May Festival Shenanigans

Over the past month my life has been filled with hectic (but very enjoyable) film work and travelling. After my trip to NFFTY in April, I was very fortunate to be able to travel to two festivals: CineYouth in Chicago, and TIFF Next Wave Jump Cuts in Toronto. Here’s a brief rundown, with pictures, of my adventures…


CineYouth was a lot of fun! It was a really awesome community that I was happy to be a part of this year. Rebecca Fons and the CineYouth team did a fantastic job, and Rebecca was so friendly and great to talk to. I definitely made some great connections that I’ll keep in touch with in the future. It was a two-day/three-night festival hosted at the Columbia College Chicago.

I attended a relaxed and interactive session with Academy Award winning producer Caryn Capotosto, where she shared stories about her early filmmaking experiences and the process of making 20 Feet from Stardom.

It was really great that GIFTS won the Best Thriller award! And as a winner of CineYouth, GIFTS will also be screened at the 50th anniversary Chicago International Film Festival on Saturday October 11th as part of the Best of the Fest category.


Last year I went to TIFF Kids Jump Cuts for my short film “A Day in the Life of a Montessori Junior High Class“. This year GIFTS was accepted into TIFF Next Wave, the high school division.

It was a bit of a rushed day and I couldn’t stay after the evening screenings because we had to catch a flight back to Ottawa. I attended the Filmmaker Boot Camp sessions during the day, where Canadian filmmakers from the industry spoke with us. The filmmakers hosting the sessions were great, but the sessions were more of a lecture style setting; which was okay, but I would have much rather had the session include more opportunities for open discussion with the Canadian filmmakers leading the sessions. Nonetheless, it was fun, and I enjoyed chatting with other youth filmmakers.

Finally, I was genuinely happy that Nate Wilson won for his short film “Glow”, which was also part of his application to the Ryerson film program. I also enjoyed chatting with Nate, and I look forward to what he comes up with in the future.

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