Wellington wins best Drama at Shanghai Student Film Festival

Leigh-Ann is taking a film course as part of her IB Diploma Programme studies at Wellington College and was recently awarded first place in the Drama category at the Shanghai Student Film Festival. She shares her thoughts on making films and inspiration for A Moment in Time.

The Shanghai Student Film Festival is held annually and brings pupils from schools all over Shanghai together for a weekend-long filmmaking event. The festival involved an 8-hour filmmaking challenge, followed by plenty of workshops on the Saturday, and culminating with an awards ceremony for the winning entries. This year, I attended the festival and felt extremely gratified to win the Drama category with a film that I had prepared beforehand.

Making A Moment in Time and then bringing it to the festival were both great experiences, and I feel so lucky to be able to explore my interest in filmmaking in greater depth while sharing it with other enthusiasts.

The film focuses on the very moment of an Alzheimer‘s diagnosed dad, and his memories when he once again remembers and appreciates that there is still a reason to fight—a reason to live—when he holds his daughter’s new-born child in his arms for the very first time.

I recreated this moment in time with the goal of giving encouragement to all the sons, daughters, husbands, and wives struck by Alzheimer’s to never give up hope, to remember every moment of their lives, and to keep the belief that, someday, mankind will put an end to this devastating disease, which robs our mothers and fathers of all what defines them – their memories. A Moment in Time will hopefully be an inspiration for viewers to also cherish every moment of their lives, no matter how good or bad, since it is these moments that define who they are.

I was thrilled and honoured to win my category at the festival, and I recently enjoyed another great filmmaking experience during the recent 2018 Arts Festival. Dr Jacobi introduced me to Kirk Jones, one of the festival’s guest artists, who watched my film and said that it was a really touching piece. This meant a lot to me, since he’s a highly respected and widely acclaimed film director. He was also thoughtful enough to provide me with his professional feedback and several pointers for my future efforts. This was another hugely beneficial and exciting experience for me. Making films is one of my main extracurricular interests, and it’s something that I’d like to carry on doing throughout my university years… and perhaps beyond. I’m currently considering applying to several film colleges in the California area since it’s the home of Hollywood and the heart of the filmmaking industry.

Working with Kirk Jones was my favourite part of Arts Festival and was a real eye-opener, too. It was fascinating to get the professional insights of an industry insider who has an undeniable passion for making and directing films. It’s certainly shown me some of the realities of what a director needs to be prepared for. Patience is an absolute must; during one session, we spent about an hour editing 15 seconds of footage – and Kirk said that was pretty fast!

I’ve really enjoyed working on this project and I’m looking forward to diving into the next one. As with any interest or passion you might have, I highly recommend seeking out opportunities to share what you can do with others who have the same enthusiasm. It’s important to keep challenging yourself and seeing what else is out there.