Good News! Student’s Short Film is Selected for Film Festival

While the long months of quarantine have been hard for everyone, some students found inspiration from the situation. Our student Ananya VASISHTHA, G7 Sapphire, wrote an essay about the outbreak and it was published in SHINE, the online portal of Shanghai Daily, the largest English language newspaper in East China. 

And now, we’re happy to report that ‘妈 Ma’a short film by Victoria CHEAH, Grade 12 Amber, has won 2nd place in the High School Fiction section of the COVID-19 International Student Film Festival. The talented student is also a regular contributor to our school magazine FLOW.

It’s one of the few positive effects Covid-19 has had! According to Simon JACKSON, DP Film, English and Drama Teacher, one of the IB film students’ projects was to make a film based only in their quarantined homes, using only people they lived with. He sent his students’ works to several US-based international film festivals. “The organiser shared with me that there were hundreds of entries from 76 schools in 30 countries on six continents, so this is a wonderful achievement,” Mr JACKSON adds.

We spoke to Victoria about her film and what inspired her. 

Congratulations Victoria! What was your reaction when you found out your film was selected for the film festival?

I was really surprised. I produced the film to fill a gap in my portfolio and to experiment. I never had the intention of entering it for any festivals. However, I’m really honoured that Mr Jackson thought it was good enough to be submitted, and I’m extremely grateful for the award. It’s a very sweet ending to my IB Film journey.

What was the inspiration behind it?

I was trying to fill up my film portfolio before sending it off to IB and wanted to include a film that related to the coronavirus situation at first. I tried to think of a plot that I would be able to film without leaving my house (to comply with quarantine). I usually tend to watch mostly Western films, but my parents have introduced me to Chinese cinema, all of which had an impact on me (read: I cried a lot). 

These included 流浪地球 (The Wandering Earth), 比悲伤更悲伤的故事 (More Than Blue) and Ip Man. I realised that a recurring theme in these films is the portrayal of interpersonal relationships, which I tried to incorporate into my film. I also recorded a voiceover in Chinese to emphasise its connection to these films. It was challenging, but ultimately I believe that it made the film more emotional and dramatic. My goal was to make my mom tear up. She didn’t, but Mr JACKSON said he did, so I count that as a win.

You’ve won some mentorship from a few big-time industry creatives. How does that work?

I have the opportunity to consult Stephanie Rosenberg, a Tony-nominated Broadway producer and the Executive Producer of The Color Purple soundtrack; as well as Paul Chart, an award-winning British writer-producer-director. I plan to ask them questions about the industry and possible careers in film.

What do you hope people take away from your film?

Since my film portrays the significance of a (lost) mother-daughter relationship, I hope that people will realise how precious time is and how we should treasure every moment with our loved ones. As morbid as it sounds, the reality is that anything can happen, and you never know how much time you have left with someone, so spend every minute wisely. 

Simon JACKSON
DP Film, English and Drama Teacher

Victoria’s film, in particular, showed a great level of skill and maturity. I found it a very moving, beautiful film that deserved a wider audience. I was not surprised at all by its success, and I hope it will go on to be shown in more festivals around the world.

In the fall, Victoria will attend the University of British Columbia, Canada, to pursue a major in Psychology and possibly a minor in Film Studies. We wish her all the best in her endeavours.

To know more:

Good News! SSIS Student’s Work is Featured in SHINE
Good News! SSIS Writer Wins at Regional Writing Competition
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