After 15 years as a hockey goaltender at professional & national levels, CJ Wallis left to pursue a career as a filmmaker. Shortly afterward, based on submitted writing samples, Wallis received a job interview during the sixth season of Late Night with Conan O'Brien in New York.
Starting as a hobby, Cigarettes & Red Vines (originally titled Cigarettes & Coffee) was co-founded in 1998 and quickly became the definitive resource for the news & projects of director Paul Thomas Anderson, who has offered exclusive content and interviews over the years.
Wallis volunteered as a director's assistant for 4 years alongside director Scott Smith on his debut award-winning debut feature Rollercoaster - Wallis helped & learned how to execute every step of making a million dollar independent film from development through to distribution.
While volunteering at the local Rogers Community 4 cable station filming and directing live events, town hall meetings and studio television shows, Wallis entered and won a handful of local Fast Film competitions. Filmmakers are challenged to create a short film within a certain window of time and had to incorproate certain objects, lines of dialogue or themes.
The most notable was a 48-hour contest entry called 'Narcolepsy', co-created with best-friend Jeffrey Zablotny. Out of 49 projects, the visual-effect heavy entry earned 'Best Editing' and was named 'Top 10 Film' - alongside mentor Scott Smith's.
The prestigious Crazy8s annual event challenges 80 filmmakers to pitch a short film, from those 8 projects are jury selected and given 8 days, $800 total budget and a 30 minute limitation to create it. Wallis' pitch was chosen and the resulting film was CIRCUMFERENCE, a 10-minute one-shot short film that seamlessly changes locations, wardrobes and times of year that ultimately loops back on itself - ending where it began.
Circumference also marked the first, and only time in the 20 year history of the contest, that both a short film & promotional music video were created within the contest's limitations and rules.
Joining the MTV Canada daily show 969 as a junior producer and within three months, Wallis was directing show Monday to Friday & writing/producing 3 segments per week. That year the show was awarded BEST YOUTH PROGRAM OF THE YEAR at the Canadian Leo Awards. Despite the show success for many years, it was not renewed by the network in 2007.
For the following four years, "Canada's Best Kept Secret Weapon" collaborated on two multi-award winning independent films 'Dead Hooker In A Trunk' (co-lead, camera operation, all post production, score, design & marketing) and 'American Mary' (producer, story editing & marketing - uncredited.) Both film's were sold and distributed world-wide, catching the attention of major industry players including Quentin Tarantino and Eli Roth:
"WOW. IT WAS MIDNIGHT AND I PUT IT ON JUST TO SEE A LITTLE AND WATCHED THE ENTIRE FILM! THE GOODY TWO SHOES IS EXCELLENT. HE'S SO TALENTED MUSICALLY AND IT GETS PEOPLE EXCITED TO SPEND THE MOVIE WITH HIM!"
The William Morris Talent Agency requested a 20 minute short project to be created to help promote Wallis as a client. The resulting film was LAST FLOWERS starring Joseph May & Sarah Slean. The film premiered in late 2009 in Italy and was again Leo nominated in the BEST ACTOR & BEST SCREENWRITING IN A SHORT FILM catagories.
In between these projects, several music videos were shot including a BravoFact funded visual for Sarah Slean's 'The Rose', which won Best Video Of The Year in 2010. Wallis was also commissioned by NOKIA to create mini adverts filmed entirely with their phone's video camera capabilities. One clip was to document Michael Bay's Transformers 3 Premiere in Florida.
Summer 2011, Wallis was invited to Los Angeles for a week to shoot documentaries for Atlantic recording artist Curren$y's mini-festival tour. During his first performance, he broke his ankle and had to cancel the dates, with a 90 day tour with Method Man now in jeopardy. The only footage of the incident was edited into a mini-documentary called Trust Fall, which pioneered the use of embedded tweets as a narrative tool.
Upon seeing the clip, Mousa Hamdan, Curren$y's manager & label co-founder, named Wallis "President Of Jet Life Films," working as a one-man crew creating all visuals, artwork, marketing & designs for all artists on the record label. Two-time NOLA Hip-Hop award nominated "Best Director," Wallis created over 50 music videos, 75 album covers and 12 hours of lifestyle documentaries in close to 5 years collaborating with Jet Life & some of the biggest names in music. Atlantic Records named Wallis 'Creative Director' for Curren$y's major studio album Canal Street Confidential in 2015.
In 2014, Wallis began shooting a self-financed debut thriller called BB, about a webcam girl who broadcasts herself to the world everyday, never fully realizing the dangers awaiting on the other side of the screen. Using a two-man crew and intentionally employing all first time actors, the film has recently been sold for US distribution & has been universally praised by critics & bloggers, earning itself onto many Best-Of year-end lists.
Wallis currently resides inVancouver, British Columbia designing & marketing for Jet Life and beginning pre-production on his second feature film Umerica.