SCENES FROM BANFF


This past January I had the absolute privilege and pleasure to spend two weeks at The Banff Centre (see post “Acclimatization“) taking part in the 2012 WOMEN IN THE DIRECTOR’S CHAIR’s Acting Ensemble.

Well today I am pleased as punch to share with you two scenes that were shot as part of the program. The first titled JANUARY AND THOMSON ALONE was directed by Celia McBride, and the second, SIXY DINNER was directed by Sara McIntyre. Enjoy…

For more info on the many, amazing programs offered at The Banff Centre, please visit: http://www.banffcentre.ca/programs/program.aspx?id=1177

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OPEN LETTER TO ACTRA


Here’s a letter that I sent to ACTRA National, Toronto and Maritimes today, in an effort to get them to increase their funding to the Women In The Director’s Chair program. In case you haven’t figured it out by now, I had a pretty great time…

To Whom It May Concern,

I am a full-member of ACTRA (member #**-*****) who has just returned from The Banff Centre in Alberta. There in Banff, I was taking part in the Women In The Director’s Chair‘s acting ensemble, which had all go through a rigorous two-week program, working each day with some of Canada’s brightest up-and-coming female directors.

I understand that from your standpoint, the Women In The Director’s Chair program could be easily be mistaken as something that’s purely beneficial to the directors. Nothing could be further from the truth. Working in the environment that Carol Whiteman has constructed, which gives everyone the “freedom to fail” and puts the process before the product, I have rediscovered what it means to be a true collaborator.

And also, more so than ever, I feel that I have defined what it means (to myself) to be an actor. Talking with other members of the ensemble, we all agree that we’re leaving the program feeling more empowered as artists than ever before.

I’m writing you today to ask you to please consider increasing your contributions to the Women In The Director’s Chair program next year, as raising operating costs at The Banff Centre have already had negative impacts on the program; for example mentor-actor, Christianne Hirt-Shaw, was unable to stay for the full duration of the two weeks due to a lack of funding. A lost opportunity for the actors, no doubt.

I’ll be posting this open-letter to my website, GlenMatthews.ca, not in an attempt to call out ACTRA, but instead to show other actors how strongly I feel about the WIDC program, and to encourage them to apply to take part in this wonderful, invaluable experience.

I hope that by next January, when other performers have a chance to come to Banff and be a part of the ensemble, the program will be better funded by ACTRA, allowing the participants to get even more out of it than I did.

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,

Glen Matthews

Much love to my union, and to my fellow union members who will hopefully enjoy the benefits of the Women In The Director’s Chair some day down the road.

ACCLIMATIZATION


The Banff Centre asked me to write a blog entry for BanffCentre.org describing my experience as a member of the WOMEN IN THE DIRECTOR’S CHAIR‘s Acting Ensemble. Not knowing that I’m totally a professional blogger, I wowed them thoroughly. Enjoy:
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It’s now more than a week since I travelled to The Banff Centre and I’m still incapable of catching my breath. You could probably blame the 4,800 foot altitude in Banff (or perhaps my extended absence from the treadmill), but after two weeks of breathlessness, only one explanation remains: I think I’m in love…

It was a month ago when I received word that I had been selected to join the 2012 Women in the Director’s Chair Acting Ensemble. Talking to many of my peers in Halifax who, in the past, had participated in various programs at The Banff Centre, it didn’t take me long to get excited about my inclusion in the ensemble.

Since starting the workshop two Sundays ago (on the 15th), there wasn’t much time to stop and smell the proverbial roses; every day was jam-packed with exhilarating, exhausting challenges that kept us on our toes.

Early in week one, we had a day of auditioning (I literally mean a full day: I auditioned six times), after which the ensemble was assigned to work with their directors on the Main Scenes where the majority of our collective efforts were to be placed. I was chosen by directors Celia McBride and Sara McIntyre  to help bring their fantastic scripts to life.

We also worked on Guerilla Scenes. We were given scripts that intentionally had very little to no set-up and back story in an attempt throw us off our game and get our filmmaking-feet wet before launching into the Main Scenes.

The night before shooting the guerillas, WIDC Producer Carol Whiteman gave a speech about protecting the filmmaker’s “freedom to fail” which really stuck with me. The next day, during the Guerilla Shoot I felt inspired to attempt things that I ordinarily wouldn’t try. Small things, but things nonetheless; immeasurable to the naked eye, but [personally] groundbreaking .

After we wrapped up the Main Scenes (which went phenomenally), it seemed as though things were finally slowing down…a bit more bitter than sweet.

A phrase that’s been said again and again around here has been “It’s about the process not the product”, and you truly feel that. It’s something I’ll certainly try to hold onto as I try to acclimate (see what I did there?) back into the soul-crushing “real world” of show-business.

Thank you everyone in Banff. It’s been an absolute pleasure working with all of you.

Glen Matthews is a professional actor, currently based out of Toronto, with roles in HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN, THE CORRIDOR, MOBY DICK, ROLLER TOWN and HAVEN. He was recently voted Halifax’s BEST FILM/TV ACTOR by the readers of The Coast Halifax’s Weekly, and nominee for a Robert Merritt Award (Theatre NS) for BEST MALE LEAD PERFORMANCE for his work in 2010′s LOGAN AND I. Watch his demo reel here.

Photo credit: Don Lee.

Read the original post @ http://www.banffcentre.org/blog/2012/01/30/guest-post-actor-glen-matthews/