Wednesday, January 2, 2013

2012 in review

In 2012, I woke up to a snowstorm at Sundance and rose to a thunderstorm in Sierra Leone.

My short film, Little Mao, premiered at the TIFF Lightbox and screened at the Facets cinema in Chicago.

I worked on The Beatles Live! Project and helped cover the final Canadian Auto Workers' conference.

I met Irvine Welsh, Danny Glover, Ken Burns and David Chase.

I spoke at TIFF and the CMPA Conference.

I pitched Leone Stars at the Hot Docs Forum.

I visited Chess Records in Chicago and a week later stood before Abbey Road in London.

I saw the sun rise over the Atlantic.

That was 2012.

January: Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah.  With Leone Stars co-director Ngardy Conteh.  We were both invited to Sundance as Sundance Documentary Fellows to attend workshops and networking meetings.

March: Above: In Ottawa to speak about crowdfunding for Leone Stars on a panel at the Canadian Media Producers Association Conference, Prime Time.  Right: The Bloor Cinema re-opens.

April:  My short film, Little Mao, receives its world premiere at TIFF Kids at the TIFF Bell Lightbox.  Three of the four screenings sell-out, and at one nine cast members appear with their families. Actors take part in post-screening Q&As with audiences. (Group photo by Mira Dimovski Budd)

May: With co-director Ngardy Conteh pitching Leone Stars before international broadcasters at the Hot Docs Forum, only one of four Canadian teams chosen to present.  (Photo by Joseph Michael)
May:  Top: Attending Mark Dillon's (right) launch of his book, 50 Sides of The Beach Boys at the Gladstone Hotel.  Contributor Randy Bachman (center) is recalling touring with the Beach Boys back in the day.  Bottom: The world premiere of Ecstacy at NXNE, The Royal Cinema, with author Irvine Welsh and director Rob Heydon.

July:  Canadians remember the Chinese railroad workers of a century ago on Canada Day.  Wreaths were laid at a memorial just outside the SkyDome.
Summer: I was a researcher on the multiplatform project, The Beatles Live! Project which is compiling fans' homemade movies of The Fab Four's concert tours of 1963-66.  Produced in cooperation with The Beatles' Apple Corp.

August: Part of a crew streaming the Canadian Auto Workers' conference where delegates voted to create a new super union, Communications, Energy and Paperworkers union (CEP). That is former CAW chief Buzz Hargrove on the monitors at the conference at the Sheraton Centre.  Streaming crew was headed by Lisa Santonato.

August:  Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band blow away Toronto at the SkyDome.
September:  Little Mao plays Cinefest Subury.  (Thanks to Marsha Cummings' family for hosting me up there.)

October:  I programmed the Industry Series of panels and networking events for the Planet In Focus Environmental Film FestivalTicket sales rose this year across the board.  The fest took place at the TIFF Bell Lightbox.  Below is the sold-out Networking Lounge which paired filmmakers with funders.

October:  Little Mao plays the Chicago International Children's Film Festival at the renown Facets cinema.  Allan meets fellow filmmakers Julio and Leslie Cabrera (two photos above) and Caru Alves de Souza (immediately above).  The bottom was taken at The Bean by Julio. (Great image.)

October: At 2120 South Michigan Avenue, Chess Records. home of the Chicago Blues...
....a week later, standing outside Abbey Road Studios in London, where The Beatles recorded their music.

 November:  Days after screening Little Mao in Chicago I joined Ngardy in Sierra Leone to finish filming our documentary, Leone StarsCinematographer Colin Akoon and our fixer Hash Magona.

Top photo: Bornor Kabo running through the streets of Freetown as Colin films him from the back of a moving vehicle.  Second: Practicing on Aberdeen Beach at sunset.  Third: Colin panning across Freetown just seconds before a cloudburst drenches us.  Bottom: My view of the Atlantic Ocean every morning.

November: Grey Cup champions, The Toronto Argonauts, give Torontonians something to cheer about during a hockey strike.


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