Death Brings Happiness to Filmmaking Duo

The Death of Theodore Graham has film festival audiences laughing themselves to death. Join VFS Film Production grads Erik Hecht and Celeste Olds on their (successful) search for life after film school.

The Death of Theodore Graham tells the tale of a nine-to-fiver who’s flabbergasted when Death comes knocking. Death explains that Theodore had requested sweet release after a nasty break-up with one of the many loves of his life. His name was briskly appended to the mortal queue, and now – three years later – Death has come to collect.

The Idea of Death

“My original thought was that the film would be fairly serious, but then I realized that the idea of Death being behind schedule was kind of ridiculous.” Erik says. Once the notion of comedy entered Erik’s mind it lead to only one person – Celeste Olds. “She’s the funniest person you’ll ever meet,” Erik says of his co-writer.

“I used to consider myself a writer, and I thought I was good at it, but what I love is coming up with ideas.” Erik says. Celeste was relegated to the task of meshing her and Erik’s ideas together, structuring, and ultimate forming the screenplay.

“She was stuck in the tiny little office in my studio apartment while I paced around the kitchen just rambling off lines of dialogue. She tried to keep it all in order. I loved it. She hated it.” But their hard work paid off – in the form of a short film that has screened (so far) at eight festivals.

VIFF and Munich

The two highlights for Celeste and Erik were the Vancouver International Film Festival and The Munich International Festival of Film Schools. “VFS did all of the work involved with getting the film to Munich – I just had to show up and represent it. We didn’t know this ahead of time, but we were nominated for Best Screenplay.”

“We didn’t win the award, but, considering that there were 60 or so films in the festival, to be one of 3 considered to the most-well-written was a major honour.” Erik says.

The Power of Snow

But Erik and, especially, Celeste came out of Munich with something special. “It snowed the entire time, which was great because Celeste gets all of her power from contact with snow. She’s energized for the rest of the year now.”

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