On April 23rd, 2022 we saw over 120 people come out to enjoy an evening of Member Initiated Productions (MIPs) screened at the Pauline Boutal Amphitheatre, a beautiful room at the Centre Cultural Franco-Manitobain (CCFM). Spirits were high and the room was buzzing with energy and appreciation to be able to see old friends and faces we hadn’t seen uncovered (or covered still) for what felt like a very long time. It was like a reunion! Top that off with some wonderful films, and everything considered, it was a wonderful night.

Congratulations again to Cory Wojcik and Mandeep Sodhi on winning the Golden Boy Award for their co-directed MIP, Not Funny. Contrary to the title, it was genuinely VERY funny, and garnered the most laughs all night (with the exception of my Will Smith joke. You had to be there.). However, all the films were worthy of recognition, and in my closing remarks that night, I reiterated what we all know to be inherently true; that art is subjective and making a competition out of it has less to do with how good a film is, and more about creating a reason to celebrate each other’s work, energy, and talents. Film is truly a collaborative art and the none of it could happen without the collective efforts of the team. A shout out to Fernando Dalayoan who was awarded the Diversity Prize for his suspenseful thriller short, Regalo; and the Indigenous Prize (sponsored by Eagle Vision) to Darcy Waite for his comical crime caper, You Did What?

Honestly though, EVERY film deserves praise. I say it every year, that the MIPs keep getting better and better, and every year its true. Karen Tusa’s Richard the Third, starring a hopeful Jan Skene and a kooky Dean Harder, was charmingly nerdy. And Aiden Ritchie’s dry sarcasm brought some comic relief to the awkward scenario. Darcy Fehr and Cam Patterson’s AntiBody was an intense ride with an all too familiar theme and used sound to a very effective end. (As a sound aficionado, I appreciate that attention to detail!) Aaron Merke’s Only Human was heartfelt, genuine and vulnerable, not to mention tastefully shot. Anjali Sandhu’s comedic sensibilities were showcased in the aptly named, Minor Alterations. The Caper by Anita Daher and Jeff Eyemie was a fun romp and I can testify that it was also enjoyable to work on, especially alongside the talented Jean-Jacques Javier, who racked up roles on THREE MIPs this year. Finally, I wanted to commend Stephen McIntyre for his nuanced and powerful performance in John B. Lowe’s Reconciled.

As always, we love to see first-time filmmakers trying their hand at filmmaking, as much as we like to watch a filmmaker’s evolution in the craft. The point of the program in the first place was that so members could learn the art of filmmaking, and we see it as a huge success. As such, we will continue the program, and are constantly striving to find ways to enhance the experience for people. So, get your scripts and your teams ready because the next call for submissions will be announced soon!

Alan Wong
President and National Councillor
ACTRA Manitoba

Mandeep Sodhi, Shannon Guile, Cory Wojcik, Terry Ray