The Vancouver Sun “Nightmare on Cambie Street”

A short look at construction on Cambie

Dan Haves, Special to the Vancouver Sun

Published: Saturday, October 06, 2007

If anything deserves to be immortalized on film, it is the Canada Line construction on Cambie Street.

Ana Valine will make her third consecutive appearance at the festival this year with her short film Nightmare on Cambie Street.  The film, which was shot in one day, looks at the destruction and loss that has come at the hands of the Cambie Corridor construction.

Valine’s previous two entries at the festival have brought her recognition in the form of two Leo Award nominations; the award celebrates the best in British Columbian television and film production. Her work has also been screened overseas at festivals in Russia and Spain.  All of this from a woman who made her first independent project just three years ago.

“I feel very lucky,” she says.  “Especially since I’m still really exploring the craft.”

Valine, who got her start in the craft by changing garbages and parking cars as a production assistant, says persistence was key to getting her foot in the door.

“I pestered the crew with questions the whole time with ‘what’s this, what’s that, what does this do?'” she says.

After venturing out on her own and filming her first short – alice and bastard – she also got a chance to attend her first festival as a contributor in 2005.  She didn’t stop there.

“I challenged myself to do a short every year and hope that it gets accepted (into the festival) so I can get that magic pass that lets me sit in the dark and watch movies for two weeks.”

Valine says that Vancouver provides a lot of support and she attributes much of that to her success.

“This is the community where I started learning and continue to learn everyday,” she says.  “This familiarity and trust goes a long way in terms of being able to translate a vision.”

Her family is another source of encouragement.

“I keep telling my parents that their friends are going to stop coming over because every time they have visitors they insist on showing (my films).”

Her latest film, which will be screened at the festival on Oct. 6 and 7, speaks directly to Vancouverites as it delves deep into to the Cambie Corridor debate. The film, with a title borrowed from the horror genre, paints a grim fate of Cambie Street business owners.

“I kind of started with a tongue in cheek approach, I mean ‘no one’s dying here,’ let’s get a sense of humour about this,'” Valine says. “But as I worked on it, did some more research, and learned more about it, I realized, ‘You know what, people are dying here'”.

The director, who still keeps in contact with some of the Cambie Street business owners, was disturbed by the desolate shop windows.

“The day I filmed there were 35 businesses closed, and now there are 40,” she says. “I couldn’t be glib about it anymore, because I was really affected by it.

“It’s about bringing awareness to (the situation) now,” she says of the project’s new focus. “By the time the Olympics happen, everything will be underground again and there will be a subway to the airport and everyone will be happy.”

The Cambie Street project is certainly not Valine’s last as she hopes to make films for many years to come.  “I’m working at something I love to do,” she says.  “It’s long, hard hours, but it’s a hell of a good time.”

Nightmare on Cambie screens on Oct. 6 at 9:30 p.m. and Oct 7 at 4 p.m. at the Pacific Cinematheque.