours of footage.

Have a watch of my interview with Bending Steel director Dave Carroll, which has made me want to watch Bending Steel even more. Carroll told me that Schoeck and producer Scafuro plan to attend CIFF so you may get to meet them.

I love the spirit contains this excerpt from Schoeck‘s “Why Bend?” blog entry (with emphasis added), “Always remember constant progress. Grab a tougher bar and push with everything you got. The bar may not go at first, but remember if it flexes it can be bent. Through time you will bend it. The struggle forces you to reach deep into your mind. Remember its all about the journey. Soon you pity those that have early success. They miss out on that journey.” Have a watch of Schoeck doing some cool steel scrolling! Love it!

Here is Bending Steel‘s short synopsis via CIFF,

“Introverted, middle-aged Chris Schoeck has lived in the New York City borough of Queens his entire life. He feels no sense of home or belonging—until he starts bending steel, transforming himself into an old-time strongman. Suddenly, his life changes.

Bending Steel follows Chris as he prepares for a major performance at Coney Island. As he trains Read the rest of this entry »

Eric Bricker Q&A and interview at 2011 CIFF – Visual Acoustics: The Modernism of Julius Shulman

Sunday, 25 September, 2011

Eric Bricker, Director/Producer Visual Acoustics, and me

“Case Study House #22 – Two Girls” by Julius Shulman (1960)“Case Study House #22” by Julius Shulman (1960)

I had a Skype video interview with Eric Bricker, director/producer of Visual Acoustics: The Modernism of Julius Shulman before I got a chance to watch the film and I thought I would love it. After my skype video, I signed out four books by or about Julis Shulman from the library! So after watching Visual Acoustics yesterday on big screen, I can now positively say I LOVE the film and highly recommend it. Check out Visual Acoustics’ trailer if you haven’t seen it. If you can’t see the film in a theatre on a big screen, Visual Acoustics is available in DVD and also in HD via Netflix.

Here is my interview with Eric at 2011 CIFF.

Here is some of Eric’s Q&A at 2011 CIFF. (note: I edited out some questions as some are already covered in my one-on-one interviews with Eric).

Eric Bricker - Visual Acoustics - Q&A

“Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum” by Julius Shulman (1964)

“Chemosphere House” by Julius Shulman (1960)

“Kaufman House” by Julius Shulman (1947)

“Julius Shulman and Richard Neutra” (1950)

Julius Shulman, from VISUAL ACOUSTICS

Julius Shulman, from VISUAL ACOUSTICS

David York, Director of Wiebo’s War interview and Q&A at Calgary International Film Festival 2011

Sunday, 25 September, 2011

David York - Wiebo's War

Wiebo’s War is one of the best documentaries I have seen this year at 2011 CIFF, I highly recommend it as it tells a great story. The film is especially relevant to Albertans as we thought we know a lot about Wiebo Ludwig from TV news but David York’s Wiebo’s War, with intimate access to Wiebo and his family over two years, will show you a lot more.

If you miss the CIFF screening, the film is opening in theatres on Oct 21st, 2011 in Calgary (The Plaza) and Edmonton (Metro). I hope you find the Q&A and my interview insightful to watch.

David York, Director of Wiebo’s War interview at Calgary International Film Festival

Q&A at 2011 Calgary International Film Festival

Here is Wiebo’s War (NFB synopsis and trailer),

This feature documentary focuses on Wiebo Ludwig, a suspect in a recent string of pipeline bombings. The bombings echo a campaign of sabotage he waged against the oil and gas industry in the 90s – barricading roads and blowing up wells. And when a 16-year-old girl was fatally shot on the family farm in 1999, Wiebo’s fight with the industry was thrust further into the media spotlight.

The Ludwig family are part of a Christian community that lives in close adherence to their religious values. The community is comprised of 5 married couples, 7 unmarried adult children and 38 grandchildren. They are self-sufficient in food and energy, but live in isolation and believe that those that don’t share their religious beliefs, like filmmaker David York, are living in terrible darkness.

David York - Wiebo's War - Q&A


Below Zero – World Premiere @ 2011 Calgary International Film Festival

Saturday, 24 September, 2011

Michael Berryman being interviewed

Below Zero world premiered at 2011 Calgary International Film Festival last night. Here are photo slideshow and a video.

Signe Olynyk (R) and Sadie MaduKristin Booth & Michael Berryman

Michael Berryman (L) & meMichael Berryman with fans

Sadie MaduKristin Booth & Michael Berryman

2011 Calgary International Film Festival recommended films

Friday, 23 September, 2011

2011 Calgary International Film Festival

My 2011 Calgary International Film Festival starts tonight. Here is a list of my recommendation. Have a great festival. As I said on FM94.7 this morning, CIFF is a great way to check out new films from around the world. Enjoy and have fun.

Friday, Sept 23rd

07:00pm Below Zero  (World Premiere with filmmakers in attendance, Plaza, also on Sat  Sept 24, 2pm)


(NOTE: Watch my video interview with Signe Olynyk, Writer/Producer of Below Zero)

09:15pm Happy Happy


Sat, Sept 24th

11:45am, Piano in a Factory


12:15pm Wiebo’s War (filmmaker in attendance)


2:15pm, Flowers of Evil


4:15pm, Visual Acoustics (with filmmaker in attendance)


(NOTE: Watch my video interview with Eric Bricker, director/producer of Visual Acoustics: The Modernism of Julius Shulman)

Sun, Sept 25

07:00pm Starbuck (Eau Claire)


09:00pm Restless (Eau Claire)


Mon, Sept 26

07:15pm A Legend of Whitey (The Plaza)


09:30pm Old Goats (The Plaza)


Wed, Sept 28

07:00pm Late Bloomers (Eau Claire)


10:00pm Sleeping Beauty  (Eau Claire)


Thu, Sept 29

5:15pm The Chocolate Farmer (with filmmaker in attendance)


Fri, Sept 30

7:00pm El Bulli: Cooking in Progress


09:45pm Karen Cries on a Bus (Karen llora en un bus) (Globe Downstairs)


Sat, Oct 1

4:30pm King of Devil’s Island (Kongen av Bastøy) (Globe)


7:00pm Take This Waltz


9:15pm Moon Point (Globe Downstairs)


Sun, Oct 2nd

12:00pm Becoming Santa (Eau Claire) (with filmmaker in attendance)


(NOTE: Watch my video interview with “Becoming Santa”‘s Santa/producer Jack Sanderson & director/producer Jeff Myers)

2:30pm, Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey


4:30pm Almanya – Welcome to Germany (Eau Claire)


7:00pm The Salt of Life (Eau Claire)


Becoming Santa – Jack Sanderson & Jeff Myers interview

Thursday, 22 September, 2011

Jack Sanderson in "Becoming Santa"

Have you wondered how does one become Santa in a shopping mall? Well, you will in the case of Jack Sanderson how did he “Becoming Santa” at the Calgary International film festival screening at Plaza Thu Sept 29, 7pm & Eau Claire Sun Oct 2, 12noon.

Director Jeff Meyers follows Jack Sanderson, an aspiring Santa trying to recapture the Christmas spirit after his parents’ passing. As Sanderson goes through his journey to becoming a mall Santa for a season, from bleaching his beard and hair to shopping for a custom suit, attending Santa school, and learning the tricks of the trade …

Here is my “Becoming Santa” interview with Jack Sanderson & Jeff Myers. I am very much looking forward to watching the film and meeting Jack Sanderson with reindeer and other Santas in the Calgary screening!

Becoming Santa full film synopsis from CIFF,

Jack Sanderson in Attendance!

It’s not quite the Red Mile, but you may just see a different type of red jersey scattered throughout the theatre for BECOMING SANTA. Winner of the audience award at this year’s SXSW film festival, this Yuletide doc will get everyone in the holiday spirit a little early this year.

Director Jeff Meyers follows Jack Sanderson, an aspiring Santa trying to recapture the Christmas spirit after his parents’ passing. As Sanderson goes through his journey to becoming a mall Santa for a season, from bleaching his beard and hair to shopping for a custom suit, attending Santa school, and learning the tricks of the trade, Meyers discovers that the task is harder than anyone would expect, and involves a personal, physical and emotional transformation that few of us are aware of. BECOMING SANTA features a number of interviews with professional Santas and Santa aficionados (including Calgary’s very own instructor and Santa agent Jennifer Andrews from the Victor Nevada Santa School), along with historians who provide a fascinating history of Santa Claus in America.

Warning: This documentary may contain some unwelcome surprises for young children.

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