Spikes at Her Elbow - short docu-drama


 A petite shy Asian woman engineering graduate struggles to find and keep a job in the late 1970s when sexism was rampant in a traditional white male dominated profession 


It’s1974, when Jade Lee enrolls in engineering school when less than 3.6% of Canadian engineering students were women. Her first day at school and she’s the brunt of a prank by her classmates. Four years later, Jade graduates four years later along with five other women and over 200 men. She leaves her hometown of Vancouver for the Calgary to work. When an interviewer’s true intentions are revealed during a job interview, Jade has no option but to dash out. Three hundred job applications later, Jade finally gets a job with an Old Boys’ engineering company. Long hours and her desire to work twice as hard as the guys leads to a break up with her fiancé. When Jade believes her job is going very well, a late afternoon encounter with her boss leaves her devastated and jobless. Crushed but not defeated, Jade picks herself up and finds herself another job.  

Vision Behind The Film

Inspired by true events.  Produced, written and narrated by Nattalia Lea, P.Eng.  Directed by Mohammed Zeytter.  Assistant Director - Nick Haywood.  AWARDS: Best Short Documentary July 2016 Canada Diversity Film Festival, Official Selection, Los Angeles Independent Film Festival Awards 2016, etc.


Jade Lee – Erica Ho Sam Jones – Chris Smart Christopher Roberts – Christopher Heatherington Rob Smith – J. Robert Macneill Tom Harding – Tom Cameron Engineer – Patrick Higgerty Rob’s Secretary – Emily Coward Christopher’s Secretary – Erika Ravnsborg Sam’s Girlfriend – Tammy Barr Engineering Students – Coulter Balfour, Adam Frazer, Dana Kinnard, Ryan Lacroix Engineering Students’ Voice – Lucas Deeg, Mark McQueen, Michael Noble  


Director of Photography – Peter Rzazewski First Camera Assistant – Stella Minae Park Second Camera Assistant – Liam Erickson Key Grip – Dan Crittenden Grip – Connor Couzens Gaffer – Cheska Appave Videographer – Randy Gulinao Sound Production Mixer – Alex Mitchell Lead Makeup Artist – Jenni Macdonald Makeup Artist – Ana Ortiz Locations – Colin Campbell and Beau Cairns Production Assistants – Pam Vang, Tom Sarauskas Wardrobe and Props – Cecil Chabot, Glenn Macdonald  Story Editors – Elona Malterre, Adam Yorke Film Editor – Gina Pacheco Sound Supervisor – Christopher James Foley – Walkabout Foley Arts Music Composer – Curt Town Dialogue Editor & Music Composer – Chad Blain Foley Recordist & Music Composer – Gustavo De Beauville  .

Spikes at Her Elbow - Behind The Scenes Photos

Day 2 of Shoot

Taking our best shots for hallway scene.  Took the most time in setting up.

Waiting Between Shoots

Actor Tom Cameron goofing around with Director Mohammed Zeytter.

Real Team Effort

Over 40 persons were involved in the planning, production and post-production of this short film.

Protagonist - Jade Lee

Lead actor Erica Ho getting ready for the next scene.

Getting the 1970's Look

Make Up Artist Ana Ortiz worked nonstop to get everyone ready.  Each actor took between one to three hours in hair and make up.  Actor J. Robert Macneill gets prepped before his scene.

All Dressed Up

Actors Tammy Barr (Sam's new girlfriend) and Chris Smart (Sam, Jade's ex-boyfriend) in queue for the next shot.



Erica Ho is a Calgary-based actor, who plays protagonist Jade Lee.   She has appeared in numerous films and has been acting for several years now.


Chris Smart fell in love with drama during high school and has been studying acting and drama ever since.  He has acted in numerous plays around town, but Spikes at Her Elbow was his first film.  Calgary-based, Chris plays Sam, Jade's boyfriend.


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Robert Macneill plays Mr. Smith, an engineer.  This role came  naturally to Rob, who worked in the oil and gas sector, prior to his cameo debut in acting.


Tom Cameron is a Calgary entrepreneur who has appeared in commercials before acting in Spikes at Her Elbow.


Pat Higgerty is a Calgary lawyer who can now cross acting off his bucket list.   He plays an engineer in this short film.


ERIKA RAVNSBORG played Mr. Roberts secretary.  Spikes at Her Elbow isn't her first rodeo, as Erika has previously appeared in a beer commercial.

EMILY COWARD played Mr. Smith's secretary.  She has appeared in numerous Calgary independent films.

TAMMY BARR played Sam's girlfriend, where she makes her cameo acting debut.  We thought she was a natural, don't you? 

Wall of Shame

These three were caught slacking off.  Left to Right: Liam Erickson, 2nd AC; Elona Malterre, Story Editor and Actor Tom Cameron chilling on set.

The Big Squeeze

Left to Right: Extra Dana Kinnard (left back), Actor Erica Ho, Extra Ryan Lacroix and Extra (right back) Coulter Balfour waiting for crew to set up.

Setting Up The Next Shot

Left to Right: Nick Haywood, Assistant Director, Liam Erickson, 2nd AC, Stella Park 1st AC; Peter Rzazewski Director of Photography (back)