How to make a Film for the Hundred Dollar Film Festival – Part 2

Weekend in CalgaryIn the next few posts, I will look at how I made some of my films for the festival. In later posts, I will summarise what I learnt from those experiences and suggest how you can make a film.

I made Weekend in Calgary for the first Hundred Dollar Film Festival in 1992. This was a film that kind of just happened. I wanted to have a film in the first festival, but I was stuck for an idea.

One of the Super 8 cameras the CSIF had an Intervalometer. That is, it could be set to take a picture at intervals of 5 or 10 seconds. Out of curiosity, I wanted to try it out. At the time, I did not intend that this would become a finished film.

One Sunday, I set up the camera in my car and drove out to Lake Louise and back. Because of the length of the trip, I used up a bit more than half of a roll on the way out, so I switched to another roll for the trip back. I had to finish off both rolls later before I could get them processed.

At noon the next Monday, I went for a walk during my lunch break and ended up at Olympic Plaza where a local band was playing. For one of their original tunes, they had lifted a guitar riff from Pipeline by the Chantays. Pipeline was one of my favourite tunes from my childhood days. As I listened to the music I thought that Pipeline could work well with the film I’d just shot.

At the time, I knew many people in Calgary who, after a hard week at work, would rush out to Banff to “relax”, then rush back to work. I thought it was an odd thing to do, but it reflected the “go go” attitude that many people had at the time. That led to the title of the film. Now, with a point to make and music to go with it, I thought I had a film.

There were a few more hurtles before I was done. First, I would need sound and I had shot on silent film. My solution was primitive. I cut the two sections of the film together. Then, I used a sound camera to shoot the projected image. That proved to be a little trickier to do that I thought, but eventually I was happy with what I had.

I dubbed Pipeline onto the magnetic stripe. The film went on to win the award for consistent vision in the festival. Although we only screened the film a few times, years later people would still talk to me about it.

Years later, after I found out what it would cost to get the rights to use the music, I asked James Reckseidler to do a new tune for me. If I had to pay money for music, I’d rather pay a local filmmaker than a faceless corporation. I used his music for the version of the film I posted on YouTube.

In my next post, I will look at Who Shot the President, the film I made for the third festival in 1994.

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