Published on February 27th, 2015 | by Biz Books

The Biz Interview: Crazy 8s Filmmakers

We’re only a day away from the Crazy 8s 2015 Gala. As they prepare for their films to be screened, three of this year’s filmmakers spoke to us about their films and the Crazy 8s experience.

Can you start by telling us a little bit about you and your film?

Caitlyn Byrnes: I am a production designer and writer/director based in Vancouver BC. My film is called One Last Ride. It tells of an unlikely friendship between a young soul singer and a taxi driver.

This is the synopsis:

Tired of being ripped off by entitled hipsters, taxi driver Inderjeet Dhaliwal is prepared to call the cops when his latest customer, a boisterous young soul singer named Maggie, can’t pay the fare. Desperate to get to her audition, Maggie attempts to find some common ground between them, and uncovers an unexpected shared love of deep soul music.

Jem Garrard: I’m a Writer and Director from London, UK and Vancouver has been home to me for the past six years. In that time I’ve been directing and shooting music videos, commercials and documentaries. My film is called The Wolf Who Came to Dinner and it tells the story of 8 year old Bea Barkley who imagines her Moms dinner date to be a werewolf and she makes it her mission to get rid of him over the course of the evening.

Mo Soliman: I’m Mo Soliman, writer/director for the film Under A Glass Moon. UAGM is both a mystery thriller and a character-driven piece, where a world of secrets unfold as the story is told.

Can you tell us about how the idea for your film came to be and what your creative process was like in making it come to life?

Caitlyn Byrnes: My film was inspired by my own experience as a struggling artist, my love of fleeting moments of human connection, and more than anything the soulful music and wild spirit of my friend Colleen Rennison who stars in the film. I wrote it for her.

I had the idea for some time but it wasn’t until I was talking to a friend about Crazy 8’s that I thought it might be a viable way to make my film come to life. Then I pitched it and the rest is history!

Jem Garrard: I grew up in a single parent family with my Mom and two sisters and we were always creating characters and monsters. I’m a big fan of monster movies and horror and a lot of my stories are about family dynamics so I decided to mesh the two. It’s part autobiographical I guess. The script was developed over a period of about seven or eight years. The six months leading up to the crazy 8s pitch deadline was when the script really started to come together for me.

Mo Soliman: I’m a big fan of the genre, especially Hitchcock and I wanted to create a story which uses these elements of suspense storytelling. I also wanted to explore how the medium of film can evoke the very primal emotion of fear. Essentially it is a film about coming face to face with your worst fear. So it’s kind of an experiment in story telling that I wanted to undertake. There are surreal elements and very subjective visuals in this film aimed at creating a visceral experience for the audience

What was the most memorable moment for you in the Crazy 8s process?

Caitlyn Byrnes: The first time Colleen sang on set for the camera – it was in that moment I really realized that the film I had in my head for so long was actually being made!

Jem Garrard: The most memorable part, there are many. Production went really well – seeing the wolf and these characters I’d had in my mind for so long come to life was surreal. Post was insane. I learned a lot about myself. I can pull four all-nighters in a row (and I don’t drink coffee!). But probably getting the call that I had made it to the final 6 is up there with memorable moments. I was with family and friends and it was a great celebration.

Mo Soliman: When I got the phone call at 11 p.m from the Crazy 8s producers telling me I got selected!

What books have been influential to you so far in your career?

Caitlyn Byrnes: On the Road by Jack Kerouac. I read this book right before I left on a trip for India was I was 18. It has really informed my view of life every since. Particularly my view of art.

Jem Garrard: I read a lot of everything. I’m a big sci-fi geek actually so Isaac Asimov and Ray Bradbury are up there. I’ve also been heavily influenced by J.D. Salinger’s work.

Mo Soliman: I think reading is imperative to what I do. My favourite film books are Hitchcock: The Definitive Study by Francois Truffaut, The Conversations: Walter Murch and the Art of Editing Film by Michael Ondaatje and Easy Riders, Raging Bulls: How the Sex, Drugs, and Rock ‘N’ Roll Generation Saved Hollywood by Peter Biskind. Non-film books include everything by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Milan Kundera, Albert Camus, Kafka and Naguib Mahfouz.

What other projects are you working on and where can we find out more about you?

Caitlyn Byrnes: I just finished designing a feature called Unseen and will likely be going on to design a few more projects soon! You can find out more about me and my team at or

Jem Garrard: Currently I have three short sci-fis in post, nearing completion. My feature documentary Guns to Mics is being released in April and I’m jumping into pre-production on a comedy TV show called The Switch. I’ll be directing the first season beginning in April.

Mo Soliman: Currently I’m producing a video series for Government Canada as well as TV spots for the United Nations Development Program. You can check out my website at


For more information about Crazy 8s, please visit

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