‘In the Zone: Rick Kilburn,’ a short documentary about Qualicum Beach jazz musician Rick Kilburn, is a finalist in the Los Angeles-based Jelly Film Festival. (YouTube screen shot)

‘In the Zone: Rick Kilburn,’ a short documentary about Qualicum Beach jazz musician Rick Kilburn, is a finalist in the Los Angeles-based Jelly Film Festival. (YouTube screen shot)

Short documentary about Qualicum Beach jazz musician gets film festival nod

‘In the Zone: Rick Kilburn’ a finalist at L.A.-based Jelly Film Festival

A short documentary about a Qualicum Beach-based jazz musician has been nominated for an award by an American film festival.

This month local Shaw TV volunteer Kerilie McDowall learned that the short documentary she created with the help of the Shaw Spotlight team, In the Zone: Rick Kilburn, is a finalist at the Los Angeles-based Jelly Film Festival. McDowall said In the Zone caught Jelly Fest’s attention after earning an honourable mention at the Independent Shorts Awards, another L.A.-based international film festival, last year.

“It’s an honour just to reach that designation of finalist. It’s a bit shocking because it’s a global competition, too,” McDowall said. “I was completely surprised, but I’m not surprised because the people I was working with, the Shaw Spotlight team, are just so excellent.”

McDowall has been volunteering at Shaw Spotlight as a director, producer and host for more than five years, and when she was given the opportunity to film a short feature of her own the first person who came to mind was Kilburn. She’s known him for many years, first meeting him in Vancouver to record some of her music when she was a professional jazz guitarist.

“He’s a really fascinating individual and he’s deserving of a documentary like this as far as someone local is concerned,” McDowall said. “Shaw has already profiled some well-known musicians on the Island and I felt it was Rick’s turn.”

The film covers Kilburn’s life and career as an award-winning musician and producer. Kilburn shares his insights on music making and recalls stories from his past, including his time playing with jazz greats like Dave Brubeck and meeting crooner Tony Bennett.

“I managed to get him to do some really groovy solo jazz bass improvisation as part of the film, too,” McDowell said.

The project was not without its challenges. McDowall said it took a year to finish the film, with her busy schedule only allowing her to complete it in “little dribs and drabs.” It also took some encouragement to get Kilburn to participate in the first place.

“I really had to work on him to convince him to do it and I’m glad he did it because there’s such wisdom coming from Rick Kilburn,” McDowall said. “Any time I’ve ever had an interaction with him I’ve always left feeling inspired or with admiration for him.”

In the Zone: Rick Kilburn can be viewed here.

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