From a foul-mouthed sandwich maker to a late-blooming 71-year-old street performer, a Vancouver filmmaker has spent the past year capturing B.C.'s quirkiest characters in short videos.
"There are a lot of interesting people, a lot of interesting stories here," Lewis Bennett told The Huffington Post B.C. of the reasons behind his provincial focus. "Plus, I don't have any money to travel."
One of the most memorable of Bennett's subjects is Surrey deli owner, Salam Kahil. In the jam-packed (and NSFW) "Sandwich Nazi" video, the former male escort manages to talk about blowjobs, expose full frontal male nudity, and reveal some genuine generosity.
(It's so good that it's being screened at the Slamdance Film Festival in Utah in January 2013 — which is why you can't watch the online version for now.)
At the start of the 2012, Bennett was flooded with recommendations from friends and Reddit to connect and film an interesting bunch of people but he was lacking real motivation to jump on the ideas.
"I needed some sort of reason to keep making them," Bennett said. " I needed some other push to do it. I really wanted to spend a year making films."
It was an American video project by filmmaker Alex Jablonski and cinematographer Michael Totten that ultimately inspired Bennett to aim high to shoot, edit and release one short documentary every month during 2012.
Bennett has completed eight documentary shorts so far. Other characters in his B.C. series include a grown man with a toy dinosaur as well as Shirley Buchan. A singer since the age of two, the Vancouver crooner didn't find the courage to perform in public until she was 71.
"I was so scared that first performance. I shook a half an hour before, I shook during, and I shook for half an hour after," Buchan says of her first street performance in "Shirley Sings".
Bennett's films have also been picking up awards and the attention of media as well as various major film festivals including the Whistler Film Festival and the Toronto International Film Festival.