Skip to content

These northern B.C. filmmakers won big at the B.C. film industry awards

Filmmakers with Prince George and Fort St. James connections took home Leo Awards

Three filmmakers with a Northern B.C. connection won at this year’s Leo Awards, which celebrates the best in the B.C. film and TV industry.

Dylan Playfair from Fort St. James and Isaiah Berra from Prince George were nominated for Whistle, a film shot in Fort St. James, in categories of best short drama, best short drama production design and best performance male, short drama.

Playfair won for best performance and Berra won for best production design. 

Whistle is a film that tells the story of Emma who returns to her childhood home after her father’s death. What is supposed to be a simple funeral service becomes a journey of nostalgia making her confront her bittersweet relationship with her father.

“We shot whistle in northern B.C. in the dead of winter where my fingers literally split open from the freezing cold, but I consider split fingers to be an honour when it’s because I have been welcomed in the storytelling process by Chris Sebastian Joys and Dylan Playfair and the most brilliant director Jen Araki,” said Berra during his acceptance speech.

“This production design was helped beyond belief by the generous community of Fort St. James.”

Playfair also gave an acceptance speech when he received his award for best male performance in a short drama.

“About 10 years ago I packed up my Chrysler Sebring and drove out to Vancovuer with a dream of becoming an actor,” said Playfair adding that the left behind a not-so-promising career as a hockey player, but found a community of collaborators in the industry.

“This film was a culmination of a lot of hard work with my incredible fiancé who directed the film, Jen. I couldn’t have done it without you,” said Playfairr.  

“We are getting married next month, and it is literally a dream come true. We worked really hard and went out to my hometown of Fort. St. James British Columbia and shot this in -45 C weather —The community came together, and we made something special, and I am incredible proud of it.”

Braiden Van Grootel from Prince George also gets the nod for best student film for Darkside and won best student production.

Darkside is a sci-fi short film created as part of the motion picture arts program at Capilano University.

It was one of the most ambitious project attempted at Capilano University. At its biggest, Darkside required the creative efforts of 50 plus crew members, across 11 departments, working in 2 different units.

It tells the story of the aftermath of a devastating tragedy which disrupts the lives of an astronaut named Sam and his wife Sarah.

He accepts an interstellar mission to save the lives of a missing crew on a deep space voyage, abandoning his life on Earth in the process. But when a critical failure leaves him without a crew, and without hope, he’s forced to reckon with a harrowing guilt he can no longer avoid.

The Leo Awards are a project of the Motion Picture Arts & Sciences Foundation of BC and have been celebrating excellence in British Columbia film and television since 1999.