Published on April 2nd, 2018 | by Biz Books

2018 Storyhive Spotlight: When I’m Dead is pleased to showcase a few of the local creators for this round of the 2018 Storyhive Digital Shorts Edition.

In this interview, we talked to Vesta Giles about When I’m Dead.


Can you start by telling us about you and your film?

My name is Vesta Giles and I’m a Kamloops-based writer / director. When I’m Dead is a passion project I’ve been working on for over a year. It was inspired by true events that happened around the death of one of my best friends on Boxing Day a year ago. It’s actually, for the most part, a heartwarming comedy about that first moment you enjoy a really good laugh after someone close to you passes away. Up to that point all the joy is sucked into this black void left behind by the absence of the person you cared about. That first laugh, for me, was when I started to believe that I might actually find joy again.

This story follows Amelia and Andrew, a couple who are grieving the recent loss of their adult daughter, Lizzie, to cancer. Amelia is drowning in her grief and pushing her husband away. She is dreading cleaning out her daughter’s possessions because she believes it will make the grief worse but a shocking surprise she finds in the boxes of her daughter’s things changes everything.

Who else is involved in this project?

One of the many great things about this project is that we are creating it entirely with a cast and crew who either live in Kamloops, or who have deep ties to Kamloops. And the people who are committed to doing it are there because they believe in the story and they want to create a cohesive film community here at home. And all of us have great credentials that we’re bringing to the production. My background is writing and I had a MOW produced that aired last year on Lifetime in the US. Nolan McAllister from Alpha-Omega Productions is a young cinematographer here who is really championing the local production scene. Along with Nolan Chapman, who will be editing When I’m Dead, the three of us have two short films about men’s mental health issues that are currently in post production. James MacDonald, Artistic Director for the Western Canada Theatre Company and Mavourneen Varcoe-Ryan, an actor and theater director from Spences Bridge are our lead actors. Everyone who has jumped on board this project is enormously talented and committed to bringing this story to the screen.

What would making this film mean to you?

Getting to make this film will mean so much to me on a personal level, and to our team on a professional level. Personally, this story is a tribute to my friend and the joy she gave all of us, and it’s really a reassuring message for all people who are in the beginning of the grieving process – although it may not seem like it the sun will shine again things will be funny again.

Professionally, this film is important for all of us. It feels like it will be the beginning of great collaborations between many professionals in the area. It gives us a chance to create a quality cinematic project here at home instead of having to look  to the coast and struggle with the notion of having to leave home to make art. We are already looking at reaching out to create a network here where we can get together, work on each other’s projects, take risks and share the results.



What film-related books or authors have been influential in your career so far?

I think most of the books I’ve been inspired by have been around writing. The Art of Dramatic Writing by Lajos Egri has always been close at hand. If You Want to Write by Brenda Euland, Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg, and most recently Wonderbook by Jeff Vandermeer are also some of my go-to references. As a Director I’ve recently been poring through Guillermo del Toro: At Home with Monsters: Inside His Films, Notebooks, and Collections. Although When I’m Dead isn’t a fantasy I’m fascinated by the idea of layers of themes and imagery. I’ve also loved driving down to Vancouver for day trips to see some of the DGC talks at the VanCity Theatre. Catherine Hardwicke did a talk two summers ago that blew me away and inspired me to want to direct. I’ve taken pieces of that talk into each of my projects. If she wrote a book I would probably need to buy multiple copies due to excess wear and tear.

Where can we find out more about your film?

Hopefully you’ll find out all about it on Storyhive if they fund our project. In the mean time, however, we have a great Facebook page, we’re on Twitter as @whenImdeadshort, and I’m going to be journaling the entire process of making the film here.


Thanks to Vesta Giles for speaking with us!

For more information about this project and the other Storyhive digital short entries, please visit

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