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  • Writer's pictureMaxwell Mawji

W. Brett Wilson Garden Party 2023

Project Type: Charity, Filmmaker

The W.Brett Wilson Garden Party is an annual fundraising event supporting causes around Calgary and Western Canada. This year, they raised north of $430,000 in support of youth and adolescent mental health initiatives.

The client brief included examples from previous years as a loose guideline to stick to regarding overall structure. I took this a few steps further by wanting to place the event charities in more of a lead role in order give the fundraising event more context. Wilson went through the effort of gathering a showstopping cast of musical talent, and this gave me the idea to use a live recording as the backing track to the video. The headliner, Brett Kissel, has a song at a decent quality recorded off the soundboard that had a gap in it while he introduced the stage band, which I thought would be a great place to bend in audio from the speeches. To help keep the energy in the video up, I made sequences of scenes that splice in every 30-45 seconds, an example is the introduction of the robot dog at about 50 seconds. Other elements I used to bring energy to the video were sweeping drone shots as a more dynamic way of beginning and ending the video, as well as giving the logo walls for sponsorships and charities a backdrop.

The video structure goes from establishing place, to introducing entertainment, then host, then charity causes, to party vibe. The video's overall goal is to portray the event's fundraising in an entertaining and unique way.

From Wikipedia:

"Wilson has claimed that he sees corporate social responsibility not as an obligation, but as an opportunity, and believing that strategic philanthropy can create major social and economic benefits.[15] He has shaved his head to support Kids' Cancer Care, and climbed Mount Kilimanjaro to support Alzheimer's research.[16] He has for many years made annual trips with Youth with a Mission to Mexico to build homes for the poor.[17] He has chronicled his philanthropic perspectives in a series of articles written for Alberta Venture magazine.

Specific events hosted by Wilson have supported prostate cancer, David Foster Foundation[18] Right to Play, Little Warriors, Boomer's Legacy, 777 Run for Sight and Dare to Care and the Veterans' Food Bank. He is active on funding research into the issue of domestic abuse and has funded the Wilson Centre for Domestic Abuse Studies at the Calgary Counselling Centre.[19] He also supports the sport of volleyball through the Rally Pointe volleyball centre in Calgary, Alberta.[20] He is a strong mental health advocate and supporter of programs which help with the treatment of eating disorders.[21]

He travelled to Afghanistan to visit front-line Canadian troops with General Walter Natynczyk, Defence Minister Peter MacKay, hockey player Guy Lafleur and actor Paul Gross[22] and has hosted events to support military members and their families."



NOTES: I first met W. Brett Wilson while filming the 2023 TWK Foundation's Golf fundraising video. We were on hole 10 and he offered me a hotdog, to which I gladly accepted thinking he must have an extra one in his golf cart. He then got into his golf cart and drove off, reappearing sometime later with a hotdog and a handful of condiments. I felt bad having the event's chief fundraiser running around to get me lunch, and when his team reached out about a week later with the opportunity to put my own spin on capturing his event, I only wanted to do my best.

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