By Tom Read
Last Saturday we attended the Gillies Bay premiere of a special film, one made on location on Texada Island last August. Lily is a 15-minute short film written and directed by Claire Sanford, who is about 22 years old and just graduated from university last week. Claire grew up on Texada, and though her film isn’t specifically about our island, she told the 100 or so people at the premiere that this community, and the beauty of Texada Island, have inspired her for years.
I won’t give away the story. But the film convincingly portrays an unresolved conflict in a small island community, especially a prominent local citizen’s tormented conscience. The ending is startling, if not happy, and includes one of Texada’s icons, the North Island Princess (our ferry). Claire intends to put her film on DVD for a wider audience, and I’ll let you know when it becomes available.
Claire also showed us five other short student films, most of which featured her distinctive and captivating camera work. It turns out that one of Texada’s own has grown into quite a skilled cinematographer. For Lily, her first effort as a writer-director, Claire could barely stand to let someone else operate the camera. Now she’s off to Montreal to learn French and find work in the independent film industry there, where she hopes to direct more films.
We arrived on Texada when Claire was 13, and I still vividly remember her performance that year (in the same Texada Community Hall where we just viewed her film) playing back-up trumpet for Gary Fjellgaard and Valdy. Through the years I’ve seen this young woman volunteering at community events, playing piano and singing at the Texada School and singing with a group of her peers at the first Jazz on the Rocks concert in 2004.
So it’s only natural that the Texada community went crazy supporting Claire Sanford last year when she asked us to help her make Lily on location far from the urban film centres of Canada. The list of people and organizations who contributed – and literally took part – in the making of this film would take up more space than I normally devote to a Journal entry. I’ll just proudly say that this film, and the young woman who wrote, directed, and yes, produced it, truly belong to us, too.