For much of his young adult life, Lee Cadwallader has spent his time on the streets of Ladysmith and Saltair with a small video camera in hand, capturing the world as he sees it and fulfilling a passion for making films.
After participating in an intensive two-week media program at the Gulf Islands Film and Television School (GIFTS) on Galiano Island, Cadwallader has had his first taste of success with an award for Outstanding Achievement in Adult Director’s Filmmaking.
Cadwallader’s short comedy film, Gravitational Shift, was screened May 14 at the 16th annual Eyelens Film, Video and Animation Festival on one of western Canada’s rare big screens.
Though he was not able to attend the festival, Cadwallader was thrilled to hear his film had won.
“I was pleased because I had worked on and helped with the other films that were nominated, and they were high calibre films,” he said.
“So the fact that someone thought that mine was the best one, I was pleased and proud of my work, and very proud of the people I worked with as well.”
Gravitational Shift is a three-minute long film that centers around a woman and man sitting at a park bench.
The woman is trying to convince the man that she controls gravity in the universe. Cadwallader hesitated to say if she was successful in that task.
“Let’s just say all of your questions will be answered at the end of the three minutes,” he quipped.
Cadwallader, 20, said he enjoyed his experiences at GIFTS, where he was run through the filmmaking process from start to finish by industry experts and Canadian movie filmmakers.
“I brainstormed, I wrote, I worked with other people, and I cast my actors in the roles from the other students in the program,” he said.
Prior to that, Cadwallader enjoyed a number of media courses during his high school years.
Since then, he has continued to do private films with his friends to gain experience.
“It’s probably been my major hobby focus since I got out of high school,” he said.
Born and raised in Saltair, Cadwallader says his upbringing has had an effect on the ‘quaintness’ of his films.
“Some of the stuff we’ve made is to entertain ourselves, but some of the stuff we’ve made and will continue to make in the future is similar to the film that won this award – short and thoughtful.”
He also plans to attend university but he is not sure whether he will pursue filmmaking or writing for film.
“I would enjoy doing it as a career, but it’s difficult to break into so I’m just playing it by ear,” he said. “I plan to make more films whether it be in my free time or professionally. I enjoy it.”
There were 123 GIFTS films entered into the festival during 2010.
The winning film in each of the 23 award categories was chosen from among five nominated entries and judged by industry pros.
Gravitational Shift will also be screened at high schools across the province during the 2011 Reels on Wheels Tour, which is a GIFTS’ travelling film festival and seminar.
To view the video online, visit www.youtube.com/watch?v=0qy5B-72Mac