The Babz Chula Lifeline for Artists Society

Chi To Air on Knowledge Network

We’re so excited to announce that Anne Wheeler’s documentary, Chi,  about the end of Babz’ life will air on the Knowledge Network on February 23 at 9 pm, and again on February 24 at 12 am.

Please tune in and witness this incredibly powerful film.

For additional information, click here.


Filmmaker Anne Wheeler travels with her friend, Vancouver actress Babz Chula, to an Ayurvedic clinic in India, where Babz seeks healing from her aggressive cancer. The treatment is ultimately unsuccessful; back home, the irrepressible Babz invites Anne to continue bearing witness to her journey into the unknown.

Down River Gets Theatrical Release

Inspired by the life of Babz Chula, Down River is a feature film written & directed by Ben Ratner, starring Helen Shaver, Gabrielle Miller, Jennifer Spence & Colleen Rennison. It tells the emotionally stirring story of three young women teetering on the edge between creative breakthroughs and personal breakdowns, and their connection with the older woman they rely on for guidance, support and inspiration.


Down River opens at The Fifth Ave Cinemas on March 14th. Writer and Director Ben Rater will be on hand during the opening weekend Q and A sessions, along with several of the cast members, and producer, James Brown.

We are hoping people will come out and see the film as soon as possible in the run and help keep our own films alive in theatres.

The film also opens in Toronto on March 21st at the Cinemark at Yonge and Dundas.

Details at

CHI to Screen at WIWIFF14

CHI will screen on Saturday, March 8 at 1PM. The screening will begin with a special presentation by Anne (via Skype as she’ll be in Toronto for the Canadian Screen Awards).

About the film: 

Anyone who knew Babz Chula—a talented, larger-than-life performer from Canada’s West Coast—could tell you that her life force, or chi, was incredibly strong. When Chula reconnected with director Anne Wheeler in 2009, they discovered a mutual interest: India.

Wheeler accompanies her friend Chula to Kerala, India, where she is to undergo treatment by a renowned Ayurvedic healer in an effort to manage her 6-year battle with cancer.

Showing the excruciating treatments in true vérité style, Wheeler and Chula are hopeful that the bare-bones clinic will deliver and indeed, the treatment seems to provide temporary improvement, before taking a turn for the worse. Amazingly, the irrepressible Chula invites Wheeler and her camera to continue bearing witness to her journey into the unknown.

Wheeler’s up close and personal narration, as well as Chula’s darkly humorous, blatantly honest video diary offer a highly meritorious film beyond Chula’s reputation. Expect to be entertained, astonished and moved.

Tickets are on sale through Vancity Theatre and more information can be found here.
Film outreach poster_Chi

A fundraiser for Violet Cameron

Because of your letters, words of encouragement, love and support, I have gotten my fight back. I am looking forward to the near future when I can walk thru that door to the studio as a free person. Acting is everything to me …thank you for giving me hope.

– Violet Cameron 


Violet Cameron is a young member of our acting community, and as our dear friend Babz Chula reminded us, sometimes we need to take care of each other. Despite having had cancer twice and having undergone months on end of brutal treatments, Violet has remained positive and grateful for every moment. Her words and attitude towards this serious illness are incredibly inspiring.

All she wants to do is live and act and inspire others. But she needs our help to have a chance.

For that purpose, we are throwing Violet Cameron a fundraiser, to help out with her medical expenses.

Date: Thursday, December 19, 2013, 7 pm to 1am

Location:  The ANZA Club, 3 W 8th Ave 

Featuring: The Odds, Kevin House, and DJ Zak Santiago, silent auction, 50/50 draw, door prizes and drink specials. 

Tickets: $20 each (limited number available), available at Brown Paper Tickets

If you cannot attend, please consider donating at

Two Films About Babz Chula at VIFF 2013

There will be two films showing at this year’s Vancouver International Film Festival: one is about her, and the other is inspired by her.

The first is Down River. Written and directed by Ben Ratner, Babz’ dear friend and President of the Babz Chula LIfeline for Artists, the film follows three younger artists–women–who are mentored by an older artist. The three women were all connected to Babz in real life: Gabrielle Miller, Colleen Rennison and Jennifer Spence. The film follows the the three  as they are forced to overcome their fears and face the future without the guidance they’ve come to rely on. It is a funny film about mentorship, friendship, and living life to the fullest.

Writing the script was therapeutic for Ratner, it helped him to process his grief. The film was shot starting last year in June, and the director of cinematography was none other than Babz’ husband, Larry Lynn. It also features Jay Brazeau, Tom McBeath and Brian Markinson.

Read the article in The Courier

Down River Website

Purchase Tickets

The second film is  a documentary called Chi. Filmed by Anne Wheeler while she travelled to India seeking healing from her cancer at an Ayervidic treatment centre in the last months of her life, Chi is ultimately about hope and letting go.

You can read about Babz’ trip to India in her own words, here.

Purchase Tickets

Praise for “Chi”

In the last few months of Babz’ life, she traveled to India to an ayurvedic spa to seek treatment. She took her dear friend, Anne Wheeler, along with her, and camera crew to document the process. Babz blogged about those days, and you can see those posts here.

The footage that Anne shot has finally been edited, and is now a documentary called Chi.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

It screened recently in Toronto, and here is the review:

Canadian actress Babz Chula has been fighting cancer for a long, long time. Not knowing if she can take another round of chemotherapy, she convinces her friend (and the film’s director) to join her on a trip to India to be treated at an ayurvedic clinic. After six weeks of treatment, Babz seems transformed but returns home only to discover her cancer has spread and she only has weeks to live. Babz insists that Wheeler continue filming, if only to chronicle her last weeks, days and moments surrounded by her family.

Chi is a heartbreaking movie, but it is only heartbreaking because it is so real. The journey being taken by a deeply ill woman and her friend is the kind of intimate portrait of illness that we simply don’t get in North America. What’s more is that the way in which Babz chose to live her last days, surrounded by family and embracing the way in which she wanted to pass is nothing short of inspiring, even if the “happy” ending to this film isn’t that everyone lives happily ever after.

If you have ever been there for someone’s last breath, you know that not every passing is exactly as we would like it to be. North America deals so poorly with illness and death that we are closeted from exactly the kind of experience this film shows us. Chi shows us that not shutting down, not shutting off, can be the most healing experience of all.

This film is not easy to watch, but it should probably be watched by everyone. You will absolutely be transformed and healed by it.

Is Chi essential Hot Docs viewing?

Yes, this is absolutely essential Hot Docs viewing, but understand that you will leave sobbing, and somehow slightly lighter inside. This is also an NFB film, so if for any reason you cannot fit this into your festival schedule, you will still be able to access the film later. This is a film to be cherished.

Click here to read the entire post.

Babz Chula Fundraiser with Colleen Rennison & No Sinner, Oct 15

Colleen and Babz shared a special connection. They worked together numerous times, and Babz mentored the younger actress.

In Babz’ last days, Colleen went to her apartment and sang for her, and performed at Babz’ memorial. Since then, her band, No Sinner, has taken off exponentially, creating a deep and loyal fan base, touring, and releasing an album and two videos.

On Monday, October 15, No Sinner will be playing a fundraiser concert at the Backstage Lounge on Granville Island. The proceeds will go to two theatre productions: Dinner With Friends (starring Ben Ratner, one of Babz’ dearest friends), and Race, as well as the Babz Chula Lifeline for Artists Society.

Come join us!

And check out No Sinners’ brand new video: Love is a Madness

Down River Wraps Today

Down River, the film inspired by Babz Chula’s life, and directed by her dear friend, Ben Ratner, wraps today.

Ben Ratner consults with Larry Lynn (Babz’ husband, and the film’s cinematographer) on the first day of filming.

The final scene is a memorial for the character of Pearl, (played by Helen Shaver) and in this scene Aki, (played by Jennifer Spence), reads a letter from Pearl, who has since passed away. The letter she reads is actually the letter Ben read at Babz’ memorial in 2010, a letter that Babz herself wrote.  Also in this scene, Harper (played by Colleen Rennison) will be singing the song “Down River”, written by Kevin House, which she sang at Babz’ memorial.

Down River

Just this past week, we marked the second anniversary of the loss of our dear Babz.

It’s amazing to me how her legacy continues to live on, how she continues to shine and inspire.

Next month, Down River goes to camera. Written and directed by Ben Ratner, Babz’ dear friend, Down River is inspired by Babz’ life.

Here’s the blurb:

Three women (a painter, a singer and an actor, all at various stages of their careers) are inspired to new heights by Pearl, a charismatic and caring older woman who lives in their building. But when Pearl dies, the women are forced to overcome their fears and prevail on their own.

The film stars women who are all part of the Babz family: Colleen Rennison, Gabrielle Miller, and Jennifer Spence.

Party for Piper!

Party for Piper!  presented by the

Babz Chula Lifeline for Artists Society


When: 8pm – midnight Friday, July 8

Where: CBC Studio 700 at 700 Hamilton Street

How much: cash by donation at door, suggested minimum $10. If you would like to volunteer:

If unable to attend you may donate at

Who: You (if you are 19 or over)


Why: See below

A fundraising event for Kelly-Ruth Mercier to help care for her baby girl.

In February, K-Roo adopted a newborn baby girl, and named her Piper Rose. She is wonderful and delightful, but she has faced some serious health challenges in her short life, spending half of it in the hospital. During that time, her mom and dad have been by her side. Piper’s current prognosis is very positive.

The Babz Chula Lifeline for Artists Society would like your help in raising funds to take the financial pressure off of Kelly-Ruth so they can focus on taking care of their baby girl.

You are invited to a grown-ups only party on July 8, to hang out with your pals, have some drinks, and listen to some great live music.

Emceed by actor/comedienne ELLIE HARVIE, the evening includes:

Eclectic cabaret/Folk by: ERIN AUBURN,
Jazz/Comedy stylings of: AMBER-KELLY MACKERETH & THE 3rd Hit, and
Blues/Rock from: NO SINNER (featuring vocalist Colleen Rennison)

We’ll also have great door prizes and raffle items.

Admission will be by donation at the door, a minimum suggested donation of $10, but all proceeds go to K-Roo and DRP. If you cannot attend the fundraiser, but would like to donate, you may do so through the Society’s website:

We present this fundraiser in memory of our dear friend and inspiration, Babz Chula. Please feel free to invite your friends.

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