2023 Okanagan Screen Awards celebrates best videos in the Okanagan

2023 Okanagan Screen Awards celebrates best videos in the Okanagan

Story by Shane Collins
Photo credit and copyrights to Shane Collins & Gonzo Okanagan

The inaugural Okanagan Screen Awards came to Kelowna late in February and it brought with it all the pomp and flare of a major awards show.
Host, Sydney Morton.

The Okanagan Society of Independent Filmmakers (OSIF) dug deep, pulled together and brought film lovers to Kelowna’s first cinematic awards show, celebrating local Okanagan talent. Actors, camera operators, writers, producers, directors, production crews, film fans, friends, family and others arrived outside the Kelowna Community Theatre on a cool and blustery night. Bathed in camera flash, they dazzled onlookers as they made their way inside.

Alvin Tam, winner for best cinematography for the film Shadow Circus.

I had received word from a few of the organizers a week before the show and was asked to come down to take some photos of the event. I happily agreed and found myself prepping my camera as people arrived. I felt under dressed. I looked down at my jeans and sneakers. ‘Damn it,’ I thought to myself. People began to funnel in through the doors as studio lights awaited their arrival. There were drinks behind the bar and volunteers kindly stood behind their station, smiling. As soon as the coats were checked, the drinks were poured and the night was under way. 

Chelsea McEvoy accepts the award for best short film, Pallidus

I saw Kelly Veltri and Chelsea McEvoy; two of the organizers of the night’s events. Their faces beamed with an enthusiasm found only when balancing enjoying the night and being on the job at the same time. Chelsea explained to me that this is a celebration of local talent. Something that’s been in the works for years. 

I see familiar faces. I see Ryan and I see Chelsea’s partner, James. I see Brad and Kinga. I see Alvin and I see Crista and Jake. As everyone began to mingle, I realized how small and tightly woven the fabric of the Okanagan’s film industry is and how close everyone works alongside one another. Working with Gonzo and being a photographer in Kelowna, I’ve been involved with a few local productions here in town. So, to see an awards show for the Okanagan come to life, well, that is something I can really get behind.

Jesus in the back of an Uber.

After I got some photos of attendees and after a few drinks, everyone entered the theater and sat down for the screening of a few films. Of all that were shown, one of my personal favorites was a short film called, ‘riding with Jesus.’  It was a comedy where an uber driver picks up Jesus and the conversation they have is pure gold. And ‘shadow circus,’ which blew me away with its cinematic flare. 

As the films were watched and as the audience applauded each film, the awards ceremony began. 

Colin Van Loon standing with the award for Best feature documentary, Kaatohkitopii.

Hosted by Sydney Morton, one by one, nominees were announced and the winners were called to the stage. I stood on the side, in the shadows and took my photos. (I’ve posted a list of all the winners in all their categories at the end of this article.)

With so many productions unfolding here in the area, there is a lot of work to be had and opportunities to be taken. We’ve already had big name actors from Hollywood come and work in the Okanagan and there doesn’t seem to be any stopping the momentum. So, if you’re looking to get into the business, there are a lot of options to explore. OSIF is just one avenue to begin your search if you’re looking to get started.

I think that the Okanagan is bursting with potential so don’t be surprised if this becomes a regular and annual event. Congratulations to everyone who got this off the ground. It was a true success and in a time of looming calamity like war, recession and environmental disaster, it’s refreshing to see people smiling and doing well in completing the projects they’re so passionate about.

Kelly Veltri and Chelsea McEvoy

If you will it, it is no dream and with the technology advancing so rapidly, one can make a movie with their phone. There is no limit so long as you hold on to your imagination. It’s all about completing the creative process and seeing it through. I wonder what people will dream up this year. I’ll keep you posted when word passes my way so if you have the ambition, explore it with the talented people within this growing community. Who knows, maybe you’ll find yourself on the red carpet. Will your name be one of the nominees? You’ve got a year to create. Let’s see what you come up with. 

Ryan Tebbutt accepts his award for, RISE, best short documentary.

Congratulations to the Winners!


  • Best Short Film – “Pallidus” – Zach Jones Chelsea McEvoy, Scott John
  • Best Cinematography – “Shadow Circus”
  • Best Story – Life Down Back”
  • Best Audio – “Riding with Jesus”
  • Best Editing – “The Devil Has All the Best Tunes”
  • Best Hair/Makeup – “Pallidus”
  • Best Production Design – “Pallidus”
  • Best Acting – ” ’92 Wagon”
  • PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARD – “Dad Bod Dale”


  • Best Feature Doc – “Kaatohkitopii” – Trevor Solway, Colin Van Loon
  • Best Cinematography – “Kaatohkitopii”
  • Best Story – “Re-Inventing the Wheel” – Chelsea McEvoy, Ryan Tebbutt
  • Best Audio – “Re-Inventing the Wheel”
  • Best Editing – “Present Movement” – Kevan McGovern


  • Best Feature Doc – “RiSE” – Ryan Tebbutt
  • Best Cinematography – “RiSE”
  • Best Story – “Vernon Talks – The Story of Luke Davis” – Robin Martin
  • Best Audio – “Mission Creek Restoration Initiative” – Jan Vozenilek
  • Best Editing – “RiSE”


  • Best Music Video – “Mylo Quinn – Cycle” – Beau Fipke
  • Best Cinematography – “DTG – Alexa” – Aaron DeSilva
  • Best Production Design – “Huey Doje” – Jordan Powers
  • Best Editing – “Ancient Engines – Two Hands Less” – Chelsea McEvoy


  • Best Commercial – “Good Fight” – Noah Dorsey
  • Best Cinematography – “Continuum” – Harrison Mendel
  • Best Audio – “Good Fight”
  • Best Editing – “Good Fight”


  • Best Wedding Video – “Lauren & Braeden” – Daniel Abraham
  • Best Cinematography – “Annie & Alex” – Aaron DeSilva
  • Best Audio – “Madison & Nav” – Tim Feeny
  • Best Editing – “Lauren & Braeden”


  • Best Fashion Video – “Witch in the Woods” – Trevor Trombley
  • Best Cinematography – “Witch in the Woods”
  • Best Editing – “Shealyn Portrait” – Trevor Trombley


  • Best Animation – “Al2-st (Altruist)” – Christo Vutev

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The Okanagan’s been my home since I was born. Life has taken me across the planet several times and through that transient lifestyle I developed a journalistic style to my photography and to my writing. My influences would be that of James Nachtwey, Annie Lebovitz, Ashley Maile, Hunter S Thompson, Leonard Cohen, Tom Waits, Tom Robbins, Wes Anderson and Charles Bukowski. The world outside this incredible valley, its cultures and its mystery is what’s kept me working and trying to save my money, so I can keep getting back into the world. That’s the way it used to be. Covid has opened my eyes to the land I call my home and there are so many tales to tell right here in BC. From tales of the impoverished to the neglected to those who overcome adversity, to the spirit to overcome fear, the power of storytelling has never been more relevant. I’ve always been a storyteller. There’s a tale worth telling in every neighborhood. I just happen to write about what happens to me along the way and I’ve kept them close to my heart, hoping one day I’ll have an outlet so I can tell those stories the best way I know how; by writing them down. From adventures of long ago, both here or maybe far away, future interviews with musicians, artists of all kinds, the coverage of events, the people I meet along the way, whatever I get up to I intend to have you as my guest as I go back in time and dig up the bones of those old adventures or chase down new ones. Through the alchemy of storytelling, you can come along with me if you like. Before Covid-19 I was really coming into my own photographing live shows; punk rock bands, hip hop showcases, tattoo portraits, rock climbing adventures, Femme Fatale burlesque performances you name it, the phone was finally beginning to ring. Then Covid showed up like a hurricane and I guess it wiped us all out in one way or another. I have a real bone to pick with Covid-19 and if I can share some stories for our readers to enjoy, I’ll do that and when we can return to live music and to foreign travel and we can safely get to working on mending what’s been damaged I tell you I want to be ringside like Joe Rogan commentating on Covid getting its ass whooped. I want to see it tap out and watch us overcome this hardship, raise our collective hands triumphantly and move on into whatever new normal is waiting for us. I’ll be there and through my eyes, just like the boss man, Hunter himself, I’ll do it in Gonzo fashion and bring you kicking and screaming along with me. So hold on tight and dig in. It might not always be pretty but I won’t call it all ugly, neither. That’s for you to decide. My name is Shane Collins and I hope you’ll read along with me and our team here at Gonzookanagan.com


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