York student produces award-winning short film

film camera

Second-year film student Abraham David received four awards for his film My Girl, Skelly.

Abraham David

Awards season officially kicked off for David earlier this year when he received Best Short Film from the Toronto Film Magazine Fest Summer Season Award. Soon after, The Great Canadian Sci-Fi Film Festival recognized My Girl, Skelly in two categories – Best Short in Code Red Block 2021 and Best Canadian Film. On Dec. 1, David received his most recent recognition in the Awards of Commendation category with Canada Shorts Film Festival.

Out of 38 films from around the world featured at the Great Canadian Sci-Fi Film FestivalDavid mentions he is proud to see his work recognized by talented filmmakers and film buffs.

“I wasn’t expecting this when I submitted my film to the festivals,” says David. Reminiscing on the time he received two awards from the same film festival, David mentions, “I was hoping for the best, and my heart sank when I opened the email from the Great Canadian Sci-Fi Film Festival announcing the winners. The films they screened at the festival blew my mind. It was interesting to see my film among many productions that featured great effects, scripting and acting.”

My Girl, Skelly was initially produced for a project as part of David’s first year in the School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design (AMPD) Film Production program. With a budget of under $400, the film is a testament to the power of creativity.

My Girl, Skelly film poster

The film was inspired by David’s fascination with post-apocalyptic media and sci-fi stories he admired as a child such as Station 11 and Children of Men. My Girl, Skelly is about a post-apocalyptic nuclear winter where a lonely scavenger finds an acquaintance in a human skeleton that reminds him of a loved one. 

David shot the film with a Canon DSLR camera and put his expenses towards props and wardrobe for the film, including gas masks and hazmat suits. He found an idyllically apocalyptic setting on friend’s property in Hornby, Ont., fit with an abandoned farm, a school bus and a frozen river.

“Budget is a lot less of an obstacle than young filmmakers think it is. As long as you are creative and you prioritize story over anything else, you can make something beautiful,” he says.

Scene from the short film

When the pandemic first began, several of David’s film thesis ideas were not possible due to COVID-19 health and safety restrictions. Although My Girl, Skelly was not his first story idea, the pandemic helped create a storyline that led to greater success than he imagined.

David notes classmate and professor critiques as an influencing factor in his success. “I was able to screen the rough cuts in class and get feedback from my peers and Professor Laurence (Green), and if it weren’t for the criticism and advice I received, the film wouldn’t be what it is.”

Wrapping up his first semester as a second-year film student, David recently completed a documentary titled, Till Death Do Us Part, encompassing relationships of three couples and the different stages of love. He is also currently in pre-production for an experimental film titled, A Trip to the Moon, which celebrates the evolution of cinema and film technology. David plans to submit his upcoming work to film festivals in the future.

One piece of advice David has for his peers looking to bring their stories to life is, “a compelling story is at the core of any good film, and the rest is just creative problem solving to serve the vision,” he says. “After all, we are in the business of make-believe.”

To watch My Girl, Skelly, click here.