Creator Talk at VIFF 2016 with Tatiana Maslany

Creator Talk at VIFF 2016 with Tatiana Maslany

This year The Vancouver International Film Festival made some changes in the way they are doing things. One of those changes is the VIFF HUB and Creator Talks, an opportunity to listen to people who are creating a movie, talk about the movie.

Creator Talk with Tatiana Maslany
Saturday October 1, 2016 12:30 pm
Rio Theatre
Tim Goodman – Chief Television Critic for the Hollywood Reporter oka/@BastardMachine

I went with the only expectation being that I was going to listen to a very talented person speak. I left thinking I couldn’t have been more affected if I had paid a ton of money to see an inspirational speaker.

Tatiana Maslany was absolutely delightful. She was warm, open, humble, encouraging, thoughtful, inspirational, professional, generous, uninhibited, knowledgeable, funny, serious, passionate…….I’m going to stop before I gush. I never knew I could have such a girl crush before.

I love Orphan Black so when I saw this year VIFF was doing Creator Talks and one of them was going to be with Tatiana Maslany, I spent several days trying to decide if I wanted to go. You see, I’m not a, fawn all over someone because they are famous, person. Actually I’m probably more the opposite. My long-time crush is Keanu Reeves. I say long-time because the first time I crushed on him was a commercial advertising his Babes In Toyland movie, on tv, for Christmas, in the mid to late 80’s. That man still does it for me and I refuse to listen to anyone who chooses to speak badly about him to me, around me, near me. One year, as a birthday gift, two of my friends bought us all tickets to see his band play when they came to town. I stood there for the entire show with my arms crossed, staring at him. Someone tried to talk to me and I shut them down so fast in the most aggressively verbal way that by the end of the show there was a berth around me and I’m sure the word stalker & crazy were being used to describe me. Even then, we went home after the show. We did not wait at the back door, we did not hit up all of the hotels or bars or anywhere else looking for this magnificent creature. He is a man, an incredibly beautiful man, who does a job. I don’t know him personally so I don’t know who he really is or even if I would like him once I got past staring at his incredible face and listening to his magical voice. I think he’s like a unicorn. A stunning, beautiful, magical creature that you look at and love. I mean seriously maybe that unicorn turns out to be a dick and every time humans get close to it, it kicks them in the head. We don’t know. Maybe that’s why we only ever see unicorns in pictures or fairy tales, because we can’t get close to one. I don’t know if I want to get close to Keanu, I don’t want my dreams of his wonderful personality crashing against the kick of reality. I’ve read a bunch of stuff over the years and he sounds like a great guy but I also have doubts about actors. Do they ever turn off the acting, do they know how, are they so narcissistic they can’t see past themselves and their ‘art’?

Tatiana Maslany took all of my preconceived notions and doubts about actors and made me cry. I’m as shocked as you. I literally had tears in my eyes when she was describing her new movie screening at VIFF this year, The Other Half. She was explaining how the characters in this movie are afraid of the darkness they see in the other person but they are also afraid of not having that other person in their lives. About how in life all humans are afraid, our lives are lived and based, around fear. It hit me so hard I started tearing up. This is a subject very close to me right now as I am at a personal crossroads in life and I am searching for what/where is next. It reflected my own thoughts of how I have been living my life and how I want to change it. Obviously she didn’t know this was going to make me emotional but I did accept it as a very good validation point for my decision to see her talk.

I admit that while I generally know what critics think of projects, I do not follow what critics specifically say really because I always like to draw my own conclusions. This means I was unaware of who Tim Goodman was before he walked on stage this afternoon but I was very impressed with his knowledge of Tatiana Maslany and her work. They had a very easy conversation that covered the three movies she has out/coming out (The Other Half, Two Lovers and a Bear, as well as Stronger with Jake Gyllenhaal), her scope of experience and work, some of her life experiences, as well as the reason most people love her and came to see her, Orphan Black. It lasted about 30 to 45 minutes (why would I pay attention to the time when the conversation was so riveting) before he opened up to a Q&A session. During their conversation, Tatiana was very open about how she feels about projects she chooses to be part of, what she would like to do in the future, how taking the job of Orphan Black and it’s many characters was done so she couldn’t be pigeonholed in a role, but ended up pigeonholing her in the roles she is offered (no, she doesn’t only want to play several characters in one project), how she came to be involved with The Other Half, and what it was like working on this movie with her off-screen boyfriend (he knows her so well, she couldn’t use any of her tricks, she had to be present and not afraid to open herself up for the character). I never once felt this conversation was scripted, acted out or anything other than real. A few times there were shouted comments from the audience and Tatiana took them in stride and engaged with the person.

The Q&A session was one of the best sessions I’ve been to, even though I have never been to one of these kind of talks before. Everyone congratulated Tatiana on her recent Emmy win, which she accepted graciously. The questions ranged from research of roles with injuries (from a physiotherapist, who Tatiana took the time to thank for helping people), to what is the ‘thing’ she looks for when choosing a project (from a screen writing student), to how hard is it to play a clone pretending to be another clone (from a member of a 20 or so group that watches and celebrates every episode of Orphan Black together) to when did she know she wanted to be an actress (from one of a set of mature twin actresses in the new A Series of Unfortunate Events tv series). Tatiana answered every question with honesty, kindness and thoughtfulness. Even when the twin actress was promoting her own show, Tatiana was graceful and encouraging. These weren’t your standard ‘actor’ answers. At the end of the, more than one hour, Tatianna went down the few stairs to write autographs, take pictures and shake hands with fans even as the VIFF staff were trying to wrap the event up and get her out of there. Very classy Tatianna, very classy.

I was planning on seeing The Other Half movie tomorrow, October 2nd, but to be honest, my new girl crush is demanding more Tatiana Maslany the person time so I’ll now be going tonight. There is a Q&A after the movie with her and the screenwriter/director for me to experience.

 

Movie creators and stars at Vancouver International Film Festival    Read about the VIFF movies I attended and my experiences at them here.

A Few Adrenaline Rush Activities off My Bucket List

A Few Adrenaline Rush Activities off My Bucket List

A few years ago when I started making my yearly bucket lists I realized that I had to do more to live life and achieve everything I wanted to. Unfortunately money seems to always be an issue so I decided to do at least one affordable activity every year. Either originally that way, or I was able to get a deal. These are the adrenaline rush activities I did locally and was able to cross off my bucket list.

Whale Watching in Tofino

I first did Whale Watching in Tofino, BC with Jamie’s Whaling Station & Adventure Centres using a Groupon and traveling with three others to make a weekend of it. We rented a great two bedroom, two bathroom, suite at the Sea Star Suites. It also had a pullout bed in a sitting area, a fireplace, a dishwasher, washer & dryer, full kitchen, and shared BBQ and hot tub. The best part, it was across the street from the ocean.

Sitting on a boat for a couple of hours and watching the whales was a wonderful addition for a weekend away. Even if I didn’t manage to get an amazing ‘frame it for the wall’ photo, seeing those whales swimming around was amazing. Not something you normally see in your day. Jamie’s has several different types of boats though so you can choose a tour based on the level of adrenaline rush you are looking for.

Tofino is a small community surrounded by such amazing natural beauty. This area of Vancouver Island has Whale Watching, it is the place to go in the fall to watch the storms come in, plus it is a surfer’s haven. I went in June and there were surfers everywhere but not so many that you couldn’t still enjoy the water and the views. The Groupon and traveling companions allowed me to have a very affordable, relaxing, weekend adventure.

White Water Rafting the Elaho

The second year was White Water Rafting the Elaho with Canadian Outback Adventures. They have a variety of different rafting options available, including groups. I went with a large group of people, so it brought the individual price down a bit. My crazy fear of water didn’t stop this from being one of the most fun things I have ever done. Thanks to the very experienced guides, I, the weak swimmer, felt safe no matter what happened. I don’t feel the need to do it again but I am very happy I went.

The Elaho had some stunningly, beautiful scenery. So many times I have driven along a road in BC and seen fast moving water beside it, wondering what it would be like to be in that water. I can tell you, the speed and adrenaline rush was so great during my white water rafting experience, I almost forgot I had a fear once we got into it. Almost.

The drive to Squamish from Vancouver is also one of the most amazingly, scenic drives. Even though this road was updated for the 2010 Winter Olympics and it is now a lot safer, it is still a very curvy road so please watch your speed and the road. Pull over to check out the scenery.

Paragliding in the Fraser Valley

The third summer I went tandem paragliding in the Fraser Valley with FlyBC Paragliding and my step-dad, thanks to another Groupon deal. That one was a bit daunting because you know, you have to jump off a mountain. My Mom, who is afraid of heights, wouldn’t join us. My brother, who is also afraid of heights, went a few weeks before us and thoroughly enjoyed himself.

Watching the amount of preparation your guide does before, as well as the instructions you receive, gives you confidence for staying safe. All that mixed with your concentration to run as fast as you can even after you are in the air, to make sure your guide doesn’t trip over you and you pull up the parachute, meant that I was floating in the air before I even realized it. Jumping off the mountain wasn’t an issue so the adrenaline rush was almost non-existent for me. After that you just sit back and enjoy the ride and view (which is absolutely breathtaking). The guides were knowledgeable and made me feel safe. My only regret was that I went during a heat wave. There wasn’t much wind and the flight wasn’t as long, or as exciting, as I knew it could be.

Zip-Lining in Whistler

This year’s activity was Zip-Lining in Whistler, BC. I had never been to Whistler before, which is embarrassing seeing as I have lived in Vancouver for almost 15 years. My loss. Whistler is great year round and for all ages. There are spas, shopping and restaurants for all budgets. In the winter there are the obvious ski hill activities on offer. In the summer, the ski hill transforms for mountain biking plus has many other activities including Zip-Lining.

My 20-year-old cousin and I went up to Whistler for the day. We found parking, went for lunch, walked around the village a bit, went Zip-Lining, had a late dinner then drove home. A day trip from Vancouver is definitely possible. Although next time I would prefer a weekend so that I could fully enjoy more of what Whistler has to offer.

We chose to use ZipTrek Ecotours for our zip-lining experience. They have a good reputation plus they offer a bit of a talk regarding the ecosystem of the area. The tour was very informative, the guides very safety conscious and the Zip-Lining was wonderful. I loved the adrenaline rush and the scenery and the rush of the wind in my face. I loved the whole adventure. We did the tour after 5:00 pm, which saved us a couple of dollars, and even though we went at the end of June, I would suggest a light jacket. You end up going pretty high and quite fast.

The activities I did, the companies I chose, the places I did them & the people I shared these experiences with, whether they were family, friends or strangers, all contributed to the great experiences I had. While I have no way of controlling your choices in any way or your experiences, I really hope you have wonderful & safe adventures. The Vancouver area offers a lot of options for the everyday traveler’s adventure or for the adrenaline junkies. These were only a few. Enjoy!

 

If you are interested in, or starting to plan a trip, there are several travel related products and websites listed on the Yup…..We Like These page, to help you out. Some of the affiliate link descriptions also contain a coupon code for you to use.

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan – the Surprise that Awaits You

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan – the Surprise that Awaits You

You don’t often consider Saskatoon, Saskatchewan a holiday destination but this city has a lot going for it. Not only does it have a very strong emphasis on arts, it has festivals, attractions, shopping, parks, and some great architecture. The city was first settled about 130 years ago and as of 2014, has a population of between 250,000 and 300,000. Even though Saskatoon is a large city, it is spread out instead of going up so you don’t have large skyscrapers ruining its historic beauty. There is such a wonderful mix of historic and modern in this prairie city.

I grew up in Saskatoon so of course I have some fond, biased memories. In the half dozen times I have gone back for a visit over the years, those memories haven’t been ruined with my older, more jaded eyes. A few years ago I went back and attended the Folkfest which I loved as a child. Not only did my memories of the Folkfest hold up but I found it even more fun as an adult. Even one who has done a lot of travelling. This year was the first time I attended the Fringe Festival. The festival is smaller than some I have attended in Vancouver, but it was a great set-up and had quite a bit to offer.

The Western Development Museum

I have to admit that as a child this was one of my favourite places to visit. I have always loved history and this museum has an indoor 1910 Boomtown street. Seriously with their winters you have to have attractions indoors. The street is complete with various shops, carts and even homes completely set-up as they would have been in that time. The dentist’s office still sticks in my head after all of these years. In all of my travels this museum still has me in awe. I have not seen another Boomtown museum quite like this one.

There is also a section in this giant building for different vehicles throughout history, including tractors and farming machinery. It’s not normally my thing but it is still impressive to see.

Folkfest

Held every summer in August, the Saskatoon Folkfest is a cultural joy. Using all types of buildings all over the city, you visit a country’s pavilion where you experience their food, music, dance, clothing, beverages, art & language. Their culture and people. I suggest getting the three-day passport. It allows you unlimited access to all of the pavilions for the entire three days. As well as the Folkfest busses. You can enjoy the different beers, etc from each country without worrying about driving.

PotashCorp Fringe Theatre Festival

Another festival that is held every summer is the Saskatoon PotashCorp Fringe Theatre Festival located on Broadway Avenue. There are free street performances as well as the paid ones in various venues. You can also find locally made products and art sold by vendors set up on the street. There are even food stalls and food trucks. Broadway Avenue is shut down for the duration of the festival but the shops and restaurants are still open for you to enjoy.

The only point of criticism I had about this festival was the food prices. Around $10.00 for a specialty juice from a food truck. I’ll stick with The Juice Truck here in Vancouver for half that price thank you very much. I did eat perogies from the Perogie Pirates truck though and those prices were very reasonable. I think they were somewhere around $5.00. The perogies tasted great and the service was very friendly and fast.

 

As I said before there are a lot of things to see and do in Saskatoon. Besides the above items there is also beautiful historical architecture all over the east side as well as along the river on the west side. Don’t forget the Mendel Art Gallery (soon The Art Gallery of Saskatchewan), Midtown Plaza shopping centre in downtown, 8th Street restaurants and shopping, The Ex (carnival with rides), the Bez (Delta Bessborough Hotel), concerts, theatre performances, the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra, Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan, the Saskatoon Blades WHL hockey team, Saskatchewan International Raceway and Auto Clearing Motor Speedway to name a few. If you are heading to the prairies or thinking of just driving through cause there is nothing there, please stop and take a look. It will definitely surprise you.

 

If you are interested in, or starting to plan a trip, there are several travel related products and websites listed on the Yup…..We Like These page, to help you out. Some of the affiliate link descriptions also contain a coupon code for you to use.

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