Whatcha Got, Calgary?: Our city’s first film anthology

Monday 07th, July 2014 / 13:47
By Claire Miglionico
Photo: Mark DeWachter

Photo: Mark DeWachter

CALGARY — Whatcha Got, Calgary? is Calgary’s first film anthology being made by our local creative folk.

“It’s kind of like a Paris, I Love YouThe Twilight Zone movie,” says Joel Dryden, who came up with the local concept with his pals Andrew Cormier and Mark DeWachter.

The anthology will be composed of 20 short films, each about three minutes in length directed by a different local director, each assigned a specific theme to tackle. Fiction, non-fiction, it’s all up to the directors.

“We have straight narrative stuff, then we’ve got documentaries and a couple experimental films, [and] animation…the only thing we’re dictating [are] the themes and the length. [A]side from that, they are free to go crazy,” says Dryden.

There’s a list of all 20 themes on the anthology’s website, 201studios.com, says Cormier. The themes are pretty broad in the sense that a director can go anywhere with the themes they’ve been assigned. “Cowboys” is a theme along with “Calgary at Night,” “Being Young,” and “Music Scene.”

The list of directors can be found on the website, along with some of their bios. Dryden says there’s a mix of experience and talent, which will make for a very Calgary-unique film.

All 20 shorts are going to be edited into an hour-long anthology by Dryden and Cormier. Dryden acquired video editing skills while taking the Mount Royal University journalism program from which he recently graduated. Cormier is a psychology major that works with children with disabilities.

“I think it’s the coolest thing we’ve done so far. We’ve been meeting with directors for the past three weeks. We officially confirmed our last one today. We want to get musicians and actors on board too so [that] it’s not just a showcase for directors but for all kind of local talent,” says Dryden.

Putting events together isn’t anything new for the pair. Both seem to have experience working with kids and have put on youth conferences, entertainment shows and hour-long plays and skits. While working with kids, Dryden noticed youth apathy towards living in Calgary, which inspired the fun film event’s creation.

Film events around the city have also inspired Dryden and Cormier for the sort of event they wanted to accomplish for Whatcha Got, Calgary?

For Dryden, The Fifth Reel was a real source of inspiration.

“I went to the Army of Darkness there during the Comic Expo. It’s cool, they have a band before and they sell out,” he says.

The anthology is set to screen Sept. 5 at The Globe Cinema. If seats sell out, Dryden says there will likely be another screening in late September.

All proceeds will be donated to a local charity or organization which means attending the screening will give back to the community one way or another.

“I think there are things out there to do with cool things in any city but it takes putting it out there and express it artistically [to] make people aware,” he says.

See you all on the big screen, Calgary!

The Whatcha Got, Calgary? short film anthology screens Sept. 5 at the Globe Cinema.

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