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Lee Chambers makes it short and sweet

He's had lunch at Patrick Stewart's house. He's gotten drunk with Josh Hartnett. And he is directly responsible for the circulation of 30,000 counterfeit Canadian dollars, a prop from his short film Lost and Profound that was stolen from his house.
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He's had lunch at Patrick Stewart's house.

He's gotten drunk with Josh Hartnett.

And he is directly responsible for the circulation of 30,000 counterfeit Canadian dollars, a prop from his short film Lost and Profound that was stolen from his house.

Born and raised in Sault Ste. Marie, teacher, director, producer and writer Lee Chambers presented an informative, entertaining and intimate filmmaking workshop as part of the Ninth Annual Shadows of the Mind Film Festival Friday afternoon.

After leaving the Sault for London, England then later to L.A., Chambers now teaches film production at Confederation College in Thunder Bay, Ontario.

"From a filmmaking point of view, I kind of lucked out in that I got myself in to teach at the college and I love it," he told me following the workshop. "I love working with the students and their hair-brained, crazy ideas. And to have time off in the summers to go and do my own things, it's the best. I'm just as busy as I want to be, but if I want to slow it down, I can."

Now in its fourth year, his award-winning Make It Short Movie Project has exposed hundreds of aspiring moviemakers to invaluable experience and raised thousands of dollars for charity.

The next Make It Short Movie Project will be shot in Thunder Bay this April with David Cronenberg coming on board as executive producer.

"Don't be afraid to get out of your comfort zone," Chambers advised the Making Movie Magic workshop attendees. "And don't be afraid to ask."

For three years, Chambers has approached Cronenberg about becoming involved in Make It Short.

For three years Cronenberg said no.

Finally, this year he agreed.

"I'm still shocked that Cronenberg is making our kid's film," laughed Chambers. "He's made some of the most bizarre, disturbing movies out there and now he's doing a kid's movie."

Aside from fearlessness and persistence, Chambers offered other advice during the workshop:

- Surround yourself with people more talented than you

- Grab a camera and just shoot

- You have to direct to direct. Instinct comes with experience

- Being humble and appreciative on set goes a long way and you'll get more out of your cast and crew

- Organization is key and always have two of everything

- Even though he was caught on camera doing it, don't ever drink beer on set

Chambers also stated that the biggest mistake student directors make is focusing too much on the technology and the camera.

"That's what you have a crew for," he said. "Delegate. Let the experts take care of things and you as the director can focus on the actors."

Chambers will be returning in 2009 to the Tenth Annual Shadows of the Mind Film Festival to bring his Make It Short Movie Project to his home town.

Although the details have not been ironed out yet, the basic concept is to create multiple short films during the course of the festival using local cast and crew members.

Keep an eye on www.leechambers.com to learn how to become involved.

Details are expected to be posted later this fall.

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