“Man cannot live without love. He remains a being that is incomprehensible for himself, his life is senseless, if love is not revealed to him.” – John Paul II
Although the world around me seemed to go totally bat-shit crazy (the older I get, the less I relate to our society – I think that’s normal… right?), I had one major professional let-down (a film role that I was sure I had locked but lost due to politics…) and that death/near death was rampant in my inner circle (my uncle died, my aunt died, my dog died, two family members almost died…), 2016 wound up being a solid year for me personally and professionally.
I grew a lot as a human being, got close to my family again, started seeing life in a new light, solidified my spiritual path (which sent me on pilgrimages and lots of diving into books and shit soaking in knowledge…) and switched gears (for the better) as to the man I want to be. I also finally started reaping the rewards of my hard work. Yeah it felt good and definitely gave me the moral boost I needed to keep digging deep and going for my goals no matter the cost. Amidst doing what I love (traveling, being in nature, training, hiking, kayaking, hanging with close friends aka family like Berge, Deke, Elaine etc.) here are my top moments of 2016!
After what felt like an eternity of pushing, hustling and overcoming obstacles, I steered my directorial debut THE SHELTER in the direction it needed to go and pretty much reached a peek with it. The film had a successful premiere in Beverly Hills, a solid QNA, it screened in theaters, got lots of good reviews (like in the LA times), the script is now part of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences library and the film comes out on DVD in North America today (Jan 3, 2017). It should be said that every time somebody tells me how the film moved them or made them think – it affects me. Although the battle is not over (still have foreign to lock), 2016 felt like the beginning of the end of The Shelter chapter in my life. What a ride it was! I grew so much in every way imaginable through it.
I returned to Sidney Australia! Not only did I get to take in the sights and hang with old friends, I also got to visit the set of Ridley Scott’s new ALIEN movie: ALIEN COVENANT. Wow. It was a film buff’s dream come true.
I spent less times in Pubs and more time in the ring this year. Yup, went back to boxing full time with a great coach in Daniel Guerin and have been loving every second of it – even the beat downs. It relieves stress, challenges me, keeps me in shape and helps me remain sane.
I’m the type of guy that doesn’t have many friends, but the buds I do have, usually become family. So it was a pleasure to visit my bros Jason Hewlett and Shawn Knippelberg in Kamloops, BC this year. We partied, shot guns, hiked and partied some more. And yes, I consider both gents to be family now – blessed!
The last feature length script I had written was THE SHELTER. Being that all of my energy went into getting that film where it needed to be, my creative energy was fairly non existent i.e. tapped out. This year though, with The Shelter sold, the pressure lessened. I got the chance to spend lots of time at my bud’s lake house and finally pulled off writing a new feature length screenplay. It’s a grounded and harsh female vigilante flick called EVA and it’s gonna own. Am back baby! ;)
I meet a lot of people in this business but now and again you encounter folks that you can totally relate to and that you wind up respecting fairly quickly. Lucky to have met guys like Mark Lawson (right), Kevin Interdonato or even Paul Sloan (left), whom I’ve known for a bit but will still mention cause he’s on the fucking pic You’re only as good as the people around you!
I finished off 2016 by going to Washington DC to visit my brother who now lives there (am still in DC as I type this). Loving spending time with him and visiting the sights (and the bars). I missed the basterd…
So that’s pretty much it! I’m personally very excited for 2017! Professionally, I have EVA and THE PRIZE (two films that I will direct) that are heading in the right direction in terms of getting off the ground. Am also diving into HERETIC today, a screenplay that I am writing with Karim Chériguène (it started off as a short by Karim, one that was so damn good, that it begged to be a feature). Think Apocalypse Now but with Templars! Am very excited about that one and already have some production pieces locked in Spain for it. It’s my new passion project! Meaning I’ll kill myself to see it through.
I also anticipate in traveling further this year and establishing myself even more within the film biz. Lots of new cards were handed to me in 2016 and I’m gonna play them the best I can this year. No matter how it goes, I am now better equipped to deal with what goes down, which will make the process easier for me. I see hardships differently, take on obstacles differently and view life as a whole differently. Get in the ring 2017! You’re mine.
RIP Toby. My heart is missing a piece since you’ve left us and I hope you’re running around freely and happily on another plane of existence.