Langara film grad wins Best In Show at Portland film festival

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Screenshot from The Hole. Photo courtesy of Steven Stiller.
Screenshot from The Hole. Photo courtesy of Steven Stiller.

Langara digital film production alumnus Steven Stiller won the Best In Show prize for his latest film, The Hole, at the Wizard World Film Festival last month in Portland, Oregon.

The festival is held in conjunction with the massively popular comic book convention, Comic Con.

The Hole, Stiller’s fourth film, is about a Canadian soldier trapped in a foxhole during the Second World War.

Stiller says the film portrays a unique type of Canadian humility, making it appealing to a broad audience.

“It’s more about sacrifice than glory,” Stiller said. “A small story in an epic setting, that’s how I thought about it. [In] World War Two stories, there never seems to be a Canadian voice, and being a very proud Canadian I wanted to give that voice to it and give it that Canadian character.”

Film career took off in Vancouver

Originally from Winnipeg, Stiller moved to Vancouver in 1999 to work in the film industry as an actor, and later progressed into making his own short films.

Stiller found success in the industry after releasing his first film, Guilt – about an aggressive panhandler who commits murder – but decided to enroll in Langara’s digital film production program, something he says took a great deal of humility.

“I thought I needed a better background technically,” Stiller said. “ Everything I did was from an actor’s standpoint and as an actor you’re not always in a position to see how everything works. I wanted to be able to talk to the actors, the director of photography and to the lighting guys from a place of intelligence.”

Film arts faculty remembers Stiller

Langara film instructor Jonathan Tammuz remembered Stiller for his strong work ethic.

“By the time Steven got to Langara he already had a bit of an acting career, he was a mature student, and he knew the industry, knew what it would take and he was going to get his way . . . and he’s made quite a reputation for himself,” Tammuz said.

Stiller graduated from the program in 2009. He said stubbornness helped him succeed in the industry.

“I won’t take no for answer. If I had one piece of advice it would be never accept hearing no,” Stiller said.

Although a date hasn’t been set for a Canadian premiere, The Hole is currently screening at 15 locations across the U.S. including New Orleans and Chicago.

 

Reported by Mike Hodder

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