When I received an email from CITIZENshift in regards to a project I did back in January 2006, it took me by surprise. A Chill in the Air was an experimental film that I made for the Make Shorts, Not War contest. The goal was to take a pacifist perspective and by using footage of WWI provided by the National Film Board, create a message of peace. Overall, the experience was incredibly rewarding. My film was shortlisted as part of the English top 10 out of 280 submissions across Canada. Each week the public voted online, eliminating 2 films a week until the final 4. A Chill in the Air made it to that final round.
In the end I didn't win, but until checking on the CITIZENshift site I had just been using the 'top 4' credit for the film. What I found out though is that I actually came in 3rd place (perhaps 2nd place in the popular vote?). The 1st place film was the one that received the most votes (people's choice), the 2nd place was jury's choice (judges/organizers of the contest choice), and my film is listed as honorable mention (the leftover, haha).
The 7 other submissions are listed as finalists. Throughout the contest I was featured in the news in my hometown of Medicine Hat (a small city of 60,000 people). So if having a bunch of strangers vote and share feedback on my film from across the country wasn't enough, being in the local news ended up bringing me back into contact with people from high school who were suddenly seeing my name again. Of course, there was also a great rallying of support from my family and friends who undoubtedly made my experience such a success.
That winter in 2006 was a pretty eventful one for me. It was interesting to be reminded of that, and to rewatch my film again after all this time when I was contacted for an update for the CITIZENshift blog series 'Where Are They Now?'. My answer was, and is, simple enough: still in film school.
Here is the blog entry from CITIZENshift.