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Alumni News

Stay Aubrey

Film Grads and Faculty Team up on Labour of Love

December 10, 2014

Members of the Stay Aubrey! film crew with musician and host, Jaymz Bee at Jazz.fm91 which promoted a fundraiser for the film. From left, Vladimir Kabelik, Patrick Mainville, Stephen Barden, Aubrey Dayle, Jaymz Bee, Michael Savoie, Andrew Mech and Sama Waham.

When Andrew Mech (Media Arts, 1987) learned that his long-time friend Aubrey Dayle was facing a kidney transplant to survive, he set out to help in one of the best ways he could – by telling Dayle’s story on film. So Mech, who is a Technical Representative for the Toronto International Film Festival, contacted his former professor at Sheridan, award-winning documentary filmmaker Vladimir Kabelik. It wasn’t long before many of Sheridan’s shining lights of filmmaking teamed up to create Stay Aubrey! which premiered at the TIFF Bell Lightbox last month.

Stay Aubrey! follows the journey of jazz musician Aubrey Dayle whose wife Julie Charron donated her kidney in 2013 to save his life. Mech took on the role of associate producer on Stay Aubrey! which was written, directed and produced by Kabelik. Not only was Mech concerned about the health of Dayle whom he had known since high school, but he was “very inspired and moved by Aubrey’s inner strength to move forward with his mission to spread the word about the importance of organ donation so that people can live longer and healthier lives.”

The number of Canadians needing organ transplants still greatly exceeds the number of available organs, a situation which came as a surprise to the film’s editor, Haya Waseem (Media Arts, 2012). “I thought there wouldn't have been an organ donation problem in a country like Canada. I looked up to Vlad (Kabelik) - he taught me documentary film - and getting an opportunity to work with him on a film with such an important topic seemed like a dream scenario.”

For Kabelik, it was gratifying that this powerful story was brought to him by one of his first students at Sheridan. “I feel very fortunate that on my last three documentary films the key themes have been introduced to me by people from my inner circle. Once Andrew connected me with Aubrey, it was difficult to resist,” he says. Sheridan faculty and staff also came on board to offer their expertise on the project.

Stay Aubrey

The crew, which financed the film with the help of crowdfunding, Rogers Communications and contributions from the jazz community, can count many memorable moments during the making of Stay Aubrey! but learning of Dayle’s successful surgery was certainly among the highlights.

“I'll never forget filming Aubrey's last few minutes before the surgery and all the mixed emotions we had, and then filming them both for the first time after they recovered from the transplant,” recalls Sama Waham, (Advanced Television and Film, 2012) who was also an associate producer on the film. “Those production days were unforgettable and a true reminder of what storytelling is really about.”

Such a positive outcome to the story made Dayle’s return to the stage that much more touching, says Mech. “It was a very special moment watching Aubrey and his stellar line-up of musicians perform the beautiful ballad ‘It's All Ahead’ at his cd release party, and Aubrey dedicating the song to his wife Julie (aka Jewel) for saving his life.”

Read more about Aubrey Dayle’s life in the Oakville Beaver article.

Watch the Stay Aubrey! trailer

More on the Stay Aubrey! Facebook page

The following Sheridan alumni were also part of the Stay Aubrey! crew:

Michael Burshtyn, Supervising Editor (Advanced Television and Film, 2004)
Stephen Barden, Location and Post Sound (Media Arts, 1995)
Aleksandra Lason (Media Arts, 2011), Publicity
Roy Belding (Media Arts, 1995)  
Andrew Chalk (Media Arts, 2013 & Media Fundamentals, 2010)
Marc Cohen (Advanced Television and Film), 2001
Tiago DeSousa (Media Arts, 2012 & Media Fundamentals, 2009)
Connor Illsley (Media Arts, 2014 & Media Fundamentals, 2010)
Randall Kapuscinski (Advanced Television and Film, 2004)
Matthew Kennedy (Media Arts, 2010)
Didier Kennel (Media Arts, 1989)
Patrick Mainville (Advanced Television and Film, 2012)
Kristi McIntyre (Media Arts, 2013 & Media Fundamentals, 2009 & Advertising, 2006)
Prionnsias Murphy (Media Arts, 2009)
Judah Purcell (Media Arts, 2007)
James Rowan (Advanced Television and Film, 2008)
Amin Toyouri (Advanced Television and Film, 2013)
James Vorstenbosch (Media Arts, 2009)
Jason White (Advanced Television and Film, 2007)
Ash Xavier (Media Arts, 2009)