Ottawa Independent Film Festival

After the Fundraiser Screening for HYPHEN

I can't believe almost a week has gone by since I was standing in front of a sold-out crowd, introducing my film "Hyphen" for the first time to an audience. Last Saturday, May 30th at the Arts Court Theatre, I watched as my guests filled the room, anxiously waiting for the screening to start. I had spent the day nervously getting everything ready to make sure the event was everything I wanted it to be. 

So, of course I made the executive decision to get my hair styled at a salon instead of worrying about it myself. I sat at Jet Black Hair & Studio, let myself relax and tried not to stroke my hair too much after (it was soooo soft!). I then set off to pick up fresh homemade deserts from Rebecca at Café Eddy (she made cookies with little hyphens on them because she's amazing!). After "taste testing" the treats, I packed up the car full of Lug-Tread beer from Beau's All Natural, tasty meats and cheeses from Seed to Sausage and all the goodies I'd prepared for the event. 

A BIG thank you to my amazing roommate Catherine for helping me set-up the room for the event. We prepped the wood-panel courtroom at Arts Court as the pre-screening mingling room. I had a playlist prepared for the evening, full of songs that played in my house when I was growing up; some Beatles, some Frank Sinatra, some Céline Dion. I set up a corner with my Artist Statement for the project, a photo album full of photos of my family and a map of the world. I asked my guests to place stickers on the map in the places they identified with.  We pulled in 60+ chairs in the screening room, and we were ready. All that was left to do was wait for my guests.

I wasn't even aware of the rain until people started coming in, soaking wet. And then everyone showed up. I have to admit that I am not the best at mingling, but knowing that everyone was there for me made it pretty easy to walk up to a group of people and say hello. Makes a girl feel pretty special!

A definite pinch-me moment was meeting people who had come out because they heard me speak on CBC's Ottawa Morning the day before. 

The time came to get everyone to move to the screening room to watch Hyphen. I got my parents and my brothers to go in first, so they would be able to sit in the front, by me. After Bradley Cayford introduced me on behalf of the Ottawa International Film Festival, I made my opening remarks. Seeing the room completely full (we even had to bring in some extra chairs) was overwhelming. I took my seat between my parents, and as the music started, I felt my mom reach out for my hand. And she held it, clammy and shaking, the whole time. I think I must have watched most of the film with my eyes closed, knowing it by heart but focusing on listening to the audience's reactions; I recognized some laughs. I was so terribly nervous to not only show my art for the first time, but to also share my story and be vulnerable to the comments and reactions of a crowd. 

But the lights came up and everyone started clapping. With tears in my eyes, I made my way back to the stage to get ready for the Q&A. Despite some "colourful" comments, I think the discussion went very well. I was able to answer questions about the film and my personal experience with the subject. But mostly, I got a confirmation that this film NEEDS to be made. And I can't wait for the next steps!

So what is next? Well, I am so pleased to tell you that we raised $2,010.40 (yes, $0.40!) which will help complete the film. I'm taking the month of June to reflect on the evening and plan my next step. I will apply to have the film shown in film festivals, locally and internationally, which will help in finding future funding opportunities. I will use this first part to help approach other families who may be interested in participating in the film. I am also planning the creation of an online forum for Hyphen, so people can share stories about their own hyphenated identity.

Safe to say, this project still has a long way to go and I am so excited to get to work! I would like to thank The Ottawa International Film Festival for hosting the evening. You can see more photos of the evening, all taken by the amazing Justin Van Leeuwen, on my Facebook page (that you can also follow to get news about Hyphen).

Keep an eye out for news about Hyphen; I am looking forward to the future! 

 

Hyphen Trailer - Gabriela's Story

We're getting down to the wire and I'm feeling all the feels. This project has been really intense and intimate, and for the first time yesterday, I shared a piece of it with the world. The feedback I got, just in that one day, has given me the motivation I need for this last push. Here is the trailer for the fundraiser screening, happening May 30th at the Arts Court Theatre.

This trailer gives you an idea of what I'll be showing during the screening. What else can you expect? You'll also be hearing from my mom and my dad, and there will be a lot more sweet images from my childhood. 

I'm working on some other exciting elements for the evening, and I can't wait to see you all there! 

For more information about the screening and to RSVP for the event, visit hyphen-fundraiser.eventbrite.ca

Join the Fundraiser Screening for Hyphen!


I was sitting with a friend a few weeks ago, reminiscing about some great moments from the past few months, and it occurred to me that I've been working on Hyphen for almost a year now! I feel terribly lucky to be where I am; always happy to wake up and get to work. Even if I am constantly challenged by this project, I'm learning to embrace the vulnerable place it has put me in. And this past week has been one to remember.

I am beyond thankful to have such amazing support from this community. Despite the difficulties I've faced trying to find funding for Hyphen, the discussions I've had with so many of you have proved to me that this film needs to be made, and I need to continue forward. 

My vision for Hyphen is to create a portrait of the Canadian hyphenated identity, told through a series of stories. I would like to travel the country to interview multiple families and get a sense of the multiracial experience in Canada. My personal connection to this subject has definitely been the driving force of this project. As a starting point, I wanted to look at my own experience and analyze my family's story. With the support of my parents, a patient mentor and the help from my wonderfully talented (and award-winning) friend Travis Boisvenue, I have managed to produce the first story for the film: my own. 

I am still in the process of editing this part, and it has been challenging to remove myself from the process (spending the day listening to my voice isn't something I would categorize as enjoyable). But it has really helped to hone in my process for this documentary. My goal to produce this part separately is to build a base for the project, get feedback from my peers, to get some visibility and to start funding the bigger project.

This is where I talk to you about the screening. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Nina from the Ottawa International Film Festival to make this screening happen. I am so excited to see my little idea become a reality in front of my peers, family and friends. The event will take place on May 30th at the Arts Court Library from 7pm to 11pm. The doors will open at 7pm, and guests will have a chance to get acquainted, have some drinks and snacks and participate in a few interactive activities (don't worry, I won't ask anyone to sing). The screening will start at 8pm, when guests will view, for the first time, the story of my family. After the screening, a special guest will facilitate a Q&A and discussion with me about the film. 

The entry for this screening is by donation, so you can pay what you can. However, if you donate $20 or more, you will receive a drink voucher for the evening. You can get more information and RSVP here. If you are unable to make the screening, please feel free to share the event and invite anyone who would be interested in joining! You can also share the Facebook event.  

I can't thank you enough for your support, and I look forward to seeing you all at the screening!