SMUS Filmmakers Get Red Carpet Treatment at the Victoria Film Festival

What do three SMUS students have in common with world-famous directors Martin Scorsese, Frederick Wiseman and Lone Scherfig? They all have films selected to be screened at the 2015 Victoria Film Festival.

A group of young filmmakers, including Middle school students Angelina, Julie and Meaghan, was announced this week as the winners of the the Victoria Film Festival’s FilmCAN contest. The prize? Well, in addition to each of them winning a scholarship to attend Gulf Islands Film & Television School this spring or summer, their winning short film, “9 Lives,” will be shown on the big screen in Victoria theatres next month during the festival.

Their win was announced at the well-attended pre-festival Launch.

“I felt like a movie star, like I was on the red carpet,” Julie said of attending the event.

“It was great to be around people who were more experienced than us. We kind of felt like we were part of it because we all have the same interests, but you’re talking to people who have so much more experience in this area than you,” added Angelina.

From inception to completion, the girls made the film in just five days last summer on campus, as part of the “Shoot the Write Stuff” summer camp, offered by SMUS Education Extension and the Victoria Film Festival.

“We all were learning how to shoot our own little films and were all into murder mysteries and drama, so we made a group and just decided to shoot this movie. We wrote the script, starred in the movie, directed it, edited it, did the lighting, the sound, everything,” Meaghan said.

“‘9 Lives’ is part mystery, part comedy, and a great deal of fun, filmed by some very bright students at their best,” said Mike Anthony, marketing coordinator for the Victoria Film Festival. “It’s pretty clear, viewing the film, that everyone involved in the process is having a good time and that kind of fun is infectious and carries over to the audience. What really set ‘9 Lives’ apart is its collaborative element. Everyone had a hand in putting the film together, sharing the idea for the story, the direction, and even playing a role within it, which is quite unique in filmmaking.”

SMUS is no stranger to the Victoria Film Festival. Emily Feng’s documentary, From East to West – Exploring the Meaning of Education, screened at the 2008 festival when she was in Grade 11. Middle School students also won the FilmCAN Junior category in 2010. In 2012, a documentary on the Junior School’s production of The Barber of Seville, and 2007 grad Kristen Turcotte’s animated shorts were both screened. And 2014 grad Olivia Sorley won the FilmCAN Senior category last year.

“Our aim with FilmCAN is to encourage and develop budding young filmmakers and help them use filmmaking as an avenue for creative self expression. We’ve found some very talented young filmmakers we hope to see more from in the future,” Mike said.

Angelina, Julie and Meaghan say the Victoria Film Festival will most definitely see more of their work in the coming years.

“We’re going to do this again next year!” Angelina said.

“And after that we’ll go and be movie stars,” added Julie.

If you want to watch “9 Lives” on the big screen, it will be shown on February 9 at 11 a.m. at The Vic Theatre downtown and February 14 at 3 p.m. at Star Cinema in Sidney. Visit the Victoria Film Festival website for ticket info.

You can see what is possibly Angelina’s film debut in a SMUS-produced documentary she appeared in for The Learning Institute in 2012.


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