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, $800 total budget and a 30 minute limitation to create it. Wallis' pitch was chosen and the resulting film was CIRCUMFERENCE, a 10-minute one-shot short film that seamlessly changes locations, wardrobes and times of year that ultimately loops back on itself - ending where it began.
Circumference also marked the first, and only time in the 20 year history of the contest, that both a short film & promotional music video were created within the contest's limitations and rules.
Joining the MTV Canada daily show 969 as a junior producer and within three months, Wallis was directing show Monday to Friday & writing/producing 3 segments per week. That year the show was awarded BEST YOUTH PROGRAM OF THE YEAR at the Canadian Leo Awards. Despite the show success for many years, it was not renewed by the network in 2007.
The William Morris Talent Agency requested a 20 minute short project to be created to help promote Wallis as a client. The resulting film was LAST FLOWERS starring Joseph May & Sarah Slean. The film premiered in late 2009 in Italy and was again Leo nominated in the BEST ACTOR & BEST SCREENWRITING IN A SHORT FILM catagories.
In between these projects, several music videos were shot including a BravoFact funded visual for Sarah Slean's 'The Rose', which won Best Video Of The Year in 2010. Wallis was also commissioned by NOKIA to create mini adverts filmed entirely with their phone's video camera capabilities. One clip was to document Michael Bay's Transformers 3 Premiere in Florida.
Summer 2011, Wallis was invited to Los Angeles for a week to shoot documentaries for Atlantic recording artist Curren$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$y's manager & label co-founder, named Wallis "President Of Jet Life Films," working as a one-man crew creating all visuals, artwork, marketing & designs for all artists on the record label. Two-time NOLA Hip-Hop award nominated "Best Director," Wallis created over 100 music videos, 400 album covers and 12 hours of lifestyle documentaries in close to 10 years collaborating with Jet Life & some of the biggest names in music. Atlantic Records named Wallis 'Creative Director' for Curren$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 & h earning itself onto many Best-Of year-end lists.
The 27 song soundtrack features major recording artists Curren$y, Wiz Khalifa, Lil Wayne, B-Real, 3D Na'tee, Fiend and a 9 track score provided by Anna Meredith! Jet Life artist Mother Marygold acts as the film's musical narrator.
2017, production began on Wallis' first feature documentary PERFECT BID: THE CONTESTANT WHO KNEW TOO MUCH about a Texas math genius who memorized every prize on The Price Is Right leading to one of the most controversial moments in game show history!
The film features long-time producer Roger Dobkowitz and legendary host Bob Barker. The award-winning film was released in 2019 by Gravitas Ventures and held #1 position for the first 2 months of it's release on Netflix, I-Tunes and more.
The second narrative feature THE FIDDLING HORSE was shot around Louisiana and completed in 2019 starring Paula Lindberg, Andy Kindler and J Elvis Weinstien in a story about a plan to rig a series of horse races to cash in big at the track.
The award-winning film co-stars Alley Mills, Norma Arnold from The Wonder Years, one of Wallis' favorite shows.
During Perfect Bid's press run, Wallis appeared on STU'S SHOW and found his second documentary subject in Stu Shostak, a television historian and archivist to Lucille Ball. Stu meets super-fan Jeanine Kasun at a I Love Lucy convention and the two enter into the unexpected fight of their life.
The film features many legends of classic television including Ed Asner (Mary Tyler Moore), Tony Dow (Leave It To Beaver), Margaret O'Brien (Oscar Winner) and many, many more and is due to be released in 2022.
The third feature documentary MAD MAC details the incredible story of two-time Super Bowl champion quarterback JIM McMAHON, one of the biggest personalities/talents on and off the field. The film tells some of the most unbelievable stories you will ever hear from his time playing in the NFL and his post-career years.
Interviews include friends and ex-athletes including Mike Ditka, Andy Reid, Steve McMichael Larry The Cable Guy and several others. The film is currently in post-production and will be released in the second half of 2022.
The fourth documentary is THE TECMO BOWL - an unexpectedly emotional story of the four best NES players leading up to the April world championships in Omaha, Nebraska. The film is currently being shot and will be released in Winter 2022.