I was overcome with inspiration one night to sit down and write a short film about my maternal grandmother, Mary. It came to me in a flurry of images, like a film already shot and running through my head. In the course of a few hours, I had a first draft of a script loosely based on her early life.
It was a hard life. See, prior to meeting my Grandfather, Mary was first married to a cruel and mentally unstable man who would leave her and their infant son for weeks on end, disappearing into the wilderness of Northern British Columbia. He would only come back to steal food reserves she had built up. There she was, starting from scratch to scrape up enough food and supplies to keep her and her baby alive. Her ingenuity, resilience, quiet strength and bravery is what eventually got her and her son out of that situation. This all happened in a time where women had even fewer options than they do now. She could leave him, run away, but she never could divorce him. Eventually he ended up in a mental institution and after many years, died. She was only then free to marry my Grandfather and truly move on with her life.
Mary passed away when I was very young - 8 years old - but she made such a loving impression on me. Throughout everything, her sense of humour and kindness lived on. But this is not just her story. It is the story of so many women who have come before us and been through even worse. I am constantly in awe of female resilience. How women can stay 'soft' after having had to be live so 'hard' to survive.
Just over a year ago, I began to assemble a team to help me bring this short film to life. We launched an Indiegogo campaign and were able to raise a few thousand dollars towards production of the film. Filmmaking, however, is one of the most expensive art forms. With a period piece like this one, costs are high to ensure we tell the story in a realistic way. Late in 2017 I decided that I wanted to revisit fundraising, but in a way that gives back and honours Mary and female strength.
I decided to organize a charity dinner. The event is called Stories of Strength: An evening celebrating the resilience of women and proceeds benefits the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre and the production of “A Place Called Hope”. I have partnered with a caterer Tayybeh Syrian - a social enterprise that supports women refugees by fostering a community surrounding food and culture and already have some wonderful door prize sponsors on board. Lots of synergies happening all in support of women and celebrating female strength!
The dinner is on Thursday, March 22nd in Mount Pleasant. Tickets are $125/person and we are over half sold already! For full event details and to purchase, please visit the event website.
I would love for you to join us for this very special evening. Share with your friends, family, co-workers and on your social networks!
It would be wonderful to sell out so we can benefit the charity as much as possible, and add to the funds we've raised thus for to tell this story.