Category Archives: Sunflower Hour
Published May 31, 2012 on Vancouver is Awesome
Live-tweets turned out to be the best thing about last weekend’s Leo Awards celebrating the best of B.C.-made film and television. Tweets from @LeoAwards gave an award-by-award account plus details of all the hijinks in between at both the Celebration and Gala Awards: hijinks that ranged from Property Brothers Drew and Jonathan Scott mock-fighting over their award to Gala co-hosts Amanda Tapping and Robin Dunne calling each other evil twin and English MILF to Nancy Robertson and Ryan Robbins pitching a new comedy series to Emilie Ullerup re-enacting Angelina Jolie’s notorious one-leg Oscars pose to acting legend Gabrille Rose swearing on stage while presenting the final award to Sisters & Brothers for Best Feature Film.
It was a great way to let the public share in this celebration of artistic talent after a tough week, which had started with the official cancellation of homegrown sci-fi series Sanctuary, the most-recognized B.C. production by far with 18 Leo nominations going in. Sanctuary ended up winning four Leos for its fourth and final season, but only one on the night of the gala for a guest performance by Arctic Air’s Pascale Hutton, who sang beautifully and turned her head right around in the Glee-meets-The-Exorcist episode Fuge.
I’d hoped for a repeat of last year’s wild times on the red carpet outside the Hotel Vancouver on West Georgia Street, but organizers moved the red carpet inside the hotel this year to the conference floor and restricted access. Most of the nominees kept the party going after the red carpet to take a turn at the new Media Wall by the bar where I had a spot, but it was so dimly-lit I had to jack some light from the pro-photographers’ flashes. Here’s The Express’s Johanna Ward interviewing nominee and eventual winner Johannah Newmarch on the red carpet about her supporting performance in mockumentary Sunflower Hour. Ward later dropped by the Media Wall to wrangle nominees Ali Liebert from Bomb Girls and Emilie Ullerup from Arctic Air as a backdrop to her standup.
You can see the start of Emilie Ullerup’s one-leg Angelina homage and how the popular Cassini brothers photo-bombed the arrangement. That’s Frank on the left and John on the right. Frank Cassini later won a roar from the crowd and a Leo for his supporting performance on
When I caught up with nominee Patrick Gilmore’s tweets on Saturday ahead of the Leo Awards gala , I knew I wanted to do a short post about him primping and prepping for his big night. Like his wickedly-funny lead role in puppets and porn mockumentary Sunflower Hour, this read like a debauched twist on the traditional celeb diary:
9:46am – First task today is to lay out my lucky underwear. Granted I get more lucky when I don’t wear underwear, I’m hedging my bets. #Leos [He attached a photo of rows of swim wear/briefs? hanging on racks]
For the first time in a long time, I have seen four of the feature films nominated for Leo Awards on the big screen, thanks to a Vancouver International Film Festival pass from Vancouver is Awesome dot com.
As expected, Carl Bessai’s Sisters & Brothers, the third in his trilogy about dysfunctional Vancouver families, leads the feature film nominations with twelve in total. How could it not with local talent like Corner Gas’s Gabrielle Miller and Benjaman Ratner as sister and brother; Intelligence’s Camille Sullivan and Amanda Crew as half-sisters on a road trip to L.A. with a sleezy hustler played by Tom Scholte; and The Killing’s Kacey Rohl and Leena Manro as another pair of half-sisters, whose mother is none other than local acting legend Gabrielle Rose? All eight of these B.C. actors are nominated either for lead or supporting performances in the film.
Sisters & Brothers also picked up a nomination for Carl Bessai’s directing,
Hamlet, a film I don’t know much about, garnered eight nominations as did Marilyn, which premiered at the Whistler Film Festival and picked up a leading performance nomination for Ryan Robbins (whose castmates from the upcoming second season of Falling Skies travelled up to see the screening with him).
Next in the nominations ranking is the wicked puppet and porn mockumentary Sunflower Hour, which got seven nominations but not one for best feature. I don’t understand that but there has always been a preference for serious drama when it comes to awards. Hopefully all the funny won’t hurt the chances of Patrick Gilmore, nominated for his lead performance as Leslie Handover, a performance which made me laugh from the poster below to the end credits.
Peter New picked up a supporting performance nomination for Sunflower Hour and director Aaron Houston one for writing such a filthy-funny script.
Published September 29, 2011 on Vancouver is Awesome
It’s not often in this series that I get an opportunity to talk about movies where Vancouver plays itself but the Vancouver International Film Festival is showcasing 17 locally-filmed features in theatres over the next two weeks.
Four of the most-buzzed-about are Sisters & Brothers, the third in Carl Bessai’s trilogy about dysfunctional Vancouver families with real-life friends Cory Monteith and Dustin Milligan as brothers ; mockumentary Sunflower Hour about maladjusted puppeteers vying for a spot on a hit children’s show featuring real-life pals Patrick Gilmore and Ben Cotton; dramedy Everything & Everyone about a group of family and friends with Ryan Robbins’s naked torso in the teaser; and Donovan’s Echo with Danny Glover as a man who returns to his family home 30 years after a tragic accident in a movie produced by veteran Canadian actor Bruce Greenwood.
I met and chatted with some of the filmmakers and cast earlier this month at a VIFF media conference but didn’t get to see any of the filming here, mostly because the low budgets meant shooting is done mainly on weekends with a limited crew. The Sunflower Hour writer/producer/director Aaron Houston told me it took eight weekends, sixteen days of filming, seventeen locations and thirty-four actors to make his caustic and reportedly very funny mockumentary. Eveything & Everyone took only 12 days in Maple Ridge and Alouette Lake; and Donovan’s Echo filmed last November in Fort Langley. So I’ve made an exception in this series and used the VIFF handouts below to illustrate the films not my own photographs. From top to bottom: bearded Dustin Milligan and Cory Monteith as brothers in Sisters & Brothers; bad-ass Irish puppeteer Ben Cotton and his smoking puppet in Sunflower Hour; Gabrielle Rose and her newly-discovered grandson in Everything & Everyone; and Danny Glover in spooky blue on a bridge in Donovan’s Echo.
Low budgets don’t have to limit these films when it comes to promotion though. Vancouver filmmakers are as savvy about social media as anyone in this city. The Sunflower Hour and Donovan’s Echo boast websites, YouTube trailers, facebook pages and Twitter accounts. Everything & Everyone has a teaser on You Tube and a facebook page. Sisters & Brothers has a facebook page and currently rules Twitter thanks to Glee star Cory Monteith’s 800,000+ Gleek followers. Almost everyone involved in that film has a Twitter account including @SisBroFilm and director @CarlBessai.
Sisters & Brothers, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 11th,