Available Light Film Festival, part one: 65_RedRoses opens fest
B.C. filmmakers are taking their works north of 60 to Whitehorse, Yukon, home of the Available Light Film Festival. Festival director Andrew Connors packs in five days of contemporary docs and features that often sell out the town’s 400-plus seat theatre. B.C. films played a large part of that success in this year’s fest, which ran from February 10 to14.
Several months later, the film is still is attracting many invitations and enthusiastic audiences who embrace the intimate survival stories of three young women with cystic fibrosis (with a focus on New Westminster's Eva Markvoort, who sadly posted a video on February 11 to announce that she is losing her battle and that her life is coming to an end) who bond via the internet. The doc was chosen to open the fest here in Whitehorse, where Mukerji and Lyall fielded anxious questions about the film’s real-life subjects from the crowd.
Having met in the UBC film program, Mukerji and Lyall first worked together on shorts. With the confidence they gained, they then jumped into making 65_RedRoses together. That success has brought them the credibility they needed—and a distribution deal with PBS Worldwide TV sales. But they now each feel confident they can complete projects on their own.
Mukerji has two new projects: The Coconuts (winner of the Omni Television Diversity in Cultures Award) and Blood Relative, which is being shot in Mumbai. The latter came from her mother’s urging to explore her roots in India, where she met an inspiring uncle whose mission is to save children there from the stigma and fatality of Thalassemia, a curable disease that prevents puberty from occurring naturally.
Lyall is working with producer Chuck Braverman and Tricon Productions on two doc series that look at issues facing the gay community. He is rushing back to San Francisco next week to make the pilot for The Castro, which follows a few residents and how they take on current issues (like Proposition 8) in the neighbourhood that first put Harvey Milk into public office.
Lyall is also excited about a story on gay-conversion groups in the U.S. Homosexuals Anonymous will follow three men through a two-week "boot camp" aimed at making them straight.
Both Lyall and Mukerji credit the UBC film program for putting them on the right track and for the chance to form a duo that merged their creative energies.