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IB Film Festival features budding James Francos and more

photo: Enjoying their big night out are IB1 students Bhaskar Yechuri, Harkirat Ahluwalia and Osman Bari, and Havergal College Grade 11 student Alex Holgate.

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It was the biggest night of the year for IB film students and faculty, Feb. 25. The TIFF Bell Lightbox hosted the annual IB Film Festival. It featured more than 25 films by aspiring creators from the seasoned film departments at Upper Canada College, Branksome Hall and The York School, a newcomer to the festival.

The night started off with a welcome reception followed by the screenings. The UCC film department showed seven short movies, all very well-received. It was an opportunity of a lifetime to have our boys’ films projected in a professional theatre.

IB1 students Akeil Zarudny, Charlton Kelly and Harkirat Ahluwalia presented a short called “Treadmills,” a romantic-comedy shot in UCC’s very own Strength Agility Speed Fitness Centre. It featured Bhaskar Yechuri and Alex Holgate, a Grade 11 student at Havergal College. In an interesting twist on the possibility of a romance,
Yechuri’s shy character is challenged when the beautiful, athletic Alex starts to use the treadmill beside him.

“Treadmills” was definitely a huge hit with the audience. Acknowledging this success, Ahluwalia, the film’s director, was prompted to credit UCC teachers David Crawford and Duncan Kwan for their guidance and help.

The writer-director of another popular film at this year’s festival, Manuel Gomez Castano, had this to say about “Boarder Wars,” his seven-minute short:

“I chose to take a risk and join the film program in IB1 and have not looked back since. I discovered a passion that I would have never known if I’d never joined. I like everything about film, the process of thinking of an idea, creating it and re-creating it, moulding it and changing it, and finally portraying the vision on the big screen.

“The film is about the spirit and the competitive nature that exists between both houses. My goal was to capture the desire to escape a reality of rules, curfews and consequences. To portray the real bonds that one develops, I chose a close group of boarding students as the actors. The inspiration came from one of my favourite directors-writers, James Franco, a natural at creating lively films using real-life situations and making them hilarious. I would like to emphasize that my IB2 filming partners Jacob Dumas, the cinematographer, and O’Neil Halstead, the editor, did a great job. We feel that this is a film we will all watch in 20 years and reminisce about.”

Indeed. And for those who missed the celebrations and the red carpet this year there is something to look forward to — the 2015 IB Film Festival.

“Boarder Wars”

“Treadmills”

Arts News