One Langley family is throwing its support behind efforts to save and grow the film and production industry in British Columbia.
While all five members of the Siewert clan are involved in the entertainment business, and have been active in everything from moviemaking and music production, to modelling, it was 10-year-old Zac Siewert who garnered a standing ovation after sharing his feelings at last week's We Create BC forum in North Vancouver.
"One of my New Year's resolutions is to make a difference. I am here to make a difference in the industry I work in, as well as all of you do," he told the crowd of thousands who filled Studio 7 at the North Shore Studios.
They were all there to acknowledge that the film and production industry in B.C. is suffering, and they were there to hear what's being planned to regain and further bolster B.C.'s once popular status as Hollywood North.
The event, hosted by the Motion Picture Production Industry Association of B.C., was emceed by iconic Canadian actor Jackson Davies who spoke passionately about the need to unite and take action to save the multi-billion-dollar, green industry.
He was joined in speaking that night by a panel of six industry leaders and about 30 members of the audience.
But it was the pleas of this young Willoughby resident that resonated when - second in line during question period - Zac stood up to the microphone and argued his case.
"I am an actor in the film and TV industry and when I grow up, I want to be a movie director. I really love what I do in this industry. I know that if the tax incentives don't improve a lot of people will lose their jobs," he said.
Zac has been in the commercial industry since he was a baby, and has done photography work as a model. And, he has most recently completed film, television, and commercial training. He has worked on various movies such as The Company You Keep and the TV series Supernatural, and did his first voiceover job this year.
"Together, we can create change and our voices can be heard," Zac insisted. "Please write to our premier and let her know we all matter."
"I was glad I went up and spoke, because it's something you've been doing for a long time, and I felt this was something you needed to speak up for, and my New Year's resolution was to make a difference, and I wanted to make a difference for this industry at the event," the Grade 5 student from RC Garnett Elementary told the Langley Advance.
Zac is one of three children of Marika and Stacy Siewert, and he was joined there by his mother, who is an internationally acclaimed recording pop artist and producer.
Marika also spoke, commenting how much of an impact this is having on B.C. families, like hers, with so many in the industry out of work. She pushed for education not only within the industry and higher levels of government, but for the general public - to help all know how much the industry brings to this province and to empower future generations wanting to enter the industry.
"Right now, Langley benefits and has paid off their City debt because of the amount of movies filmed here," Marika said after the meeting. "With the 90 per cent job loss, families are being affected hugely by this. We want to improve the public awareness and educated about the true film industry here in B.C. They are not Hollywood million dollar workers, they are people living paycheque to paycheque, sharing their passion creative brilliance."
Reiterating her son's sentiment at the forum, Marika said: "We need to write letters to the premier to say how much we matter."
In the meantime, she said more public forums are in the works.