By Executive Producer Alanna Hendren
While the Yorkton film festival lasted for two and a half days and ended in an awards ceremony only after a weekend of screenings, learning from filmmakers, and hearing from government funding representatives, the Leo Awards from the Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Foundation of British Columbia host 2 eveningsof gala awards.
The Leos were as glamourous as the Yorkton Acorn Awards were down home – held at the local community center rather than a ballroom at the Vancouver Hyatt. I arrived at the Leos later than I’d planned and already stressed because traffic was a nightmare and after maneuvering downtown’s endless one-way streets, the parking lot I was shooting for was permanently closed. Without knowing I could have just breezed into the Hyatt’s valet parking, but instead, I ended up walking from Pacific Center and back in new shoes. But what’s pain in the face of fashion?
The buzz of the film-making crowd led me upstairs to a bar and lines of people having their pictures taken on red carpets placed in front of big Leo backdrops and perfectly positioned lights, then into a dark cavernous ballroom with a huge illuminated stage at one end and stacks of light and sound equipment at the back. Most of the “Doing the Impossible” cast and crew made it to the show, so it was a grand reunion.
David Ozier, our fabulous filmmaker was quickly in the hot seat at the top of the Awards show – the Leo’s started with the Short Documentary Programwhere our film was nominated in four out of six categories. We missed out only on cinematography and sound. First up for us – The Best Picture Editing award nominees were Gary Wallace for Across and Down (CBC’s The Passionate Eye), David Ozier and Eddie O. for Doing the Impossible: The Story of The Developmental Disabilities Association (Us!), and Alan Flett for The Teenager and the Lost Maya (CBC’s The Nature of Things). “And the winner is: “Doing the Impossible: The Story of the Developmental Disabilities Association”!
Our tables erupted in cheers, applause, and generalized excitement. The adrenaline rush was like winning at the race track. Of course, David gave a touching, funny, and powerful speech. He had been nominated for a Leo four times previously but hadn’t won yet. The first time David and Eddie O. had been nominated was 25 years ago so it was fitting they were both standing on stage in 2023, the 25th anniversary of the Leos. So exciting! So glamourous!
After the brief interlude, while they announced the Best Cinematography winner, Best Screenwriting came up with nominees David Ozier for Doing the Impossible and Ross Munro for The Moviegoer(Independent). “And the winner is: David Ozier for Doing the Impossible: The History of the Developmental Disabilities Association”! More explosive enthusiasm from the DDA crowd. And again a touching, funny, meaningful speech from David, who didn’t have time to sit down before Best Director was announced, and again, “Yay!!! Wow!! Yahoo!” Jumping out of our seats, happy but not as happy as David. What a success for our humble training video! David thanked everyone he interviewed for making directing this film so rewarding. Everyone was thrilled.
Next was Best Documentary but “Across and Down” beat us for award number four. By that time it didn’t really matter – we were all so excited about the first three. What an endorsement of our story.
After watching several more programs and categories and listening to several more acceptance speeches, we went out to the lobby and all got our pictures taken with David and Eddie O’s Statues. They were still luxuriating in their success. So much fun and great memories. Our superstars were well saluted and acknowledged, most of all our videographer, who already had his job classification changed to “Filmmaker”. Now “Award-winning Filmmaker”. We must be on the right track at DDA because once we shared our story with the public, the response was so beyond what I ever could have imagined, and
I learned another lesson – Dream Bigger.