I’m always fascinated by people who have gained a great deal of mastery in one creative discipline and then dare to venture into another—only to become hugely successful in that field as well. Such is the case and story of Vancouver director Rob Leickner.
You see, Rob is a music guy. In the mid 1990’s, Rob and two of his friends started The Hive—an independent recording studio in Vancouver. What began in someone’s basement later evolved into a 3,000-square-foot industrial complex. Since its inception, the studio has recorded some of the most recognized names in independent music including Destroyer, Gigi, Ten Kens, The Cave Singers, and Black Mountain.
Now his first foray into the film industry happened by chance, really, when his friend Terry Miles (whose band, Ashley Park, he recorded at the studio) asked him to play the role of a mute director in a film he was making on a shoe-string budget. It was suppose to be just one-day shoot for Rob, but ended up being more. But Rob didn’t care, he was having fun working with his friends on what seemed to be a good film.
But the film wasn’t just good—it was great. When Life Was Good premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in 2008 to rave reviews and all the accolade took everyone who worked on the film on a bit of a whirlwind. It was this experience that inspired Rob to make something of his own.
“It got me thinking,” he says. “I didn’t just want to be a bystander. I wanted to make my own film.”
Now Rob didn’t have a lot of experience in the film industry, other than being a huge fan of films—in particular Korean and Chinese ones (in fact, it was his love for Korean cinema that inspired him to move to Korean and teach English for a year). So he decided to shoot what he knew.
The result was Rob’s first feature film, Everything Louder Than Everything Else, about a recording studio and all the characters that come through it, which premiered at the Whistler International Film Festival last December. I actually saw it in Whistler and I’m not going to lie—I was pretty surprised that I loved it. Here was this guy who had never shot anything before, completing an excellent first feature film.
In the same vain of his first feature (of shooting what you know), Rob is tapping into his experiences of living in Korea, being a long-distance runner, and, of course, working in the music industry to make his next feature film, Lost Lagoon, currently in pre-production and slated to shoot later this summer.
Lost Lagoon tells the story of Mi-Ran (Diana Bang)—a long-distance runner who moves to from Seoul to Vancouver under the guise of studying English but really comes to listen good music and run through some beautiful trails. But when Vancouver doesn’t turn out to be quite what she expected and when her beautiful older sister comes to visit, Mi-Ran finds that she is just as isolated in Vancouver as she was in Seoul. What ensues is a process of self-discovery.
Why the title Lost Lagoon?
“Because Vancouver’s Lost Lagoon was once part of the ocean but now it’s separated,” he says. “I like the idea of this isolated body of water being a metaphor for this young woman.
Rob is currently trying to raise funds for Lost Lagoon through Kickstarter—an online funding platform that allows people to donate to create projects in development. You can donate anything (from as low as a five dollars )and there are incentives to donate more (my favourite incentive is the opportunity to go on a 10km run with Rob!)
What is cool about the site is that Rob posts Mi-Ran’s running playlists (pointing you to some very cool music) and he even gives you running tips! I plan to download some of the music and run through Stanley Park… maybe even around Lost Lagoon.
A Miss604.com guest post by Michelle Kim
Guest contributor Michelle Kim is a local actor, producer, director, and writer. Her book, "Running Through Sprinklers" is available spring 2018 via Simon & Schuster. Michelle contributes write-ups about theatre, film, and the arts.