Making Waves is a short film about Dawson Harrington, a fictional young musician who suffers from amnesia after he experiences a severe car accident. Frustration builds within him until he discovers a way back to recovery with the help of his younger sister, Jayme Harrington. The short film was produced in May 2015 in association with Capilano University.
CJ McGillivray as Jayme Harrington, Sam Robert Muik as Dawson Harrington and Julia Thielert as Nurse Emily
Directed by Amit Dhuga and written and produced by Ellie Linnell with cinematography by Linley Redford, production design by Thomas Kelly, music by Josh Polanco, editing by Izzy Cumerlato, costume design by Inaki Gorbena and casting by Willem Osland.
The Elvish Blades are an alliance of assassins and revolutionaries who act as the moral guardians of their land. When the world falls into chaos, the alliance is seriously damaged and the fate of the land falls on the shoulders of a young half elf. To save the land, he must embark on a journey to face his destiny and uncover the past, He must dream, rise and rebel.
The medieval fantasy film, Elvish Blades, was directed by Evan Graves in association with Graves Productions. The short film was shot entirely on green screen at the University of British Columbia. It premiered at the Persistence of Vision Film Festival in Spring 2015. In her role as the goblin chieftaness, CJ McGillivray had a terrific experience learning the elaborate fight choreography and swordplay.
Still from Elvish Blades
Abbey Dutton, Tyler Burrows and Braye Dial with CJ McGillivray and Niamh Dillon
Directed by Evan Graves and produced by Eimanne El Zein with cinematography by Andy Hawkes, art direction by Andy Alvarez and make up by Silver Anderson and Vasilia Worrell.
I am confident that your walnut sized brain led you down this terrible and pathetic journey. I hope you went through a lot of suffering.
– Stan Anderson by Thea Loo, Natalie Murao and Stephanie Porter
In December 2015, CJ McGillivray worked on Stan Anderson, a hilarious and awkward short film directed by Stephanie Porter, in association with the Simon Fraser University School for Contemporary Arts. The story evokes laughter with plenty of awkward silences, deadpan expressions and quirky humour. In the lead role of Willow, CJ portrayed an unbalanced love child with strange mannerisms and hidden motives. Her character is accompanied on a series of misadventures by a hopeless though well meaning companion Greg, as portrayed by local actor Rylan Oleksyn. The chemistry is strange and uncomfortable.
Stan Anderson was shot on location in the hidden corners of Gastown, West Vancouver and Guelph Park. The production design was executed by Natalie Murao with cinematography by Thea Loo. Both Willow and Greg encounter a vibrant and peculiar colour scheme throughout the film as they meander from one ridiculous scenario to another.
Have you ever been in love? Horrible isn’t it? It makes you so vulnerable. It opens your chest and it opens up your heart and it means that someone can get inside you and mess you up.
– The Sandman by Neil Gaiman
In Autumn 2015, CJ McGillivray had the opportunity to take on a series of diverse romantic film roles. The short film Timeless Beauty was a curious exploration of both romance and rejection. The film was directed by Brittanie Thompson and explored the fleeting love of a stranger and a warm embrace. CJ McGillivray played the supporting role of a woman who operates without sympathy, with an absent conscience. The film was shot on location at Capilano University in association with the department of Motion Picture Arts.
At the Langara film department, an opposite story was explored through subtlety and quiet recollection. Argentum is a contemporary coming of age romance directed by Alecia Maslechko. CJ McGillivray portrays the sweet but introverted Freja alongside Kylee Dawson as her exuberant roommate Esper. The story is one of heartbreak and discomfort after an awkward first kiss that leads to confusion between friends.
Back at Capilano University, the short film Memories of Maria was directed by Ellie Linnell with CJ McGillivray in the title role opposite Rory Knowler as her pained lover. After a sudden and unexpected death, her partner falls into a deep depression and Maria fades into nothing more than a beautiful, remembered archetype. The film is a fascinating exploration of lost love and longing for the past.
In October 2014, CJ McGillivray found her passion in the middle ground between classical music and film acting. The short film Clavicordia has an incredible narrative told through dynamic visuals and the absence of language. The film is directed by local visionary Rob Hamilton and was shot on location at Capilano University. The production features engaging cinematography by Zakk Wylde and beautifully intricate production design by Brittanie Thompson. On screen, CJ McGillivray plays the lovely but challenging role of Karen alongside local performer Robby Walker as her talented but deceased lover.
Passion resurfaces through the haunting emptiness of a dream landscape within the film. Both Karen and Toby experience crippling grief but music is the one thing that allows them to communicate and release some of their pain. Prelude No. 15 by Frederic Chopin dominates the sound design and fuels the story with a sense of depression and momentum. CJ McGillivray looks forward to continuing her exploration of the complimentary crossover between classical music and the performing arts.
I made mistakes. But we never ceased to laugh at silly little things until we ended up clutching our sides.
– Heart Beats by Savina Chen
In September 2014, CJ McGillivray was cast as a lead role in a short film produced by the Vancouver Film School. Heart Beats was directed by Savina Chen with cinematography by Cesar de Alba. The film was shot on location in the beautiful Stanley Park along with scenes in a lovely suburban home and an isolated hospital room.
In the contemporary romance, CJ McGillivray plays the leading role of Abby opposite Alex Crusafon Pont in the role of her boyfriend, Aden. Abby loves unconditionally and effortlessly with an essence of sweet sincerity, similar to the romantic female archetype seen in many classic films. The story turns shockingly heartbreaking when Abby is diagnosed with a fatal heart disease. She makes an effort to live every moment in the present but the experience nearly destroys Aden as he cannot handle seeing her suffer.
Get back from me y’scurrilous scum! Get yer mangy paws off me.
– Taylor from The Curse of Maggie Boon by Kathryn Aylwin
In May 2014, CJ McGillivray was immersed in a raucous and fiendish pirate tale, The Curse of Maggie Boon. The short film was directed by Chelsea Goodman during the Off The Grid development series at Capilano University. The film featured everything from daggers and swinging fists to elaborate rapier choreography as directed by acclaimed fight director Mike Kovac. The ensemble was led by CJ McGillivray in the title role of Maggie Boon alongside Katherine Alpen as her adversary and Cory Beaulieu as her love interest.
The Curse of Maggie Boon premiered on September 23rd, 2014 at the Rio Theatre alongside an array of local talent and emerging filmmakers. The film was also featured during an Off The Grid screening and panel discussion on September 25th, 2014 at Capilano University. The following year, The Curse of Maggie Boon was nominated for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Screenplay at The Golden Panda North America International Short Film Festival.
That is really nice of her. She is really taking you under her wing.
– Veronica from Love Empire by Erin Hughes
Near the end of her university experience, CJ McGillivray was given a refreshing, fun opportunity to work on the short film, Love Empire. This sweet romantic comedy was directed by Erin Hughes on location at Capilano University. CJ was cast in the role of the sweet and gentle Veronica, an archetype for the endearing girl next door. In a moment of helplessness, Veronica sacrifices her own love and happiness to support the academic advances of her boyfriend Stephen, played by local actor David Morea Perea. The young couple experience longing and separation alongside a tempting and somewhat manipulative older woman, played by Jacqueline Ryan. Inspired by the words of William Shakespeare, the short was filmed in the style of a stage performance with innovative and smooth camera movement to capture the play within the film.
I tried to make you love me by giving you every bit of love I had. And now I don’t have anything left for me.
– Almost, Maine by John Cariani
The month of April marked an exceptional milestone for senior students in the Acting for Stage and Screen diploma program at Capilano University. As a member of this graduating class, CJ McGillivray took a pivotal step forward in her artistic career. She was incredibly honoured to perform on stage at the Stanley Theatre for her graduation showcase under the direction of local director Nicholas Harrison. The graduating students were showcased through a contemporary rendition of the stage play Almost, Maine by John Cariani. CJ had the opportunity to explore her neurotic but romantic side in the role of Gayle during the scene Getting it Back. Throughout this scene, CJ performed alongside fellow graduate Davin Reid in the role of her longtime boyfriend Lendell. The performance also included a visual film component produced by Jackson Davies to complement the stage production:
She flipped my world upside down. Like a drop dead gorgeous werewolf.
– Werewolf Eyes by CJ McGillivray
During her final semester at Capilano University, CJ had the pleasure of working as both an actor and screenwriter in correlation with the Capilano University Cinematography Department. Her short comedy, Werewolf Eyes, represents a critical though ridiculous look at gender dynamics and the nature of flirtation. The project was created under the mentorship of acclaimed local filmmaker and performer Jackson Davies.
In her most unflattering and comedic role to date, CJ McGillivray plays the character of Jane, an entirely unabashed girl next door who can keep up with her male friends on any gaming console. Jane may be a cute tomboy though she often wears a backwards baseball cap and an oversized sweatshirt with ketchup and mustard stains in place of mascara or lipstick. She could care less how she fairs against cruel, commercial standards of beauty but she foolishly enforces those same standards on every other woman she encounters. Underneath the relaxed facade is plenty of sexual tension and awkwardness with her friend Brent, the sweet and hopeless romantic, played by Kelly McCabe.
Werewolf Eyes was a fun, radical milestone for CJ as her first comedic screenwriting venture. Jumping headfirst into comedy was a terrific experience and she looks forward to continuing this exploration.