Sad Bear


Quick stats about the movie

Sad Bear collects people’s saddest objects to help them process past regrets. People are generally amenable to this except for Steve, who can’t let go of his prized possession.

Creative team

Writer/director: Joe LoBianco
Director: Liz Cairns
Producer: Erica Landrock

Director’s statement

Joe LoBianco and Liz Cairns say:

Sad Bear was made with $800 in eight days through the Crazy8s filmmaking contest in Vancouver, BC. Working with story editor/mentor Dylan Akio Smith (Doppelganger Paul, Man Feel Pain) we were able to pull together a script in a few short weeks. We work well together and have a shared vision and sensibility. We wanted to creative a narrative landscape where the arrival of Sad Bear himself is a staple of the process of overcoming loss. Steve’s defiance toward Sad Bear’s collection of his dead friend’s shoes is about a misplaced desire to build a sense of self through things.

Production design was really important to us. Since the film is about material things, we populated each scene with stuff, infusing the identity of each character into the rooms in which they sat and bringing to the fore the theme of projecting identity, nostalgia and grief onto objects.

Sad Bear himself was hand-crafted in our apartment, making a few hula hoops and bolts of faux fur come alive with a pair of raccoon eyes from Van Dyke’s Taxidermy. Having become a haven for spiders in a dark corner of our storage for the last two years, a daily reminder of our unnaturally slow progress while writing our next short film, we decided to say goodbye to Sad Bear so that we, too, could move on.”

About the filmmakers


Liz Cairns

Liz attended SFU’s School of Contemporary Arts, with a major in film production. In 2007, she co-founded Stretch, an experimental film & video group that has created over 30 live video performances and installations. She has screened her work at galleries and festivals including the Toronto International Film Festival, Austin Film Festival, New Forms Festival, Female Eye Film Festival, Utopia Festival and the Montreal Film Festival. Sad Bear is her first narrative short film.

Joe LoBianco

Joe LoBianco was born in Victoria, BC, and moved to Vancouver to pursue filmmaking in SFU’s film production program. His short film, Down the Rabbit Hole (2005) screened at the Montreal World Film Festival. Continually writing throughout the years, Joe has cultivated a unique and whimsical magic-realist style. He currently works on the story team of a documentary TV series in Vancouver.

Joe and Liz are currently in pre-production for their next short film, Withering Heights, funded by the BC Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts.

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