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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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