I think it was 1989 the first time I was transported into the magical world of storytelling. It was "The Little Mermaid" and I sat on my chair - my legs so short they stuck out over the edge - staring up at the fantastical world of Ariel, Sebastian and Prince Eric. For me that was it, I was hooked.
Like a lot of people my life seems pretty hectic, I'm always running around, making phone calls, emailing, facebooking, tweeting, etc. It feels like I'm always on my phone or computer and always trying to juggle more than I can handle. But something happens when I walk into a movie theatre. It's the one place where I can turn off my reality and focus completely on something else. I allow myself to get drawn into a story and get immersed in that world and those characters. It's entertainment, but movies also allow people to feel things, real raw human emotions that we so often forget to deal with in our real lives. A great film and a great performance can actually create change in you, they make you think and question. From that first moment in that theatre in 1989 I knew that movies were something special.
In November 2001 I got my very first part-time job at the Granville 7 Cinemas. It was there that my love of movies blossomed. Over the 6 years that I worked at Granville I saw hundreds, maybe thousands, of films. I interacted with fellow movie lovers discussing films and learned about projection. There was nothing quite like threading a projector with 35mm film and pressing the start button. The fan would start, the bulb would ignite and an image would appear on the big screen - it was like magic. I would often sit in the projection booth or at the back of the theatre and just watch films. I always felt at peace inside of the theatre and I knew that filmmaking was what I wanted to do. I wanted to be a part of that magic. I would dream about one day being able to sit in that theatre and watch a movie I was in on the screen.
That exact dream would never become a reality as the Granville 7 closed down before I would get the chance to screen a film there, but the idea still remains. This weekend I was in Whistler for the 2012 Whistler Film Festival. My feature film "It's A Disaster" played twice to almost sold out crowds for both showings. I stood in the back of the theatre, just like I use to do at Granville, and watched a room full of people experience and react to something that I helped to create. I can't quite describe what an amazing feeling it was. I had seen "It's A Disaster" on the screen before, but this was the first time I stood in the back and experienced not only the film, but also the audience.
Even though the technology is changing and the sound of a projector running is only a memory, the experience still remains the same. I LOVE going to the movies, it's where I escape, it's my happy place and hopefully always will be.