Past Projects, a selected list:
STAND-UP SAMURAIS, about stand-up comedians working the small-town gigs of western Canada, and SUPERKIDS, about the rarified and surprisingly competitive world of gifted children, are hour-long documentaries produced for CBC. DARK PINES, a docudrama about the mysterious death of the legendary painter Tom Thomson, was produced for Bravo! and CODE GREEN CANADA, a home renovation series featuring 'green' technology was completed for CBC.
Laughing Mountain originated and co-produced three seasons of MIXED BLESSINGS (2007-2009), a half-hour dramedy series for the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network, and in 2011 the company completed PICTURE START, a one-hour documentary for Bravo! featuring the internationally renowned 'Vancouver School' of photoconceptual artists. 2012 saw the release of WHAT HAPPYNS, a 45-minute documentary essay by Ric Beairsto merging the opinions of young skateboarders and elderly lawn bowlers. IS THERE A PICTURE was privately financed and is a 2019 update and expansion of our 2011 production of PICTURE START, about the biggest art stars to ever come out of Canada, this time including Christos Dikeakos and Marian Penner Bancroft.
See below for more information on the above-mentioned projects. For distribution contacts and viewing availability please contact us.
IS THERE A PICTURE
“The 95-minute movie doesn’t pretend to be comprehensive about contemporary photography in Vancouver, and the participants don’t really attempt to define their own ethos—where’s the advantage in that? But a fascinating Picture emerges nonetheless.”
Ken Eisner, The Georgia Straight
IS THERE A PICTURE is a feature-length documentary telling the remarkable story (first told in PICTURE START, see below) of how the so-called ‘Vancouver School’ of photoconceptual artists launched Vancouver into the fine arts stratosphere. The documentary expands and enhances the original program with the inclusion of Christos Dikeakos and Marion Penner Bancroft, and takes the viewer not only to Dresden, Paris and Barcelona, but the magical surroundings of Haida Gwaii.
The trailer for IS THERE A PICTURE:
"Having told him that I watched What Happyns twice, thoroughly enjoyed it both times, but was still wondering quite what to make of it, Beairsto—who says he wanted to " 'create a work that no one could easily pin down'—responds, 'I'm quite happy to hear that.' "
- Adrian Mack, The Georgia Straight
WHAT HAPPYNS: MERGING URBAN SKATEBOARDERS AND LAWN BOWLERS is a 45-minute documentary essay by Ric Beairsto looking at the convergence of opinion which occurs when young skateboarders and elderly lawn bowlers are asked the very same set of questions. The questions in this case are ones like, "What is meaningful work?", "Who is a hero to you?", "Are you afraid of death?" and, most critically, "Are you happy?" The result is a quirky blend of wisdom, insights, frustrations and regrets unlike anything else you've ever seen.
An excerpt from WHAT HAPPYNS:
“People who matter from all over the world continue to go to Vancouver to see what’s going on there. It has the highest concentration of artists for a city of its size anywhere in the world. If you went to Cologne or Glasgow or Mexico City in the 1990s, it’s like that right now in Vancouver.”
- Berlin-based curator and critic Dieter Roelstraete
PICTURE START tells the remarkable—and unlikely—story of the emergence and rise of the original generation of the so-called ‘Vancouver School’ of photoconceptual artists, artists who are in fact the biggest art stars to ever come out of Canada, even though they remain little known to many Canadians. The 48-minute documentary focuses on three of these artists—Jeff Wall, Rodney Graham and Ian Wallace—who chose photography as their medium, offering insight into how and why their ascent occurred in a city until recently known more for its surrounding forests than its fine art.
An excerpt from PICTURE START:
Ukrainian plumber meets and marries Cree waitress. Perogies meet moose meat in a blended family to end all blended families.
MIXED BLESSINGS is a half-hour comedy-drama series set in Fort McMurray, the ultimate Alberta boomtown, about the ultimate blended family. The story sees Hank Kowalchuk, 38, Ukrainian plumber, fall madly in love with and marry Josie Fraser 33, Cree waitress. Both are widowed, both have older kids. Heartfelt comic mayhem is the result.
An excerpt from MIXED BLESSINGS:
CODE GREEN CANADA
12 homes. 6 weeks. $15,000 each. 1 grand prize.
CODE GREEN CANADA is a unique and entertaining 6-part television series which offers homeowners everywhere invaluable information on how to reduce energy and water consumption in their own home. In the series, which features Gillian Deacon as host,12 sets of homeowners from across Canada are each given $15,000, and then asked to employ those funds in a 6-week, mid-winter competition to gain the greatest reduction in energy and water consumption, as well as greenhouse gas emissions. Contestant strategies include everything from new light bulbs
to double-flush toilets to solar hot water heating.
An excerpt from CODE GREEN CANADA:
DARK PINES: A Documentary Investigation Into The Death Of Tom Thomson
Tom Thomson… Artist. Woodsman. Lover. Murder victim?
DARK PINES is an hour-long docudrama exploring the mysterious death of Tom Thomson, Canada's most famed landscape painter. His demise was originally reported as nothing more than “accidental death by drowning,” but the program employs a unique ‘investigative’ style to present evidence that, at the time, a proper investigation was suppressed, and that his death was in fact anything but accidental.
An excerpt from DARK PINES:
Just because you're smarter doesn't mean it's easier.
SUPERKIDS is a one-hour documentary about the rarefied, hectic, and surprisingly competitive world of gifted children. SUPERKIDS follows three gifted children, ages 11 to 13, as they graduate from an elementary gifted education class and undergo the arduous process of competing for admittance into a radically accelerated high school program located within the University of British Columbia.
An excerpt from SUPERKIDS:
Howling blizzards, drunken hecklers, bad food, seedy hotel rooms. Stand-up comedians working the small town gigs of western Canada can expect it all.
STAND-UP SAMURAIS is an hour-long documentary about the gruelling working life of stand-up comedians on a mid-winter tour through the small town venues of western Canada. Featured comics are Richard Lett, Tim Koslo, Nelson Giles, and Big Daddy Tazz; the venues played include the only bar in Gold River, BC, and the men-only Deer Head Night in Virden, Manitoba. Like the comedians themselves, viewers can truly expect to see it all.
An excerpt from STAND-UP SAMURAIS: