York free tuition contest winner anxious to tell stories of her homeland

Sosina Tilahun, winner of last year’s York University and MuchMusic “this is my time” free tuition contest for future students, is anxious to tell stories through films about the people of Somalia.

As a first-year student in York University’s Department of Film, she is just beginning to understand the sosina_screengrabjourney ahead, the learning curve she has to climb, before she reaches her goal. But she wouldn’t have it any other way.

Sosina Tilahun

Born to Ethiopian parents in Somalia, Tilahun moved to Canada when she was 12, old enough to remember the country, its people and its strife. K’naan is one of her favourite artists, and an inspiration.

Tilahun’s desire to be a filmmaker began early. “I’ve always been interested in film from a very young age. I’ve always been fascinated with films and stories, and have felt a need to be involved in telling stories through film.”

She was headed toward doing a degree in medicine, but the call of filmmaking was too strong to ignore and York University is where she wanted to land.

Winning the free tuition contest made it that much easier for her to turn her dream into a reality.

Another student’s dream can also soon become a reality. A new free tuition contest starts today, Sept. 26, where current students can enter their vision to win Free tuition and secondary prizes. Visit the yorku.ca/mytime microsite for details.  Future students can also win free tuition and books on the microsite by providing their name and contact information.

Beyond telling stories of Somalia, Tilahun wants to empower young girls in third-world countries to tell their own stories, whether through documentaries or fictional films.

Now in her first few weeks at York in Winters College, Tilahun is already feeling inspired. “To meet my fellow students and to see their passion and their energy has boosted my own. Interacting with them has been so great.”

She has so many ideas for films, some she has already penned, that she wants to turn into screenplays and eventually to direct their filming.  She is excited that one of her first courses this term is on screenplay writing.  She is also impressed by her professors and her tutorial assistants, one of which showed the class a film she herself made. It gave her hope that she can achieve the same.

“I have so much to accomplish and this is just the beginning,” she says. “This is great.”

Much later, she may pinch herself to make sure it’s all real.