This past weekend was my one of my personal favourite events on the calendar in Tofino, the Tofino Guerrilla Film Festival! As a fundraiser for the Tofino Film Festival, locals submit their own cinematic works of art to be voted upon by the raucous audience at the Shelter Restaurant. I narrowly won the event for the second time last year by only one vote for my film “The Local Menace” (which you can find on this Blog). The Three-peat was not to be however, as this year the win went to Markus Pukonen for his Stand-up Puddle-boarding Mockumentary.
Nevertheless, filming these projects is always a blast, and this one was no different. Driving on the logging roads is always a good time, so I wanted to showcase that while paying tribute to one of Television’s best known shows. Also, I should mention that although it seems like we were driving around with reckless abandon, we were actually very careful to do things safely! No cars were harmed in the making of this film.
Here it is, Enjoy!!
For their wedding, Jamie and Ron were looking to keep things simple and chose to have a small ceremony with only their closest friends and family present. The bride and groom each quietly got ready in their rooms, Jamie getting her hair done up ensuite by Lise from Salty Dolls. With the expectation of the stormy weather and grey skies that are more common in November, they chose to have their ceremony in the Great Room at Long Beach Lodge. Instead of the storms however, they were gifted with an unusually bright, beautiful fall day, the kind of unexpectedly beautiful day that seems to always work out for weddings. The sunny weather gave an extra energy to an already emotional ceremony, and when things got under way Jamie and Ron were clearly thrilled to finally be tying the knot as they laughed and cried their way through their vows and exchanging of rings.
After the ceremony and a family photo session with Marnie Recker, Jamie and Ron took a stroll through the rainforest near the lodge, then found themselves back on the beach for a stunning sunset over the rolling waves of Cox Bay. For me, it was a little like deja vu, watching a newly married couple enjoy an unusually gorgeous sunset on their wedding day. Not a bad day at the office.
Thanks, Jamie and Ron, for making me a part of such a special day.
Living in Tofino for a few years now, I’ve learned to love September. The town starts to quiet down from the summer rush, fog is no longer a daily occurrence, the swells start to get better again, but most of all, the weather is incredible! Desirae and Karl must have known this when they picked their late September wedding date, and sure enough September delivered. Their ceremony happened on Cox Bay, right in front of the Long Beach Lodge, under the warm September sun with a strong Pacific swell rolling in behind them. On a day like theirs, the sunflower definitely seemed like the perfect choice for a bouquet.
After the ceremony the newlyweds and their guests enjoyed a champagne toast on the Lodge’s patio before Desirae & Karl snuck off for some photos with Marnie Recker, and more importantly, some fish tacos from Tacofino! Desirae & Karl made it back to the beach with their guests just in time for what had to be the best sunset of the year (I saw a lot of sunsets this year so that’s saying something!). It was really special to see the entire wedding party come out to enjoy the sunset. The kids played with kelp and driftwood while couples paired off and enjoyed some tender moments together while the sun sank behind the horizon. It was a fitting way to mark the end of what had been such a beautiful day.
Christina and John are a perfect example of how family helps build a strong relationship. It was the common theme from all the toasts of the evening, with family members from both sides sharing their stories of memories with the happy couple. It occurred to me that these memories were also moments that must have helped strengthen their relationship, and shape it into what it is today. Christina’s uncle shared the story of when John and Christina came to live with his family in Scotland, and how through that experience John became a member of his family. It was experiences like these on both sides of the family that led John and Christina to their wedding day and the life they have together today.
Christina and John were married in front of the Pacific Sands Resort, in the small cove at the north end of Cox Bay Beach. Their cocktails and reception happened at the Tofino Botanical Gardens oysters, hors d’oeuvres, and barbecued salmon provided by Red Can Gourmet. They were photographed by Marnie Recker and the entire day was co-ordinated by Sheila at Rare Earth Weddings, with help from Smashing Glasses.
The biggest challenge I had when putting together Adele & Sandy’s film was deciding what to include and what to leave out of their edit. Despite only spending a few short hours with them, I was able to capture so much. Since it was just the two of them, their celebrant Barbara Densmore made sure Adele and Sandy took their time to read through the vows and promises they wrote for each other to let things really sink in. She also included some important symbols to tie together what mattered most to Adele and Sandy’s relationship. Their Family. Adele and Sandy brought a stone from their home in Alberta, which they marked and left hidden at the ceremony site. They also collected five small stones from the island’s pebble beach to represent Adele, Sandy and their children. The stones took the place of rings, over which Adele and Sandy sealed their new vows. The day was warm and peaceful, the ceremony simple and beautiful. Congratulations, Adele & Sandy, on 10 years of marriage. Thank you for letting me take part.
Like most couples, Brandi & Neil wanted their wedding to be unforgettable. The way they went about doing that was a little different than most. Brandi wanted to make a big entrance, so she decided to arrive at her ceremony not in a limousine, but in a helicopter! To make this an unforgettable entrance it had to be kept secret, so the only people who knew were the planners, photographers, myself and the marriage commissioner. She even managed to keep the secret from her Dad, who was to walk her down the aisle. She told him that she wanted some photos together before the ceremony. I think he must have figured it out when we pulled into the Atleo Air hangar at the Tofino Airport. Brandi’s Dad was already looking forward to walking his daughter down the aisle, so the chopper ride was icing on the cake for him. He was smiling ear-to-ear the entire time. The energy and excitement of the helicopter at the beginning of the ceremony carried throughout the rest of the day, and their reception was filled with lots of laughter, love, hugs and dancing.
Brandi & Neil were married on Mackenzie Beach by Andrea Hanson and had their reception at the Tin Wis Resort. Their flowers and decorations were provided by Petal & Kettle and their cake was made by Coastal Cakes. The guys from Vivid Photography were there to capture some amazing photos. The helicopter entrance was piloted by Josh at Atleo Air. Thanks you, Brandi & Neil for making me a part of your big day, and thanks for the chopper ride!!!
When Rebecca contacted me last spring to inquire about booking me for her wedding, she said she was acting on the advice of all of her girlfriends who were recently married. With a few months to go before her big day in Tofino, Rebecca asked her newlywed girlfriends what they wish they had done differently now that their weddings had come and gone. Rebecca said it was almost unanimous that everyone wished they had hired a videographer. A big part of what makes weddings special is getting families together, which doesn’t happen very often. While wedding photos are beautiful and can bring back some special memories, there are certain things that only video can fully capture.
In David & Rebecca’s case, one of those things is when one of their guests pulled out a ukulele and sang an Elvis cover, then read a poem that they wrote earlier in the day. Another was when the entire reception hall sang Rebecca her childhood lullaby as their version of the kissing game, or when Rebecca serenaded her new husband with “You are my Sunshine”. They are all moments that one will never forget, but would like to relive again from time to time. This wedding was so full of special moments, it was truly a struggle to fit everything I wanted into the highlight video. The day was gorgeous from the foggy morning to beautiful sunset, the ceremony was personal and intimate, and all the toasts were eloquent and heartfelt. David and Rebecca are truly fortunate to have each other, and to have so many loving family and friends who surround them. That’s what weddings are meant to celebrate.
Dave & Rebecca were married at Middle Beach Lodge in Tofino. They were photographed by Gabe McClintock. As you’ll see in the video, Rebecca did her flowers herself! I think she might have done this before…
Even if they came from Utah, Anna & Aaron are a true West Coast couple. They had met in Vancouver while working on the 2010 Olympics and really fell in love when they came to Tofino together for the first time. So it only seems appropriate that five years after they met, Anna and Aaron would be back in Tofino once again along with their new daughter and all their closest friends. Their love for the area is obvious and they really wanted their guests to embrace what the west coast has to offer. On the evening everyone arrived in Tofino they were greeted with a crab cookout right on the beach amongst the driftwood, then on the morning of the wedding they all cast off to enjoy a whale watch with Jamie’s Whale Watching.
I admit that when I heard Anna & Aaron had both worked to plan the opening and closing ceremonies for the Vancouver games, a part of me wondered whether I might see animatronics and fireworks during their ceremony. As it turns out their wedding was decidedly the opposite of spectacle. The only fireworks were emotional, the ceremony was held deep in the rainforest and reserved only for Anna & Aaron’s closest loved-ones. The reception dinner was held on the Wickanninish Inn‘s secluded Shell Beach, and in true west coast style they enjoyed a salmon barbecue followed by cocktails around a bonfire. The wedding as a whole was intimate and beautiful, but most importantly it celebrated the love that Anna & Aaron shared together. In the end the only nod to their connection with the Vancouver Games was their wedding cake in the shape of the Olympic rings which came out aglow in sparklers.
Despite being such an intimate wedding, it was packed full of so many great moments that all needed to be included in the final film. From the whale watch to Anna & Aaron’s vows, so many priceless moments with their adorable daughter Meena and such great toasts from both Anna and Aaron’s fathers, none of it could do to be left out and the end result is my longest wedding film yet! Thank you so much, Aaron & Anna, for making me a part of your special day.
I have come to realize that part of my job involves keeping secrets. Sometimes I have to keep planned surprises by grooms hidden from brides, like I did with Scott and Fiona and their fireworks show last summer. More recently, I helped hide the surprise entrance of a bride to her ceremony via helicopter (stay tuned for that video)! When it comes to elopements, the secret is often the wedding itself. After all, isn’t that part of the excitement of eloping? Running off to get married before anyone finds out! Well, people will find out eventually of course, so it is nice to have something from your special day to share with the people who matter when you’re ready to break the news. In Scott & Melissa’s case, while they came to Tofino to marry with just a few witnesses last spring, they decided to keep the details a secret until a family party this past August weekend. Now that the secret is out, I finally get to share their video! I’m glad the time has come because I really think it turned out great.
Melissa & Scott were married at Long Beach Lodge by June Hanton, and photographed by Karley Bracey. Flowers by Crab Apple Floral.
A couple weeks ago was the 6th Annual Tofino Film Festival and my favourite event of the year, the Guerrilla Film Competition! This event is so fun because everyone in town crams into the Shelter to show off their videos, which are usually pretty silly and hilarious. Last year, I actually won the event along with a couple of hilarious friends, Sarah and Kaela, for our video “Sh*t Tofitians Say”. This year, Kaela and I were making videos apart from one another, so I knew I’d have some stiff competition if I wanted to win again. So I went big. Once I got my idea, I knew that if I could pull it off it would be amazing.
To be honest, this is a video I’ve wanted to make since high school, when I started making shorts for fun with friends. That’s exactly what this video was really all about, me and a few buds making a movie just for the fun of it. The Guerrilla contest just gave a good reason to do something we always wanted to do! Winning again was just a bonus!
The Local Menace from On the Beach on Vimeo.