Asher Penn: Producer of Maggie Lee’s Documentary Mommy

I love watching documentaries but sometimes it can be hard to find ones that are exciting, interesting, and that tell really personal stories. I believe there’s lots of them out there, I just don’t always know where to find them.

If you’re a docu-film-fan like myself, please watch Maggie Lee’s MOMMY (click here for a link to rent or purchase the film on Vimeo–it’s worth it! I spent $15 to see it tonight at The Cinematheque–my first time seeing a film there–and it was worth every penny).

The movie is 55 minutes long. Mommy involves Maggie Lee telling the story of her mother’s life as well as her own, and letting us see what Maggie Lee experiences in the aftermath of her mother’s death. The film is funny and honest. It is also sad, touching, and heartbreaking. It made me feel a lot of things and it made me reflect on my own relationship with my mom, because I can’t imagine what I’d do if my mother died suddenly.

This film is unique from many other documentaries that I’ve seen in that it has beautiful, vibrant visuals: words, drawings, colours, flashing lights and other artistic creations that make Mommy that much more engaging and gorgeous to watch (Maggie Lee is a successful artist so these touches make sense). As well, I want the soundtrack to the film (at the Q and A after it we were told it’s on Spotify). The music was energizing, painful, and fun. The movie is so much more than just a few things, and the many things it is are superb. I have a short attention span, but this film held my focus throughout. I love Maggie Lee and how vulnerable she was in letting the viewer see what she went through after losing her mother.

Mommy was so easy to watch and the film sped by too quickly–I wished there was more!

After the viewing, I talked to Asher Penn who produced and took part in the creation of the film with Maggie Lee. Asher is currently working on a documentary about Gabor Mate. Watching film to overcome feeling like a freak or an outsider is something Asher suggests doing: I agree!

Artist EMILY GRAY: Interview

VAN-ARTIST EMILY GRAY at her co-created PUBLIC ART piece SPYGLASS in False Creek/beside the Cambie Street Bridge

VAN-ARTIST EMILY GRAY at her co-created PUBLIC ART piece SPYGLASS in False Creek/beside the Cambie Street Bridge

EMILY GRAY comes from the Sunshine Coast, but now calls Vancouver home. If you have seen the mural on the side of Kea Foods at 10th and Main, then you know her work. Emily is incredibly talented and dedicated to her craft (a.k.a. a hard-worker).

Go to or @EMILYGRAYART (Instagram) to see more of her work online. A mural that Emily has already finished will be going up once Skytrain Reno arrives at Commercial and Broadway…watch for it!

In an e-mail Emily sent me after our interview earlier today she wrote that she loves “community engaged art, I believe thats what public art should be about! Let’s all get together and have a good time, express ourselves, and encourage each other to just keep improving in art and life :)”.

Go to EMILYGRAY.CA to view her work!

Go to EMILYGRAY.CA or @EMILYGRAYART (Instagram) to view her work!

I am so on-board with Ms. Gray’s sentiments about the connection between art, community, and loving life. Today we visited one of Emily’s murals, SPYGLASS, that was completed with the help of around 100 other participants (who used colourful paint to finish the drawings/outlines Emily made). SPYGLASS is located under and beside the Cambie Street Bridge and was inspired by other artists’ (RHONDA WEPPLER and TREVOR MAHOVSKY) work that is done around the base of the Cambie Street Bridge.

The following video is a TIME LAPSE of SPYGLASS being created:

I interviewed EMILY GRAY to learn more about her relationship with art, and our conversation was informative and fun! I am most impressed (beyond the art itself) by Emily’s dedication to building a stronger sense of community, both for herself and others, through working on PUBLIC ART pieces that many help to create and enjoy.

Morning workout made all the more beautiful thanks to public art!

Morning workout made all the more beautiful thanks to public art!

Jumpin', jumpin'!

Jumpin’, jumpin’!