An Abbotsford woman has won a $20,000 grant to produce a documentary, and she has chosen the city’s own hotdog king as her subject.
Lizzy Elliott is one of 30 recipients of Telus Storyhive’s Game Changers Documentary Edition, which invited people from B.C. and Alberta to highlight people making a positive difference in their communities.
The application asked for a detailed summary of who they would feature and why the project was important to them.
Elliott said when she heard about the grants, she immediately thought of Skully White, who owns and operates Lullys Food Experience, selling gourmet hotdogs out of the Canadian Tire parking lot and at Abbotsford Canucks home games.
White, 52, donated a kidney to customer Tim Hiscock in December 2020, and has since launched a campaign to find other donors and recipients.
He has promised that anyone who donates a kidney will receive free “hotdogs for life,” which Elliott is using as the title of her film.
“I think what Skully is doing is so amazing. As someone who grew up in the Fraser Valley, I think it’s important to highlight some of our local heroes,” she said.
“Since COVID has delayed so many surgeries, the need for kidney donations has gone up considerably. So what he’s doing is more important than ever.”
The application process required Elliott to submit a “treatment” to show what the documentary would look like, along with a detailed budget and other details to show how it would work as a short film.
She has no prior filmmaking experience – she is a dental assistant in Mission – but, as part of the Telus grant, she will be given training in the basics of producing a film, and a professional mentor will help with the structure.
Elliott said she also has some close friends who are familiar with the technical aspects of making a movie.
The training seminars will take place first, and then Elliott expects to begin filming Hotdogs for Life in the spring, with the final project ready by January 2023.
She said the focus will be on White’s kidney donation and advocacy work, but she also wants to get to know him and his work as a chef, as well as capture his sarcastic and cheeky sense of humour.
“We want to show that his kidney donation – and offer of free hot dogs for life – are just part of what makes him so special to our community,” Elliott said.
White joked that when he was first approached by Elliott, his main concern was that much of the focus be on the Kidney Foundation and whether George Clooney or Simon Cowell would play him in the full-length movie.
“Of course, I was blown away by being offered and even more so when she won. It’s crazy how this little business at Canadian Tire and the city of Abbotsford have changed my life,” White said.