“Put on long underwear!” Mrs. Losier worriedly reminded her son over the phone in one scene from In Their Shoes: The Experience, the documentary film made by Laurier Brantford student, Dan Losier. Those few words were possibly the only laughing matter heard during Losier’s independent film, which was viewed by a packed house at the Brantford Arts Block on Saturday October 16 when Brantford met its BFF- the first Brantford Film Festival. The festival ran all weekend, in various venues including the Arts Block, St. Andrew’s United Church and Laurier’s SC Johnson building. Features included local independent films, several of which were made by our very own Laurier students.
The sold-out event spanned roughly three hours. Despite a few technical difficulties, the crowd remained full of energy and support for the fresh cultural event.
Saturday’s session hosted at the Brantford Arts Block consisted of three films: Brantford and Me, a summary of Brantford’s economic and industrial past; Too Old and Fat to Strip, a film that follows Shirley Zegli, the 52-year old stripper who was fired from a Brantford strip club in 2000 for being “too fat and too old”; and Losier’s documentary.
Losier’s film focused on his experience living on the streets of downtown Brantford for 72 hours. Everything from his struggles surrounding food, weather, and his few and far between hours of sleep, were caught on film by his friend, fellow producer and cameraman, Tom Kennedy.
“The way it was filmed really added to Dan’s film, from the shots to the music – they added to the narrative,” says Chris Brown, first-year Journalism program student and attendee of the BFF. “It was much easier on the eyes than the other two productions.”
When he walked onto the street at the beginning of his journey, Dan had no technology, no money, and, who knows, maybe even no long underwear. The objective of the artistic and inspiring documentary was to draw attention to the hardships of those who we simply disregard and look down on every day. An ominous feeling that swept the crowd was appropriate for Losier’s film about his brief interlude as a homeless man. His emotion and passion for what he set out to portray drove the film and was felt by all.
Losier attended the showing of his production and was called to the front for a brief synopsis when organizers experienced some technical difficulties with one of the other films and needed to fill time. Losier took the time to remain the crowd of his film’s message.
“It doesn’t matter what they’ve done in their past,” he said, “they’re human and need our help.”
The film festival was both fresh and enlightening. Between homelessness, old strippers, and the history of the ever-promising Brantford, it looks like it was a good year for our new BFF.