Why He’s Top 40:For representing Edmonton around the world with his audacious short films and striking rock band
Upon entering the Empress Alehouse one afternoon, filmmaker, musician and theatre artist Trevor Anderson was stopped by a member of the Edmonton Arts Council. He recalls her saying, “Oh, I have to talk to you about something. Call me next week.” Anderson didn’t know it, but the arts council and the City of Edmonton had been secretly discussing a musical composition to mark the ICLEI World Congress in June 2009 – and he was the artist they wanted to spearhead it.
In the following weeks, Anderson gathered several local musicians and they collaboratively composed an hour of music, with sustainable community as the theme.That’s Edmonton For You!was born. More than 2,000 people came to watch when it was performed as a free concert in Louise McKinney Riverfront Park. It was a categorical success.
Or was it? “It’s hard to measure success,” says Anderson. “I guess it’s doing what you want to do and seaming that into existence. If it’s arts, then it’s a question of whether that art is meaningful to people. I’m glad and lucky people like what I’m doing.”
The seamlessness with which Anderson organized the event is a testament to his good connections, but also to his versatility. He’s an award-winning filmmaker who has taken his often-provocative films from his one-man production company, Dirt City Films, to the international film festivals of Toronto and Berlin. He’s a trained actor who narrates and stars in what he calls “very short, personal-essay-experimental documentary film and video.” He’s a theatre director, who, on-and-off for five years, has co-directed Edmonton’s cult classic improvisational soap opera,Die Nasty. He’s a musician and, more specifically, a drummer for one of the city’s most popular indie bands, The Wet Secrets.
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With so much success in so many areas – and so much travel – you’d think Anderson would have fled the proverbial coop long ago. Instead, he spreads Edmonton’s name through his festival-grinding films and touring band, and then comes back to the city he loves. “For a long time I felt the real world was out there and I was going to miss it. But it’s not. I want to become who I’m going to be in the place I’m from.”