A group of Abbotsford students took the top prize at a recent Vancouver-based film event.
Clayburn Middle School teacher Doug Williams had connected with Vancouver youth film program Young Moviemakers a few years ago, according to Levente Mihalik, an instructor with the program that worked with the Clayburn students this year. The Clayburn program is the first and only one outside of Vancouver, Mihalik said.
Through a variety of programs throughout the year, Young Moviemakers works with thousands of students in Vancouver to produce over a hundred films each year. Then, at the beginning of the next year, the top 15-20 films of the year are picked for a viewing at a gala event at Vancity Theatre.
This year, the group from Clayburn included Carson Cliff, Brandon On, Iliana Martin, Nevaeh Martens, Aidan Boechler, Carter Giesbrecht, Carly Kafka and Morgan Allen.
The Clayburn students, aged 12-14, produced Dreamception, a four-and-a-half-minute short film in which students in a classroom, using a USB cable, plug into each other’s dreams.
“We were all saying random ideas and that one came up somehow,” Martens told the host of the gala event in a red carpet interview.
On added that the process for Dreamception was essentially to “make a very creative film by merging everything we think of.”
And that was a winning strategy for the group, which took the Best Picture award at the event.
“This was my first film ever, so this is surprising,” On said, back on the red carpet after the event, with the rest of the crew echoing that sentiment.
And the event was more than just a show for the youths.
“This was an amazing experience. I’ve learned a lot, and I’ve actually gotten into a few … clubs in my school for this,” Allen said.
As well, Mihalik said three of the students were approached by talent agencies at the event for representation.
“This is a huge accomplishment as many trained and experienced actors fail to land representation,” Mihalik said, adding that a total of 20 young actors from Young Moviemakers landed representation so far this year.
Among the Young Moviemakers alumni, Mihalik notes that several have gone on to work in film in studios like Disney and Netflix.