Script to Screen Student Films making a splash on the Festival Circuit
The Advanced Television and Film, Script to Screen program, now entering its fourth year, has begun to make a name for itself on the festival circuit across North America.
Hard Close, the main class project for 2016, was invited to six festivals in North America and won seven awards: Four Awards of Merit for Directing, Acting, Narrative Short and Music at the 2016 Cinema WorldFest (Ottawa), and the Post City Sound Best Student Film Award at the 2017 Lakeshorts International Short Film Festival (Toronto) which included $2,500 of in-kind post production services for the program's next film. This tally also includes the Best Short Drama Award at last week’s Lake George Film Festival (New York).
Hard Close has also been awarded a Student Merit Award for editing at the 2017 Canadian Cinema Editors Awards.
The awards and recognition these student films have received have not gone unnoticed.
“If they (students) put this together after one year of school, maybe this is something I should check out,” said Ciaran Vallely, a 2017 program graduate. “Knowing all the instructors are still working in the industry and therefore have their finger on the pulse was another major factor in me joining the program.”
In addition to working-professional instructors and a supportive space to create great films, Script to Screen offers proven insight into the dynamics of festival film distribution. The final shorts are made with festivals in mind as it has become the most current and direct marketing tool for filmmakers.
“It is not easy to get into festivals,” explains Lisa S. Dyment, 2016 program graduate and current Toronto based actress. “There is a certain calibre that’s expected and the program has had a great start. The school gives us incredible top-of-the-line equipment and a contract with ACTRA, all of which really help set us up for success.”
Success breeds success and students entering the program each year are always inspired by the achievements of prior students.
Dyment’s inspiration was As I Like Her, the first film produced by the program in 2015. The film played at the 2015 Toronto International Short Film Festival and received a Student Merit Award nomination at the 2016 Canadian Cinema Editors Awards, a national award competition featuring student films from across the country.
Vallely is the Film Distributor for the programs latest film Animal, which wrapped in June. He is now looking to build on the success of his predecessors. With a full distribution plan in-hand he has been working to get Animal into festivals all over the world.
He is off to a great start, he recently informed his classmates that Animal was now an official selection at the 2017 Montreal International Black Film Festival. Recognized by the Canadian Screen Awards, Canada’s version of the Golden Globes, this is the biggest film festival any Script to Screen short has been involved in to date.
*The Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA) is the Canadian labour union representing performers in English-language media that supplied all the professionals working on the student’s films.