Art and ‘Acceptance’ on Chilliwack’s indie film scene

An up-and-coming Chilliwack filmmaker talks process, art, and the short film she's showing at the Chilliwack Independent Film Festival

By Grace Giesbrecht | November 8, 2022 |5:00 am

Whether a film is art or entertainment depends largely on intent, according to 19-year-old Chilliwack filmmaker Mik Stolz. Art, she says, also asks the audience to react to it.

The artistic side of film is where many, if not all, of the works appearing at the Chilliwack Independent Film Festival later this month live.

Stolz will open the festival with her debut film, Acceptance, on Nov. 18 alongside other locally produced features.

Her short film, which captures shattering loss through a teenager’s eyes, was three years in the making. At the Chilliwack Film Festival’s last in-person event in 2019, Stolz won the Youth Script to Screen award with the script for Acceptance. The award came with a $50,000 camera package that gave the young filmmaker an opportunity to produce the piece at a professional level.

Story continues below.

Get FV Current in your inbox.

Plug in to the news that matters in Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Mission, and the rest of the Fraser Valley.

By filling out the form above, you consent to receive emails from Fraser Valley Current. You can unsubscribe at any time. View our privacy policy here.

Having trouble with the form? Contact us at contact@fvcurrent.com.

The process

This interview has been lightly edited for clarity and concision.

FVC: What did this process look like for you?

Stolz: “It’s been crazy. I started writing it in May of 2019. And obviously, COVID postponed a lot of the actual production of the film. But it’s been a long time coming. It’s been a lot of hard work, but I had a great support system and people working alongside me and I just feel like I’m really, really happy with the final product and I cannot wait for people to see it.

FVC: What made you want to start out as a filmmaker, and how did you get that start?

Stolz: “I did theater all through high school, for six years or so. And I had a huge passion for acting. It was when COVID hit I realized that I want to be able to keep acting. But it was hard because there’s no live audiences.

“I have always loved writing as well, so I just kind of got super immersed into visual arts and filmmaking— and that way, I could continue acting. But also, I could write and get other people involved. So I guess it all really stems from my passion for theater.

The Youth Script to Screen Award that Stolz won to produce 'Acceptance' came with a $50,000 camera package. Stolz wrote and directed 'Acceptance,' which will open the Chilliwack Independent Film Festival this month 📷 Alanna Higuchi
The Youth Script to Screen Award that Stolz won to produce ‘Acceptance’ came with a $50,000 camera package. 📷 Alanna Higuchi

The world of independent filmmaking is not necessarily a starting ground for Netflix’s next producer or ABC’s next showrunner. Instead of the entertainment-centric focus of other video-based mediums like TV, movies, and TikTok feeds, independent productions lean into film as an art form. For Stolz, whether something is art or entertainment depends on who the work is made for. But, she notes, that line has a few different definitions and is not always clear.

FVC: Is that focus on art, instead of entertainment, something that you consider when you’re looking at projects like this?

Stolz: “Oh, 100%. Everything I make, whether it’s a painting or a film or a piece of writing, I always make it for myself. I never make it for other people.

“I think if people watch my film, and they don’t like it, then they’re having a totally normal reaction to my art. It’s subjective and anyone can view it any way they want. I think that’s the cool part of it. So I definitely make it for myself and no one else.”

FVC: Where do you see that line between art like an independent film and entertainment like a TikTok or TV show?

Stolz: “It really depends, because I believe that there’s art in every aspect of life so I think that art can be found in anything. So it’s hard for me to say a definitive line. Independent film definitely gives the creators more freedom to do what they’d like.

FVC: I like that you spoke to the difference between art and entertainment

Stolz: “Oh, hell yeah. There’s definitely a difference between the two. But sometimes it’s harder to figure out. I feel like entertainment is more fueled by money, whereas art is more fueled by the artists.

The three-year process of filming and producing the short film was one of consistent interruptions. COVID and COVID lockdowns halted production at different points of the production.

Stolz wrote and directed 'Acceptance,' which will open the Chilliwack Independent Film Festival this month
Stolz wrote and directed ‘Acceptance,’ which will open the Chilliwack Independent Film Festival this month 📷 Alanna Higuchi

FVC: What’s the most exciting part of this for you leading up to the film screening?

Stolz: “I’m really, really, really excited to see my film on the big screen. This is what I want to do for a living and so getting to see the first step of it, especially because I’m still so young. So having my first film out there and people being able to watch it and enjoy it—it’s just crazy cool, and I could not be more excited.

FVC: You mentioned that this is the first step in your career. Do you have a dream job or an end goal in film?

Stolz: “Not particularly…I would love to get to a point in my life within the next five years or so where I’m working a job part-time but putting all my passion and energy into film. That’s ideally where I’ll be at. But who knows? With enough hard work and dedication, you could get anywhere.

FVC: You saw a lot of success with the script for this film at the Chilliwack Independent Film Festival in 2019. Is there a particular outcome that you’re hoping for with your film at the festival this year?

Stolz: “I feel like, because film is a work of art, it’s crazy subjective. So, if I have one other person that likes my film, great! If [nobody] likes it, well, art is basically something that creates a reaction for people—and so they’re still reacting to it.

FVC: So it’s a win win.

Stolz: “Exactly. Although ideally, I would like if people liked it.

Acceptance will feature in the first show at the festival, which focuses on local filmmakers and creatives. A question-and-answer session will follow.

The festival itself runs from Nov. 18 to 20 in-person at the Cottonwood Cinema. Tickets are available online; several events will be followed by question-and-answer sessions moderated by Current editor Tyler Olsen.

The virtual version of the festival will be accessible from Nov. 21 to Dec. 4. It will showcase feature films, documentaries, and short films from BC and around the world in 15 curated sessions.


Join more than 25,000 other Fraser Valley residents by subscribing to our newsletter. Every weekday morning you’ll get a new feature story and other stories, news, and events from Chilliwack, Abbotsford, Langley, Mission and the rest of the valley.

We’re bringing independent, local-first, in-depth reporting to serve you and our community.

Subscribe for free and plug in to the news that matters in Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Mission, and the rest of the Fraser Valley.

By filling out the form above, you consent to receive emails from Fraser Valley Current. You can unsubscribe at any time. View our privacy policy here.

Having trouble with the form? Contact us at contact@fvcurrent.com.

Grace Giesbrecht

Grace Giesbrecht is a reporter with the Fraser Valley Current

Tags in this Article

Latest Articles

The key news happening in the Fraser Valley.

Environment   News

February 8, 2023

Can better salmon habitats also curtail mosquitoes?

Building fish-friendly wetlands doesn’t mean having to battle large populations of mosquitoes, a local expert says.

News

February 5, 2023

The magic of a senior’s homemade talk show

One senior’s cure for her social anxiety? A homemade TV talk show that has confirmed that ‘we’re all basically the same.’