November 19, 2021, we shot a one-off show at the Biltmore Cabaret in Vancouver, called The Mixtape. It represented the culmination of months of build-up and work from a handful of really wonderful people. Putting on a stand-up comedy show (and running it well) is often a difficult and thankless job, with a ton of work done behind the scenes for ninety minutes of trying to make strangers laugh. Doing it at a well-regarded venue, and introducing the aspect of filming it to produce a feature concert film, with one opportunity to get it right, introduces a lot of other logistical challenges. From initial conception to completion, was about ten months.
I was very lucky to recruit a number of awesome local comedians, trying to introduce a diverse cross-section of the strong Vancouver scene to a wider audience. A wide variation of experiences, styles, and points-of-view made this the incredible show it was. And with a skeleton crew of two others, we pulled off this monumental task. It was a huge learning experience – booking a larger venue, educating myself on finer technical details of high-end cameras and audio equipment, crowdfunding, merch and reward production, film editing, colour correction, working with lots of other people, being a “director”…
And then it was done, and the work that gave shape to every day was gone. Feeling adrift after such momentum is such an odd experience. There was still work to be done – I did the edit and almost all post-production entirely by myself. But the timed pressure was done. Through the whole experience up to the end was incredibly stressful and I was severely depressed frequently; right at the beginning, I was laid off for the second time in 14 months and staring down the barrel of an approaching school year in which I am living off my savings. I was pushing (and now am) thirty, and didn’t (and still don’t) feel I am where I ought to be in comedy. It was a dark time in some ways. On April 30th of this year, two days before I began school, we held a screening at the MOTN, where a little over a dozen people came in to see the fruits of our labour. It was surreal, watching people, watch the movie. And at the end, as the credits finished, the weight lifted.
It was done, done. And I’m proud of the final result. It’s unquestionably the best thing I’ve made, and fuck it… it’s really good. I like it. And I hope you like it, too. Here, for the public, is the concert film/documentary, the full interviews, and the B-Roll compilation.
The Mixtape was shot at the Biltmore Cabaret in Vancouver, Canada and feature’s some of the city’s best comedians, representing a diverse cross-section of material, style, and experiences. This live stand-up special is part documentary on the challenges, hills, and valleys of independent comedy and art in Canada.
Kevin von Helvete
DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY
From the bottom of my heart: Thank you.
Thank you to the comedians on the show: Alisha Dhillon, Amanda Smith, Amber Harper-Young, Ed Konyha, Jake Spencer, Kevin von Helvete, Kwasi Thomas, and Robert Peng. You all were such pros, were so prepared, did so well, and are good friends. If nothing else, I hope you had fun.
Most people only have one director of photography, but I was fortunate to have two: Morris Bartlett and Walter Conrad Sawan. Your knowledge, patience, expertise, and kindness and support were amazing. I would have crumbled without you. Thank you to Darragh Bourke, one of the most genuinely caring and helpful comics around.
Thank you to Scott McGowan and Josh Pope for being ever-present friends and wellsprings of advice and knowledge, as well as undertaking the writing and recording of a score.
Thank you to Simon King, Sam Tonning, Chris Griffin, K.C. Novak, Dylan Rhymer, Tyler Boissonault, Sophie Buddle, Sophia Johnson, Nina Wilder, Harris Anderson, Darcy Boon Collins, Julia Stretch, Joan Ullyett, Michael Lothian, Tanya Duprey-Sullivan, Jordan Wilson, Skye Portman, Jordan Ducharme, Peter Grant, Shalyn Ferdinand, Shawn Lawrence, Jenny Toews, Ivan Decker, Alex Sparling, Devin Alexander, Talie Perry, Chantal Michaud, Jackie Agnew, Jonny DiVito, and many others for the kind words, support, and advice.
Thank you to Megan Milton, Tanner McCoolman, Heather Szilagyi, Suzy Rawsome, Justin Nichol, Shane Clarke, Jo-el Oxales, Colin Sharp, Ryan Williams, Jeremiah Ukponrefe, Abdul Ali, Jay R, Nik Perry, Patricio Mendoza, Hector Rivas, Doug Radford, Arash Narchi, Nancy Ho, RavI Khanna, and everyone else who gave me stage time and let me cram spots leading up to the show.
Thank you to everyone who contributed to the Indiegogo campaign: Denise Lau, Jacqueline Ogilvie, Allayne McGowan, Dan Konyha, John Harbick, Chere Morigeau, Mike Arens, Aaron Arya, Brendan Bourque, Conor Mounce, Jon Gagnon, Miriam Gross, Pascal Belanger, Marie Benard, Merrilee Bogle, Les Ennis, Scott Aceman, David da Silva, Perry Wilson, Rae Bowser, Joan Athey, and everyone already tagged, and our executive producers, Dave Moorey and Signe Olynyk.
Thank you to Heath and Nicole at The Biltmore for providing the perfect venue for this show. And thank you to everyone who came out to the show to support live, local comedy. The most important part is that you enjoyed yourself.
Thank you to Emily Lau for being my rock and for loving me.