York Fine Arts students and faculty score more film successes

The title of the 1957 film classic, Sweet Smell of Success, is an appropriate description of York faculty and student filmmakers who continue to excel on the festival circuit at home and abroad.

Fourth-year film student Lindsay Mackay’s 11-minute production, We’re on our Way, was screened May 24 at Toronto’s Cumberland Cinema as part of the third annual National Student Film Showcase, hosted by the Toronto International Film Festival Group in partnership with the Film School Consortium, a group of 14 Canadian universities and colleges.

We’re on our Way tells a story of lost innocence, in which kids at the back of a bus plot to ensnare their blustery, bullying bus driver. The film was one of 12 titles chosen from more than 90 submissions from across the country.

“The films selected for this year’s Student Film Showcase illustrate the many diverse, unique and talented voices present in Canada’s future generation of filmmakers,” said National Student Film Showcase programmer Agata Smoluch Del Sorbo. “These films feature an exciting range of mediums and genres and we are incredibly proud to be able to support these filmmakers and provide a showcase for their work.”

The End of Second Class, a powerful documentary on same-sex marriage in Canada, directed and produced by York visual arts Professor Nancy Nicol, captured a coveted audience award following its world premiere last month. Nicol’s film won the Elle Flanders Award for Best Feature-Length Documentary at the Inside Out Toronto Lesbian and Gay Film and Video Festival.

Left: A scene from Professor Nancy Nicol’s The End of Second Class

On June 1, York graduate film student Sinara Rozo’s documentary Eulogy opened the seventh annual aluCine Festival Toronto Latin at Media Festival. Eulogy is a moving commemoration of the life and work of local Cuban artist Pedro Alderete, who died in an accident last fall while painting a mural.

The aluCine Festival runs to June 10 and showcases more than 200 productions from Latin America, Canada and around the world. It also features a hands-on workshop by Mary Daniel, another York MFA film student. Daniel, whose credits include the award-winning experimental film Confessions of a Compulsive Archivist, will present “The Art of Low-Budget Lighting”, a workshop on how to look at, analyze and manipulate light with a limited budget.

Meanwhile, Whole New Thing, a captivating coming-of-age drama co-written and directed by York film Professor Amnon Buchbinder, recently completed a successful six-week run at the Carlton Cinemas in Toronto — an almost unheard of feat for a small Canadian film.

Left: From left, actors Robert Joy, Aaron Webber and Rebecca Jenkins in a scene from Whole New Thing

Whole New Thing has just been released nation-wide on DVD, and continues to chalk up honours at international festivals. It recently won the Audience Award for Best Feature at the Manchester Commonwealth Film Festival, and is now heading for festivals in Chicago, Sao Paulo, Brazil, and Prague and Brno in the Czech Republic. For more information about Whole New Thing, see the April 13 and March 31 issues of YFile.

This article was submitted to YFile by Mary-Lou Schagena in the Faculty of Fine Arts.