Congratulations to our rising star, actor Karim Fahmy, on his Joey Award win for 'Best Actor in a TV Series' for his role of 'Urchin' in "Prison Break."
Fabulous article in the Jewish Independent about our rising star, actor & philanthropist, Aiden Cumming-Teicher:
"A simple story with a great ending and an amazing song to accompany the film that fits like a wedding ring." ~ Darren Wiesner, Hollywood North Magazine
Turns out sometimes your suspect is right beside you.
THE STAKEOUT has been accepted into the Whistler Film Festival to be part of the Canadian Short Work Competition, and it was announced today that the film has been nominated for BEST FEMALE DIRECTED SHORT. With award-winning director Jax Smith at the helm, the film was written and produced by LEO Award-nominee Briana Rayner, who also stars along with actor and improviser Lee White. The story follows two small-town cops who get sent on a mysterious stakeout. Rayner and Smith first met at a ‘Women in Film’ event several years ago and bonded over their mutual “love of story.”
Upon reading the script, Smith says that she immediately fell for the two unconventional leads and the story of a family’s second beginning; additionally Rayner’s “clever reversal of genre also added to its appeal.” Smith goes on to say that THE STAKEOUT “explores a deeply relatable uncertainty about moving forward and releasing past hurt in order to embrace new chances for happiness," and that "It was a privilege to direct this thoughtful short film.”
"[...] the majority of it takes place in a car sitting beside her police officer partner. The acting is impeccable and the chemistry is lab coat worthy. I actually felt better about life after watching it." ~ Darren Wiesner, Hollywood North Magazine http://hnmag.ca/interview/exclusive-the-stakeout/
Rayner wrote THE STAKEOUT while pregnant and visiting her husband in Prague, where he was working. She expands on her motivation for making the film, "I had been acting for a few years, and improvising much longer. Happy, yet terrified about what having a child would mean for my life and career, I chose to empower myself as much as I could. I wrote the film to act in while looking tired and a ‘lil plump; that I could shoot in two short days with my baby on set; that I could fund myself and feed my creative side while also learning about the intricacies of being a parent.”
Whistler Film Festival: http://www.whistlerfilmfestival.com
The idea for the story came to Rayner in her sleep on that “restless” flight to Prague, and she "scribbled" it down as soon as she awoke. She cast the same scene partner from her dream, her friend and improviser Lee White, and supported her producing journey by signing up for the 'Artist in Residence in Motherhood' program online. "There is, in fact, one close-up where I am nursing my baby out of frame," Rayner explains, "a lot of people told me how my life would change with a child, often with phrases full of limitations and impossibilities, almost always putting a cap on potential and excluding joy. Those kinds of people might have been trying to protect me by lowering my expectations, but they can go f*ck themselves.”
Smith elaborates on her direction of the film, “Taking great care in regards to art direction and framing, I strove to first lead the audience down a path almost neo-noir, Fargo-esque in its nature, only to land them in the warmth of a colour palette reminiscent of Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom. Inspired by cinematographer Shane Hurlbut and director John Stockwell’s ‘Over the Shoulder’ framing in Crazy/Beautiful, I plotted an increasingly claustrophobic composition as a way to stylistically support the leads’ growing intimacy over the course of the film.”
The filmmakers initially struggled to find the right music for the film. They wanted one piece that would work throughout, “ideally something with fitting lyrics that could be played over the credits, and music that could be used to underscore scenes.” Then, during one evening of searching song banks, Smith shared the song she had co-written years earlier with Jason Poulsen, "All Better Now," and found it to be a perfect fit.
About Briana Rayner
Briana Rayner is an improviser, actor, voice artist, and classic typewriter enthusiast. She’s the Co-Artistic Director at THE INSTANT THEATRE CO, the taller half of the improv duo VIRGINIA JACK, and a regular at Vancouver’s QUEERPROV show. Recent credits include The Flash, The Girl’s Guide, and the short films Stakeout, Mental and Resonance. She won Best Actress in a Short Film (Macabre Film Festival) and a nomination for a Leo Award for her work in BRUISED. Briana spent five years as a dedicated clown-doctor in a long-term care facility telling purposefully bad jokes, singing songs, and tripping over her feet. In her spare time, she likes to bake and watch shark attack videos.
About Jax Smith
Jax Smith is half of Vancouver writing duo, M&J. She is the creator of the TV series, DEFECT. In 2016, Jax directed two short films, THE STAKEOUT and MENTAL (*BravoFACT recipient & winner of ‘Achievement in Filmmaking Short Form’ at the Covellite International Film Festival). Previously she directed projects for First Star, World Wildlife Fund and The Projecting Change Film Festival. Her work has been showcased on CBS, The Knowledge Network, Urban Rush and featured in The Vancouver Sun and The Province.
About Lee White
Half of the acclaimed improv duo CRUMBS from Winnipeg/Canada, Lee White has been performing and teaching improv (almost) all his life. Touring with shows and workshops all over Europe, in Asia, New Zealand and North-America, CRUMBS have performed with improvisers all over the world. Aside from the famous CRUMBS longform improv, Lee has been involved in the birth of several new formats such as "The Big Smart Improv Show" and the "Dungeons and Dragons Improv Show," both being Fringe hits in Canada, and "Knowledge or Punishment," the "Improv/Game Show," a hit on both sides of the ocean. He is currently touring Europe twice a year with different projects, namely “No Exit“ with French colleagues Marko Mayerl and Matthieu Loos, as “CRUMBS Garage“ with René Dellefont (Atlanta) and as “Paradigm“ together with Joe Bill (Chicago). Lee lives in Berlin.
Directed by Jax Smith
Written & Produced by Briana Rayner
Cinematography & Editing by William Minsky
Music Composed by Jason Poulsen & Jax Smith
Poster: Devin Karringten
Photos: Anaïsa Visser
M&J's (Meeshelle Neal & Jax Smith) film MENTAL premiered at the 2017 International Covellite Film Festival in September, where it won the award for 'Achievement in Filmmaking, Best Short Form'. Directed by Jax Smith, MENTAL was written and produced by Meeshelle Neal, who also stars in the film. The duo received a BravoFact Award for the film as well. MENTAL has not only dramatically brought the subject of mental health to the screen, but has been a catalyst for candid discussion among audiences.
"A dark concept brought to life in a short film through magical visuals," ~ Nick Wangersky, Hollywood North Magazine
MENTAL tells the story of Alicia, who sees reality through a dreamlike lens of externalized psychotic episodes. Caught in a loop of depression and anxiety she uses prescription drugs to numb herself. Unable to discern what is real and what is imaginary, she finally gives into her inner voice’s advice and embraces her biggest fear. Sometimes the only way out is through.
“It’s a pretty intense short film and not for the faint of heart,” - NSI
All the film's interiors were shot at Beatty Street Studios in Vancouver, after the filmmakers lost their original location just two weeks before filming.
IMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt6723160/?ref_=nm_flmg_act_1
M&J write full-time on their own projects, and have shadowed showrunner Simon Barry (CONTINUUM, VAN HELSING) in the writing room as well as on set. They are also mentored by Gillian Horvath (BEAUTY & THE BEAST, PRIMEVAL: NEW WORLD) and have been hired to write features, shorts, and treatments. They have a TV series, HEARTMATTER, in development with Liz Levine at Random Bench Productions.
M&J consult with various writers, run Creative Services for Jeb Beach & Associates, and have had an active blog since 2016: http://www.jaxandmeesh.com
About Jax Smith
Jax Smith is half of Vancouver writing duo, M&J.
She is the creator of the TV series, DEFECT.
In 2016, Jax directed two short films, MENTAL (*BravoFACT recipient) and THE STAKEOUT. Previously she directed projects for First Star, World Wildlife Fund and The Projecting Change Film Festival. Her work has been showcased on CBS, The Knowledge Network, Urban Rush and featured in The Vancouver Sun and The Province.
About Meeshelle Neal
Meeshelle Neal is half of the writing duo, M&J.
She is the creator the genre sci-fi TV series, CONTROLLED MINDS.
Leo nominated, Meeshelle has enjoyed being a highly proactive member of the Vancouver Film and TV Community.
She wrote, produced, and starred in MENTAL (*BravoFACT recipient) as well as the award-winning, internationally recognized, short-film THERAPY. Therapy tackled mental health so well that it is now being taught in a curriculum in France and took home the 'Audience Choice Award' at the Festival Regards sur le Cinéma du Monde.
Directed by: Jax Smith
Executive Produced by: Liz Levine & Jax Smith
Produced by: Victoria Angell & Meeshelle Neal
Story by: Meeshelle Neal
Written by: Meeshelle Neal and Jax Smith
Joshua Costea Nominated For 'Best Young Filmmaker' At 2017 Action On Film International Film Festival
Peter Bundic Nominated For 'Best Young Filmmaker' By 2017 Action On Film International Film Festival
David Raynolds Nominated For 'Best Young Performer' By 2017 Action On Film International Film Festival
Peter Bundic is one of the hardest-working teens in Vancouver. He is a multiple-award winning actor, screenwriter, and talk-show host who has worked in television, film, commercials, web series and video. Most recently, he was given the honor of solo-hosting five episodes of Shaw TV's eveRIAthing and won the 2016 eveRIAthing Wall of Stars Award for 'Favorite Workshop Fan's Choice' as a previous guest on the show. Peter stars as 'Brick' in season 2 of Disney XD's Mech-X4, episodes "Versus the Outbreak" and "Versus the New Evil." The highly-anticipated upcoming season begins airing in the Fall. Peter appeared in the television MOW "He Loves You Not/Ring Of Deception," which premiered in the United States on the Lifetime Movie Network last May. Peter has two additional television projects in the works, including an exciting new DocuDrama and another series in which he plays the lead, titles TBA.
Peter received a 2016 Joey Award for his performance in singer Ria Jade's music video Snowflakes, inspired by Carol Todd in honour of The Amanda Todd Legacy and World Mental Health Day.
Peter's past roles of renown include the Newspaper Boy in the blockbuster feature film Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes (2011), guest-starring roles on the hit sci-fi TV series Eureka and Night Owl High - TELUS STORYHIVE FUNDED, training videos for BC Doctors and for many commercials including Nascar, Nissan, Crayola, BC Teachers Federation and Hot Wheels.
Peter is an all-star athlete and has played football for Team BC in Las Vegas and The All Star Team in Miami. He also enjoys snowboarding, skateboarding, dirt bike riding, track and field, swimming, wrestling, basketball, cycling and parkour.
Peter's Demo Reel:
Peter is available for interviews and personal appearances, upon request, and is represented by Lissa Lloyd of Lloyd Talent at 604-589-7559.
Lisa, the CEO & Publicist for NoodleHead Productions, is a native New Yorker based in Hollywood East.