When I'm Dead
2018 Digital Shorts

When I'm Dead

A mother's first laugh since her daughter’s death comes after finding a shocking surprise in her daughter's possessions.

Length10 min. 14 sec.
DirectorVesta Giles


Pitch video


This is a passion project inspired by true events. AMELIA is grieving the death of her adult daughter, Lizzie, from cancer. She is distant from her husband, ANDREW, who is also grieving and feels shut out. Ever present is a Lizzie-Shaped Hole in the lives of all who knew her, and Amelia fears this hole, where all her joy has disappeared, will grow as she goes through her daughter’s possessions. Lizzie knew this would happen and planted surprises for her mother to find among her things. Amelia reaches into a bag and pulls out something she never expected - something a young woman wouldn't normally want her mother to find. Amelia is shocked and horrified - and then she laughs for the first time in many months. Suddenly she can see a light in the darkness of the Lizzie-Shaped Hole.

The team

Our team, all based in or with deep connections to Kamloops, boasts a wealth of industry experience. Members of our team regularly work on major film and video projects and we are so excited to be able to work together to create something magical!

Profile picture of Vesta Giles
Vesta GilesDirector, Writer, Producer
Profile picture of Sina Sultani
Sina SultaniAnimation Lead, Animator, Production Design
Profile picture of Nolan McAllister
Nolan McAllisterCamera Operator, Lighting
Profile picture of Caisha Lea Thompson
Caisha Lea ThompsonSound Engineer


Production Design

This is the spot where Andrew will have a tearful moment as he rides alone, thinking about Lizzie. It's also the point where he and Amelia will ride together at the end to go up to the lookout and spread the glitter.
This is one of the trails Amelia and Andrew will be riding on at the end of the film. We plan to utilize a heavy drone for overhead shots of them on the trails, and then a trailer to get their facial expressions while they are riding.
The Lizzie-Shaped Hole is a challenging aspect of this project. It is not a ghost, it is the absence of a person. It is that hole that is left behind when someone is quickly removed from our lives. It needs to be able to react to the characters in the story, but they can't see it. It can't be dark or frightening. This image features a faint pink glow around the body and bright sparkles that punctuate the dark interior. This is a reference image for our expert, Sina Sultani, who has worked on VFX for The Mummy and A Wrinkle in Time to start with.
This is Amelia and Andrew's living room. The test image for the Lizzie-Shaped Hole has been inserted. When we shoot this room will be filled with sympathy cards and flower arrangements that are beginning to wilt.
This is the outside of the church where Amelia seeks refuge.
This is Amelia and Andrew's house. It's the view Jenny will have when she drives up to meet with Amelia and receive the gift that Lizzie left for her. For all of them, it's a house filled with memories.
At one point Amelia's praying silhouette will be framed in front of this window.
This is Sacred Heart Cathedral in Kamloops. It is the church where Amelia goes every day to pray and light a candle for her daughter. It is bright and colourful at the front and features dark wood and stained glass windows along the side.

Colours, light, characters and locations in the film will evolve from dull and almost listless in the beginning to bright, healthy and vibrant toward the end.
This is the lookout at the Stake Lake Ski Trails. This will be the location where Amelia and Andrew will be riding to, and where they will ultimately spread the biodegradable glitter (most likely of the animated variety) which is symbolic of spreading Lizzie's ashes and finding their first sense of closure and joy after Lizzie's death.