Nimisha Murkerji behind the scenes at Crazy 8s

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      I spotted actor-writer-director Mackenzie Gray plowing up Main Street two nights ago, eyes ablaze, limbs moving at double speed, barking into a cell phone and generally looking like he might expire from madness. As one of the filmmakers chosen as a finalist in this year’s Crazy 8s competition, he had every right to look so elegantly stressed out.

      Along with the other five winning teams who pitched their short movie ideas to a jury of industry pros back in November, Gray was bang in the middle of a crazy eight day production schedule. Work began last Friday (February 8); deadline for the finished product is tomorrow.

      The 14 year-old competition has been fertile ground for Vancouver’s filmmaking community, and this year is no different. Gray is a TV-film-theatre veteran around these parts (and he does a mean Jagger impression), while another of 2013’s Crazy 8’s finalists has a history of walking out of VIFF with an armful of awards.

      Nimisha Murkerji co-directed the acclaimed Eva Markvoort documentary 65_Redroses in 2009, which she followed last year with another festival favourite, Blood Relatives. Though fictional, Murkerji’s Crazy 8s project, “In the Deep”, looks consistent with her previous work in that it takes cancer as its subject, and was drawn from the personal experience of co-writer/actor Orsy Szabó.

      Production stills from the last week of sleepless nights and on-the-fly brilliance were posted yesterday at flickr. The finished projects, including Gray’s “Under the Bridge of Fear” and the intriguingly titled “Manstruation”, screen at the Centre for Performing Arts next Saturday (February 23), followed by a VAG-wrecking party right afterwards.

      For more info about tix and everything else Crazy 8’s related, go here.