White Rock’s Jakob Davies stars as Barnard in The Worst Day Ever.

Peninsula actor lands starring role in short film

Nine-year-old Jakob Davies 'perfectly cast' in movie

One of the 2013 finalists in Air Canada’s annual Enroute Film Festival contest is magic, thanks in part to the work of a young White Rock actor.

Jakob Davies, 9, plays the lead in The Worst Day Ever, directed by SFU grad Sophie Jarvis.

The comedic short film is one of two Vancouver films chosen to be screened in-flight as part of the festival. All the finalists in the airline’s annual filmmaking contest will be aired, four per month over the next four months, with the winners – including a People’s Choice award – to be announced at the Toronto gala in November.

Best known as Pinocchio in TV’s Once Upon a Time, Davies has just completed the next Jean-Pierre Jeunet film, The Young and Prodigious Spivet, with Helen Bonham-Carter and Callum Keith Rennie.

In The Worst Day Ever, he’s perfectly cast as Barnard – eight years old and carrying the weight of the world on his sturdy, if small, shoulders. In this malady of errors, he’s blamed for absolutely everything, including a meteor that crashes into his neighbourhood.

When his father shows him a drawing of what the word divorce means — dad in one house, mom in another — your heart almost breaks when this earnest, absolutely perfect young child asks, “Where do I fit in? What about me?”

He then has to listen to his parents fight about who gets to keep the dog (which dies when Barnard takes him out for a walk after his “zero-tolerance for lateness” teacher locks him out of school; he was late because he cooked a three-course breakfast for his parents.)

Brilliantly funny enough to take your mind off even the most obnoxious person sitting next to you on the plane, The Worst Day Ever will screen in November.

Asian Gangs is a tongue-in-cheek self-mockumentary written by and starring Lewis Bennett.

In Grade 5, Bennett got into a schoolyard fight in Langley. When the principal called his mother into the office, he warned her that if Lewis didn’t change his ways, he’d one day be in an Asian gang.

When, years later, his mother reminds him of the principal’s finger-wagging, the revelation sends Bennett into a tailspin of angst. Bennett ­– whose white, middle-class face would scream “guilt!” if you caught him eating one of his favourite Oreos cookies just before dinner – interviews his mother, some Asian friends, a retired police officer and a former gang member. Could it be possible that he was a member of an Asian gang and didn’t know it?

But the funniest scene is when Bennett invites his former elementary school nemesis back to the place where his path into gangsterhood reportedly got started, the soccer field at North Otter Elementary School. Reading the principal’s notes, they re-enact the fight and, in the end, make their peace.

The film ends with Langley’s other claim to fame, the Langley Ukelele Ensemble, playing William Tell Overture. Who can’t smile at that?

Asian Gangs will be screened in August.

You don’t have to book an Air Canada flight to watch the films, or vote for your favourite. Go to enroutefilm.com, sit back, stretch out your legs and enjoy.

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