Recent History – 2001
May 31, 2001
By Mark Nielsen, Daily News Staff
Thanks to the B.C. Festival of the Arts, two Dawson Creek artists are taking advantage of some opportunities they otherwise might not have been able to enjoy.
Painter Valerie McMeekin is one of the students in a workshop hosted by renowned water colour artist Toni Onley, and filmmaker Cyndy Lorincz is getting tips from such luminaries as Genie award winner Raymond Massey.
“It’s always nice to feed off other artists and see what they’re doing,” said McMeekin. “And to watch a master and learn something from his techniques — maybe one day it’ll amount to something in my own art.”
Taking place in Fort St. John, the festival runs until June 3, showcasing art and music in many forms.
While McMeekin probably needs no introduction – some of her work is currently on display at the Dawson Creek Art Gallery – Lorincz’s achievements may not be so well known.
To gain a spot in the workshops, Lorincz sent in three samples of work – a piece on a Japanese master potter, a short about the women of the Peace and a music video featuring No Fixed Address.
“It was in the hope that they would see I desperately needed help,” she said with a laugh. “But also perhaps that I might have some small inkling of talent that they could further nurture.”
Contacted after her first day at the festival, Lorincz seemed pretty happy, if not ecstatic.
“So far today it’s been very exciting,” she said. “We have some just top-quality people here.”
Several others with vast experience have joined Massey in putting on the workshop.
“We are working with people who are in the business, directors and producers and cinematographers who bring not only a wide variety of backgrounds not only from national films to more local productions to even educational products,” she said.
She’s also impressed by the types of people who’ve been selected to take part in the workshop. Some do claymation, others write scripts, and there are even a few who’ve done full-fledged documentaries.
And they come from a broad range of backgrounds and age groups.
“We’re seeing that there’s more interest across so many sectors, which means that there’s going to be more voices,” she said.
She’s also been able to meet some of the few who have a similar interest.
“I mean sitting beside me is a girl from Taylor, who’s a delegate here as well, so I made a local connection,” she said. “And so you get to meet other people who have gifts and skills that you can eventually perhaps collaborate with down the road, and you can’t beat that kind of networking.”
The topic of financing is also a major component, particularly for those trying to get feature-length projects off the ground. Achieving such an goal is farther off for Lorincz.
“Down the road one day I would love to make a full feature film, a drama, but I’m a ways away from that yet. I have a lot to learn and that’s why I’m here,” she said.
Meanwhile, McMeekin has also been taking in the sights and sounds from the rest of the festival. “There’s so much stuff going on. It’s just amazing.”