A group of students from Algonquin’s television broadcasting program won an award last December at a local film festival for a documentary film they made about a transgender man as he prepared for a costume competition.
Second-year students Nicholas Pereira, Sabrina Betts, Jacob Atkinson and Rae Dubois were given the assignment of creating an eight to nine minute short documentary for Digi 60 Ottawa’s Digital Filmmaker’s Festival.
For the competition, the students were each assigned a production position and had to make a short documentary film in 60 days that was required to be a maximum of nine minutes and have the subject of the film relate to the word “fan.”
The student’s film is called Cast of One, a name the students derived from the subject of their documentary, Oliver Parkins, when he misspoke a sentence in his interview. The short film follows Parkins, a transgender young man, and a fan of cosplay, as he prepares for the costume competition segment of Quinte Mini Con that was held in Belleville, Ont. The film includes an interview with Parkins, and shows him as he is hand-making his costume “The Kid” from the video game Bastion.
The students were given the assignment in September and started the filming and creating process in October. To make the film the students had to spend several weekends travelling to several different cities such as Belleville and Kingston, Ont.
The students had to stay up until all hours of the night shooting their short film. Some days were even spent filming until 3 or 4 a.m. in the morning.
The process was time consuming and took a lot of energy on the student’s part. But working together as a team and plenty of food helped the four students get through it.
“Long days and late nights,” said Dubois. “And lots of chicken nuggets.”
The students were up against 26 other schools and came home the winners of the award for best storytelling in the documentary category at the screening and award ceremony that was held in the Algonquin Student Commons theatre on Dec. 5, 2014.
All the film entries were shown in the Student Commons Theatre. An experience that Pereira describes as bittersweet the films were screened for he competitors, actors and many more to see.
“It was cool to see it on a big screen and to see other people’s reactions and how they were seeing it,” Pereira said. “It was just nerve-racking because you know that people are judging you.”
Atkinson agrees, stating he looked away the whole time.
But no amount of fear or nerves could take away from the young filmmakers win. After the screening process and a short intermission the awards were presented to the winners, including Pereira, Atkinson, Betts and Dubois.
“It took a while to register what was happening when we heard our names,” said Dubois. “It took a good 5 to 10 minutes before we realized we won.”
“It was kind of like a huge compliment,” said Pereira. “Complementing our shots, what we showed, our content and editing. Pretty much a compliment for everything we did.”
Winning this award is an accomplishment that will benefit the four students for many years to come.
“I’m proud of it,” said Betts. “And now I’ve got that on my resume.”
All four students are currently in their last year of television broadcasting and are searching for internships which they will have to complete before the end of the school year.