Move Out Clean Voted #1 Short in Canada for 2011


The Shorts Report written by Canadian screenwriter, blogger and filmmaker Kellie Ann Benz has compiled her top 10 Canadian short films for 2011 and MOVE OUT CLEAN IS #1!

Kellie writes regularly for the National Screen Institute, Canadian Screenwriter Magazine and has helped the Vancouver International Film Festival program their international shorts.

Of all the films I saw in 2011 (and ‘a lot’ is an understatement) this film stayed with me the strongest.  A perfectly crafted poem to necessary endings.  Kelly-Ruth’s direction is flawless, energetic, angry and gorgeous.  The entire team must be commended for this MPPIA/Whistler Film Festival winning short that is truly a gem of film-making. It should be seen, shared, and lauded.

Thank you Kellie for your vote and for giving Canadian short films a voice and getting the word out there!  Congratulations to all the filmmakers we were honoured to be considered with.  Stay tuned for more exciting news on Move Out Clean.  To read Kellie’s full report, click here to read about all the other films.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Move Out Clean Invited to Screen at VIFF 2011



Vancouver, September 17, 2010

The short film Move Out Clean Directed by Vancouver filmmaker, Kelly-Ruth Mercier of Infinite Motion Pictures & Produced by Robyn Wiener of Synergy Cinema  has been invited to screen at the Vancouver International Film Festival in the shorts program Fire with 7 other short films.  From the description of VIFF’s program Fire is a purifying, masculine energy, connected to strong will and transformation.  Fire both creates and destroys.

Starring Gemini nominated actor David Richmond-Peck as Jake  (V, The Day the Earth Stood Still, Robson Arms, Fringe, and 2010), Alisen Down (Mysterious Ways, Stargate: SGU, Control Alt Delete) and Ben Cotton (Stargate: SGU, Stan Helsing, Riese, Harper’s Island).

Move Out Clean is about Jake,  who as he cleans his apartment, comes to grim realizations about himself and his failed relationship. Geoff Inverarity‘s screenplay takes on Jake’s journey as he revisits his past and his mistakes.  While he cannot save the relationship from it’s demise, the question arises, can Jake save himself?

Adding to the film’s artistic quality, is Rick Willoughby’s (Fireball, Civic Duty) Production Design and the beautiful cinematography of award winning Cinematographer David Geddes (Lie to Me, Red Riding Hood: The Tale Begins, Tucker & Dale vs. Evil)  The film’s music was created by award winning Canadian composer, Christopher Nickel (Loaded Dice, Thirst), who creates Jake’s world with his inventive & compelling industrial score.  The film’s story is ingeniously edited by award winning Editor, Luis Lam (The Devil You Know, About A Girl).

Move Out Clean was the awarded project chosen by The Motion Picture Industry Association & BC Film as the 2010 winning film.  In December 2010, the film had it’s World Premiere at the Whistler International Film Festival.

Screening times for the film are Tuesday, October 11 at the Granville 7 Cinemas at 9:15  opm and Wednesday, October 12 at Cinemateque at 3:45 pm.  Filmmakers will be in attendance for a short Q & A after the 93 minute program.  To purchase tickets for the film, please visit the online program guide for the Vancouver International Film Festival.

For more information please contact Kelly-Ruth Mercier at or Robyn Wiener at


In May, 2010, Move Out Clean was nominated for 4 Leo Awards at the Celebration Awards Ceremony on June 8 at Club 560.  Nominated for Best Cinematography (David Geddes), Best Picture Editing (Luis Lam), Best Overall Sound (Greg Stewart, Angelo Nicoloyannis, Roger Morris, Scott Aitken), & Best Sound Editing (Greg Stewart, Angelo Nicoloyannis, Roger Morris, Rick Senechal, Don Harrison).

And the Leo goes to..  Congratulations to our editor, Luis Lam on winning and for his creative and insightful editing on the film!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment



Media Contact:  Katherine Brodsky, Random Minds PR


Vancouver, BC – Sometimes, fairy tales do come true. At least that’s the case for Vancouver filmmaker Gary Hawes whose short film, THE MONEY PET, has secured Tony Award-winning actor, Alan Cumming, as the narrator of the modern day re-imagining of Aesop’s The Goose that Laid the Golden Eggs. The voice-over recording was completed today at Grammy Award Winning CDM Sound Studios in New York City, where Cumming is currently filming the CBS hit TV-series, The Good Wife. Cumming brings his distinctive, whimsical Scottish accent to this timeless tale.

Somewhat of a modern day Renaissance man, in addition to his work on The Good Wife, Alan Cumming has been awarded the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical for the 1998 Broadway revival of Cabaret, starred in films such as X2: X-Men United and the Spy Kids trilogy, as well as writing and directing the indie film hit The Anniversary Party and even writing a novel entitled, Tommy’s Tale.

Filmmaker Gary Hawes feels extremely fortunate to have the acclaimed actor lend his creative talent to this short film:

“I’ve known Alan for 8 years now and I’m always overwhelmed with his generosity and willingness to support independent film.   No matter how busy he is, he always makes time for projects he believes in.”

The Money Pet is the winner of Vancouver’s 2010 Hot Shots Screenplay Competition and is the story of a twenty-something slacker (Peter Benson) who discovers that his neglected pet dog can pass on currency with compounded interest. Soon the greedy pet owner puts his mutt to work, with dreams of infinite fortune ahead. But the consequences are bound to catch up sooner or later. Blending the classic theme of greed with the current setting of today’s economic climate, The Money Pet is a hilarious take on the age-old adage that warns us not to “Kill the Golden Goose.”

The Money Pet will begin its film circuit tour after it wraps post-production on May 24. It is produced by The Hot Shot Shorts Contest, The Celluloid Social Club, William F. White, Ameland Films Inc, Synergy Cinema Inc, and True Fiction Films.

For more information and updates, visit The Money Pet on Facebook


Posted in News, Press Releases | Leave a comment

‘The Money Pet’ wraps Principal Photography & heads into high gear with post production




WINNER of the 4th ANNUAL





Vancouver, BC…The Hot Shot Shorts Contest, The Celluloid Social Club, William F. White, Ameland Films Inc. and other sponsors are proud to announce that the winner of the 4th Annual Hot Shot Shorts Film Contest, THE MONEY PET by Gary Hawes (The Charlie da Clown Show, Swap, Pits), wrapped principal photography on March 27, 2011 in Vancouver, BC.

I am so excited about filming ‘The Money Pet’.  This is a script that I’ve wanted to make for over four years now, and thanks to the Hot Shots Contest, we finally got to!  The cast & crew we assembled were top-notch and I can’t wait to get this film on the festival circuit.”  Gary Hawes

The short film is directed by Hawes and produced by Robyn Wiener (Move Out Clean, My Inventions) of Synergy Cinema. The film stars Peter Benson (jPod, Pits) with Alisen Down (Control Alt Delete, Robson Arms, Battlestar Galactica), Alistair Abell (Rhino Brothers, Battle in Seattle) and Boomer the Dog (Juno, Firewall, I, Robot). The DOP is Stewart Whelan (Charlie da Clown, Kits) and is Executive Produced by Contest Founders Paul Armstrong (Moving Malcolm, See Gray Fly, Ill Fated) and Ed Brando (William F. White).

Funding for the film was supplemented by donations on IndieGoGo at

Synopsis – After his mangy mutt accidentally eats his laundry money, a man is soon bewildered to discover that his furry companion has passed the currency with compounded interest!  “The Money Pet” is a modern day tale inspired by the classic fable “The Goose that laid Golden Eggs”.


The purpose of the Contest is to provide the sponsorship support to an exceptional short film script that might not otherwise have the opportunity to be made into a film. It also creates a calling card for future filmmakers that will continue to invest in our community.

The Contest was founded in 2006 by Ed Brando, Paul Armstrong, Aaron Houston & Scott Campbell with Marilyn Thomas as Contest Producer.

Past Hot Shot winners have attracted great local talent including actors Peter Deluise (Stargate, 21 Jump Street) in The Bar, Jodelle Ferland (Twilight: Eclipse; Tideland) in Everything’s Coming Up Rosie and Monster as well as Ian Tracey (Da Vinci’s Inquest) in Everything’s Coming Up Rosie. These films have played numerous film festivals including the Vancouver International Film Festival, have won many awards including Best Film at three festivals and have been nominated for several LEO Awards.

4th ANNUAL HOT SHOT SHORTS FILM CONTEST SPONSORS:  confirmed to date (more to be announced – if interested in being a Sponsor: )

Airwaves Sound Design, Ameland Films Inc. ANZA Club, Basetwo Media, Best Foto, Can Am Importique, Celluloid Social Club, Cineworks, The Cold Reading Series, Copy That Productions Services, Goldtooth Creative, Impressions In Print, Like Minded Media, Lorne Lapham Sales & Rentals, Matrix Production Services, Genesis Integration Matrix Video, Monkey Ink Media Inc., Pangaryk Productions Inc, Port Moody Canadian Film Festival, PowerSourceMedia, Practicals Rental Lighting, The Prop Shop, Random Minds PR, The Research House, Sim Video West, Simpco Camera Support Inc, Sounds Xlnt, Synergy Cinema Inc., Telescopic Camera Crane Ltd., Truffles Fine Foods, VidCom , WCT Productions, Wendy D Photography, Western One, William F White International Inc.

– 30 –

Posted in News, Press Releases, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Synergy Cinema to produce the Hot Shot Short, The Money Pet

Synergy Cinema is happy to announce that pre-production is about to begin with True Fiction Films Director,  award winning filmmaker and colleague, Gary Hawes

The Money Pet has been chosen as this year’s Hot Short Shorts Screenplay Competition winner .  Chosen from over 75 entries & several rounds of jurying, this film is set to start production late March 2011.

I’m very happy to be a part of this film and the great team that Gary has assembled. I’ve had the pleasure of working with veteran, actor Peter Benson on The Wingman and Kits as well as actors Alisen Down & Alistair Able. I’m also thrilled to be teaming up again with our talented crew including Cinematographer Stewart Whelan, Production Designer Maurice Woodworth, Costume Designer Courtney Daniel and of course with Director/Writer Gary Hawes.  I think this is a very funny script and Gary has a very creative visual style that is really going to make this film great fun to work on.

Written and Directed by Gary Hawes, The Money Pet is a modern day fable loosely inspired by Aesop’s mid sixth century BC tale of “The Goose that laid Golden Eggs”. It is the story of a twenty-something slacker and his relationship, or lack thereof, with his pet dog.  When the mangy mutt accidentally eats his laundry money, his master is soon bewildered when he discovers his furry companion has passed the currency with compounded interest! Unsure of the apparent miracle he has just witnessed, the pet owner decides to test his theory by feeding the dog his weekend beer money. When the pooch pays back tenfold, the owner is overwhelmed with visions of infinite fortune. Greedily, the slacker feeds the poor dog his Grandmother’s gold wedding ring. But, the consequences are disastrous as he awakens to find his beloved money pet unconscious on the floor.  Blending the classic theme of greed with the current setting of today’s economic climate, The Money Pet is a hilarious take on the age-old adage that warns us not to “Kill the Golden Goose”.

The film’s Executive Producer & founder, Paul Armstrong of the Celluloid Social Club, has been running this festival for the past 3 years with previous films receiving numerous awards and accolades at festivals around the globe. The film is made possible by both the generous industry in-kind support along with a small monetary contribution.

It’s a great opportunity for emerging filmmakers to continue to create calling cards for themselves and establish their footprints in the film community.  I’m thrilled that Gary’s script was chosen but moreover, that this competition exists so that filmmakers have a shot with some support to make their films.

Presently, The Money Pet is slated to film at the end of March 2011.  A Money Pet IndieGoGo page for crowd funding has been created to help aid with our location fees, crew meals, insurance, etc.  We will be using an entirely volunteer crew and cast so any donations to this short would be greatly appreciated.  Just visit our page to see our campaign and hep bring this film to the screen.

For further information and updates, visit Synergy Cinema

You may also email us at if you are interested in helping out on the shoot, publicity information or any general inquiries.

Thanks in advance from our team and of course, Boomer, who is our leading star and fearless mascot keeping it real for us.

Posted in In Development, News, Pre-Production | Leave a comment

2011 was a great year for films but who will take home the Oscar?

After a pretty stellar year of films, I am truly impressed with the quality of good cinema that I have seen over this past year. Independent and smaller budgeted films such as Winter’s Bone, Black Swan, and Incendies are rivaling some of the bigger budget films such as Inception, Social Network and Toy Story. But, after great deliberation, here are my 2011 Oscar Predictions – let’s see how many of them are correct.


While there are nine contenders in this category, let’s face it, it’s going to come down to two – The Social Network and The King’s Speech. While The Social Network is a great film on many levels and defines a generation, my money is on The King’s Speech. Personally, I think Black Swan is a brilliant film but just Aronofsky’s previous films, most notbably, The Wrester, Requieum for a Dream and Pi, the Academy is sadly not ready to nominate a film that shows the darker side of the human soul.


I think this could very well be a situation where Best Picture and Best Director split.  I believe that Fincher does a great job directing The Social Network but if The King’s Speech takes it this could be Hooper’s Oscar.  I’m going with David Fincher on this one – to me, he directed, what could have been a very boring film about guys at their computers into a compelling drama with suspense, intrigue and relevance.   Danny Boyle should have been in this category though for 127 Hours and Christopher Nolan was robbed of a nomination too.


There isn’t an actor in this category that does not deserve to be there.  All stand out performances but I think Colin Firth will walk away with the golden statue in hand.  That being said, don’t miss any of these performances, particularly James Franco who stands out in a movie where he carries 90% of it on his own. On a personal note, I was saddened to see Ryan Gosling missing from this category for his brilliant work in Blue Valentine.


Get your tutu out because you’ll be pirouetting when Natalie Portman does a pas de deux with her golden partner on Sunday.  She’s truly heart-wrenching and riveting to watch in her transformation in this role.  Having worked with and around dancers, she’s bang-on in her portrayal of the dance obsessed world.  Annette Benning is the only other actress who could swoop this if the Academy thinks it’s her year.  But, my pointe shoes are on Portman!


If the Golden Globes and the People’s Choice are any indication, this will be Christian Bale’s year for Oscar.  He truly seemed to embody the real Dickey and bring this character to life for us on the big screen.  But, before we hear Bale’s long speech Sunday, I want to acknowledge John Hawkes and Mark Ruffalo – definitely worth more than nods and perhaps Oscar wins in coming years.


While The Fighter in my opinion is not the best film but certainly a good film, the performance of Melissa Leo is what great acting is all about.  A mother’s love that is so unconditional and yet at the same time so blinded by it, Leo pulls out all the stops and makes us take notice.  Gloves off for Leo on this one!


I’ll be honest here, I’ve only been able to see Incendies in this category.  I’ve read the buzz about the others and I’m going to be patriotic and vote for Incendies on this one.  Villeneuve’s direction of this intense family drama and being authentic to the original play, Scorched, has me voting for this one.  I’m true Canuck – what can I say eh?


Unless the Academy decides to go for the independent, low budget, 2D animated feature The Illusionist, my animatic vote is on Toy Story 3. I will be pleasantly surprised if The Illusionist took this one but Pixar seems to be the golden child of animated features.


Creating the dream world with visual effects, Inception gets my vote.


Pull the thread through the needle for Alice in Wonderland on this one.


My personal fave is for Matthew Libatique, (Black Swan) but I think the Academy is going to choose Jeff Cronenweth for The Social Network.  Roger Deakin (True Grit), is another fave DOP of mine, I think he will not win in this category. 


After seeing 127 Hours, I was very impressed with how a pretty minimalistic film could keep me riveted for so long.  Boyle’s direction was great and while I’d like vote for this one, I’m putting my Final Cut on Black Swan


It will probably go to Wolverine.  Too bad this is the only nomination Barney’s Version got. 


My cue sheet is for Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross for The Social Network.  High notes go to 127 Hours though.


I’d like to be less traditional here and vote for Dido for “If I Rise”, but I’m going to go with “Coming Home” from the Country Strong movie.  Why?   It’s very American, a heart pulling song and let’s not forget, it’s sung by Hollywood’s sweetheart, Gwenyth Paltrow.  Sorry Randy Newman, I don’t this one it your year.


I know these are distinctly two different categories but I’m running out of space so… my eardrums are betting on Inception for Sound Mixing and Social Network for Sound Editing.


If Inception does not take this one, then I’ll truly be surprised here.  For me, this is one of the few categories it should have been nominated in.


My pen to paper prediction is on Aaron Sorkin for The Social Network – today’s Mamet, his dialogue kept us going for over 120 mins.  Fast paces, smart, witty & a very well told story.   I also think True Grit should be acknowledged for adapting a classic film for today’s audience and doing only the way the Coen Brothers can do.


Considering it was a 20 year labour of love, The King’s Speech could very well walk away with this one.   However, The Kids Are Alright is everyone’s fave in California that is a supporter of Prop 8.  So, depending on who is voting, this one could win to help support that movement and be one of those surprise wins. 


I’m disappointed to see that Waiting for Superman was not in this category as it rightly should have been.   With that said, I’m guessing on this one as I’ve not seen the others but the hype on local LA grafiti artist Banksy has me betting that Exit Though the Gift Shop will bring this one home  Another contender is Inside Job.

Final Thoughts… I’ve left out predicting any of the short films as I’ve not seen any of them so my guess would simply be that, a guess without any reference.  Whether I’m right or not will remain to be seen after the 83rd Academy Awards this Sunday.  But, what is absolutely true is that this year has been a year to be in the theatres watching good cinema.  I’m glad to see that good stories are still at the heart of good films and that more and that creative filmmakers such as Aranofsky and Boyle inspire me to keep doing what I do.  Let’s hope the bar doesn’t drop for next year and I’m sitting here again pondering over more good stories & hard decisions.  Until then.. Happy 83rd birthday Oscar! 

Posted in Movie Notes | Leave a comment

Move Out Clean Prepares For Film Festival Circuit

The MPPIA awarded short film, MOVE OUT CLEAN had it’s World Premiere at the 10th Annual Whistler Film Festival on December 4, 2010.

With the tremendous support of MPPIA (Motion Picture Production Industry Association) & British Columbia Film along with the numerous vendors, cast & crew that lent their time, talent and services to this project, this short drama directed by award winning filmmaker, Kelly-Ruth Mercier is preparing for the start of festival submission. The movie’s poster, designed by previous MPPPIA winner Steve Deneault, shows the incredible support this community has for each other.

Synergy Cinema is proud to have produced this film with Infinite Motion Pictures that tells of the tale of Jake, a blocked artist, as he moves in-and-out of memories and fantasizes while cleaning out the apartment he once shared with his (now) ex-girlfriend.

Starring, David Richmond-Peck (V, The Day the Earth Stood Still, Robson Arms), as Jake, with Alisen Down (Robson Arms) as Laura and Ben Cotton (Harper’s Island). The “MOC” team is rounded out by a veritable who’s-who in the Vancouver film community. Director of Photography David Geddes (Life Unexpected, Men in Trees, Dark Angel, Lie to Me), Visual Effects Supervisor Jon Cowley (Tron, Twilight, District 9), Editor Luis Lam (The L Word, Dead Zone, Painkiller Jane), Production Designer Rick Willoughby (Davinci’s Inquest, Human Cargo) and Composer Chris Nickel (Deadliest Warrior, Iron Golem) round out this incredibly talented team. Mercier is reunited with screenwriter Geoff Inverarity on “MOC.” Previously, the two partnered on two festival favorites: Once Upon a Time on the Beach and Still Life WithScissors, but with Mercier serving as producer on both projects.

We will keep updating everyone with our progress as things move forward. In the meantime, we encourage you to visit and join our Move Out Clean Facebook page. We look forward to screening this film at a city near you soon!

Posted in News, Uncategorized | Leave a comment