A little bit of Bellevue was transplanted into the heart of downtown Toronto, Canada for the recent finale of the annual film festival extravaganza.
“In Memory Of,” my short film, premiered Sept. 16 at the Carlton Cinema. When I boarded my plane at Sea-Tac, I never imagined that this creative endeavor, shot on less than a shoestring with hometown help, would be shown to a sold-out crowd. It was part of the Toronto Independent Film Festival, a headlining event for indie films that runs alongside the star-studded major studio fare of TIFF.
As I walked into the Carlton that night, I was surprised to see a line of theater-goers extending down the hall and around the corner. A large group was gathered at the box office clamoring for tickets. The attendant kept explaining that the screening was already over-capacity, extra chairs had been brought in and all who could squeeze into the back were being allowed to stand. She repeatedly apologized, saying that there was no more room. When some continued to protest, she assured them that many others had also wanted to get in, but couldn’t.
When I reached the theater door, the festival director approached me. Thinking I was in the wrong place, I blurted out, “This can’t be — “
He finished my sentence. “This is for your film.”
I was speechless. I have never felt that “In Memory Of” was my film. From start to finish, it was a collaborative, hometown product.
This is a story of love and loss, told through dance and a dreamlike editing sequence. I am the creator and leading lady. Although I had not trained in 12 years, I was able to rely on my Pacific Northwest Ballet School experience.
I shot the background for the film at Bellevue’s Clyde Beach Park during one stormy weekend. My childhood friend, cinematographer Brett Smith, filmed the dance on a green screen at Seattle’s Victory Studios.
Brett and I have been friends since we were 2 years old and our families attended the same Bellevue church. My leading man, Tom Trimble, is a Bellevue personal trainer. He once led a dance company, and helped me choreograph the short at Bellevue’s Arete Athletics after hours.
During the week of filming, it wasn’t unusual for us to be there practicing until 11 p.m. I edited the video from my Bellevue home. My friend Francisco Lopez, who has filmed the likes of Macklemore, came over and helped. We got through those late-night sessions by relying on Pagliacci’s Pizza.
If it weren’t for Bellevue, “In Memory Of” would not have premiered at a sold-out screening in Toronto. There would not have been a long line of theater-goes waiting to go in, and the standing room would not have been full. Bellevue was the real star of this production.
More about the Toronto festival scene, and my adventures there, are on my lifestyle blog, www.KatherineChloeCahoon.com.