A deep love for motorcycles over the years became a gateway for Lori Lozinski to process the grief of losing her parents.
The 48-year-old award-winning producer, who spent many fond years in the Hylo area in Lac La Biche County, is bringing that story to the big screen nationwide. Loziniski’s directorial debut A Motorcycle Saved My Life will be seen by the public for the first time this Saturday at the Edmonton International Film Festival.
The film will also be shown in both the Vancouver and Calgary International Film Festivals.
The short narrated film pays homage to the lessons and strength her parents contributed to her life, helping shape not only her creative expressions but giving her motivation, she said. Through the journey of riding her motorcycle from Vancouver to the northern Alberta community, she was able to reconnect with an important part of her life.
“It was bringing me back to them and all the ways that we used to connect, whether it was through travelling or doing unusual things, which my mother always really enjoyed,” she said.
Her father Dave Lozinski, was a farmer in Hylo, an environmental enthusiast and a former Lac La Biche County councillor. Lozinski’s mother was a “youthful spirit” who was deeply rooted in who she was.
Unfortunately, dealing with the inevitable aspect of their death has been a difficult journey.
“After they both passed quite suddenly, I was a little bit lost. I really wasn't sure what I wanted to do with my life anymore... My dad passed away 11 years ago and my mom almost nine years ago. So it's been a bit of a long journey to get here."
The film, which she has been working on for a couple of years, involves many archival photographs of her family and her time in the community. Throughout the film, Lozinski interviews her surviving family members, who rejoice in talking about fond memories about both her parents and childhood. As a result, the experience brought her closer to her roots and her extended family, since she’s been living in Vancouver for the past 20 years.
“I'm not afraid to tell these people I love them anymore, where I used to be. I think that's what the biggest shift was for me.”
Lozinski’s transition from producing over 100 documentaries, television shows and films to her own directed and written short film is a journey she hopes to continue.
“I just wanted to make projects that were more in my own voice, in my own perception of how I see the world. As a producer, I’m creatively involved in those projects, but ultimately at the end of the day, I want to support the director and what they're trying to say,” she said. “I’m grateful that I'm doing it a little bit later in my career because I've had so much producing experience.”
Lozinski now visits the Hylo area, which she considers home, as much as possible. Lozinski and her sister share their family property in the area that was the backdrop for much of the film. She hopes to expand and continue to share the relationship with the area with others, whether through film or connecting with the community.
“Anytime anybody asks me where home is, it's really that land. That's where I feel the deepest connection to. Being able to have the privilege and opportunity to tell a story like this, especially with the backing of the National Film Board (NFB),” has been a highlight for her.
Talking about grief
Ultimately, by telling her story about the thrill and freedom she gets through riding a motorcycle and addressing the pain that became a healing journey, she hopes it will help others too.
“I would really love to kind of break down those walls because I do think we need to be talking more about grief, how we live with it and how we learn to live with it.”
“I think if this story is just a conduit for people,” to confide in each other and destigmatize their pain, it could hopefully support their journey, she said
As the debut for A Motorcycle Saved My Life nears, Lozinski is thankful for her family’s contributions and looks forward to those who contributed being able to experience the film.
“It's going to be a challenge emotionally, but I'm really excited for people to see it and for my family to see themselves in it.”