Crazy8s filmmaking is no drag for director Angie Nolan 

Whistler team makes finals of B.C. competition and fulfills dreams

click to enlarge PHOTO SUBMITTED - Looking for Charming Cinder (Adam DiMarco) wants romance and a better life in The Twisted Slipper by Angie Nolan.
  • Photo submitted
  • Looking for Charming Cinder (Adam DiMarco) wants romance and a better life in The Twisted Slipper by Angie Nolan.

Whistler's Angie Nolan has had a long and varied career in film — as an actress, behind the camera and with the Whistler Film Festival — but she says her experience as the director of The Twisted Slipper, a winner in the Crazy8s short film competition, is the best feeling so far.

"I feel amazing. I'm so happy. It's the biggest project I've done of my own as a director and it's been an incredible journey the whole way," said Nolan, her voice cracking with emotion.

"I don't want it to end. I just want to do it forever and ever and ever."

The Crazy8s is an annual competition dedicated to supporting emerging filmmakers in British Columbia on a short film project.

This year a record 196 applicants —who submitted five-minute scripts — were whittled down to 40 semi-finalists who pitched their ideas to industry professionals. From there, 12 finalists workshopped their scripts with a professional editor.

Six winners were selected, receiving $1,000 and a production package that allowed them to shoot their films in eight days.

The process is involved. The shooting for The Twisted Slipper is completed, editing is now finished ("Picture lock!" says Nolan), and she is busy with the sound and music side of the film, taking time out for this interview.

Nolan co-wrote The Twisted Slipper with Sharai Rewels, who came to Nolan with the story idea and asked her to take it on.

"Her passion to tell the story was so infectious," Nolan says.

The film's producer is Katie Schaitel.

The film is one of six winning finalists of the 2015 competition. All will be shown at a gala night in Vancouver on Saturday, Feb. 28.

The story of Cinder is a familiar tale of winning the prince — but this time in drag. Cinder (Adam DiMarco) is a young barista forced to conceal his true self, toiling for his evil stepmother in her coffee shop.

Banned from attending a ball hosted by Gavin Charming (Ryan McDonell), Cinder is visited by Destiny — his fabulous Fairy Dude Mother (David C. Jones) — who transforms him into the stunning drag queen he has always wanted to be.

Now for the happily ever after...

The big moments in creating the film, says Nolan, started with getting accepted into Crazy8s in the first place.

"There were 196 entries and they chose us. Then getting the first shot off on set, looking around and thinking 'Oh my God, this is an amazing team of people,'" Nolan says. "We had professionals come help us, people who wanted bigger credits. Amazing camera operators who wanted director of photography credits. They're beyond skilled, they should be doing it on feature films."

The funds given to the finalists by the competition plus the dedicated teamwork of talent meant that Nolan could realize a higher ambition in set design, or hair and makeup, for example.

Strangers and old friends volunteered their time for the film, which was shot in Vancouver. Nolan believes around 100 people altogether helped her, from preparation to shooting. She called it humbling.

"I love doing films with my friends because it's fun, and a journey, and a discovery and you get there, but just looking into the eyes of an actor who is already there, already playing a character and thinking he's something. I can't even explain it; it's like this trust. The actors having this trust in me and the crew having this trust in me," Nolan says.

There is so much for a director to be responsible for, being the centre of the hub of the movie.

"Yes, but at the same time there's so much you can let go of and you have to do when you are doing it guerilla style. I get to just direct. I get to spend time with the actors and concentrate on performance, tone and those moments, finding that magic. And there isn't that much pressure on you to do everything. You can just direct and people are doing their jobs," she says.

"It's interesting. You can't let ego get involved, but you have to stay true to your vision or else the production will be all over the place."

Nolan estimates The Twisted Slipper is the 20th short film she has made, with six or seven of those making it to festivals.

Now Nolan is ready for the next big step in her directing future.

"I want to build from this. I really want to start making features. It's time, you know? This was a really good outlet to create confidence," she says.

The Crazy8s Gala takes place at The Centre, 777 Homer Street, Vancouver, on Saturday, Feb. 28. Doors open at 6 p.m. Tickets are $35 at the door.

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