WAIT THE DRAGON | Zean Lin

WAIT THE DRAGON is a comedy where a gangster boss hires a director to make a porno for his personal collection, but the director, at his own insistence, makes an art film instead. A conflict breaks out when the boss sees the director's work.

ABOUT THE DIRECTOR | Zean Lin

The relationship between light and shadow – between white and black – is what makes a story shine. After 4 years of study at Emily Carr University of Art + Design, I have learned not just to tell a story, but how to tell a story. My renewed understanding of plot, cinematography, lighting and all other aspects are directly reflected in my work. I am Zean Lin, a filmmaker.


Cacoethes | Nicole Ferguson

When an ambitious but tempered Prince gets sent away, he must train with their royal aide in order to prove to his parents that he’s worthy of inheriting the throne.

Cacoethes - Film Stills + Behind The Scenes

Director's Statement

Cacoethes” (an irresistible urge to do something inadvisable), follows the origin stories of Damium Lowardson, the antagonist in my feature film Port 20. In a slightly enigmatic way, we dive into the psyche of the young Prince and aim to decipher what brings him to make the decisions that he does. A little insight to his character development into who he becomes in Port 20. 

Around the time I first wrote Port 20, as a novel at 15, a lot of people were drawn to the villain and as a true crime enthusiast, I find that people are usually more curious towards the ‘enemy’. We question what drives them to commit the crimes they do, their motive but we also can’t help but wonder the how. How did they become as crazy as they are? 

When I was around 13, I got the opportunity to attend a book festival in Bali, where I met the author of We Need to Talk About Kevin, Lionel Shriver. Intrigued by Kevin’s character, I asked, “What were thinking about when creating him?”. She swiftly answered, “How more messed up can he get?”. It was this mindset that influenced my creation of Damium and his backstory.

Origin stories can give characters more depth and allow us to better understand them in the universe that they are in. It gives us the opportunity to see them in a way that no one in their world does.

ABOUT THE DIRECTOR | Nicole A. Ferguson

Nicole A. Ferguson is an Indonesian-Canadian Screenwriter and Director who primarily focuses on Feature Films and Episodic Television. In her work, she aims to challenge the toxic stereotypes that have been perpetuated over the years, especially in regards to sexuality, feminism, ethnicities and more. After writing her first feature film at 20, she currently is working on two original TV shows for production.


Soulmate in 2020 | Vanessa Wong

| Synopsis |

Soulmate in 2020 is a short film about a city girl who has been wasting her life trying to find a soulmate, until the forgotten love story of her grandparents is revealed.


“The style of this film is inspired by Hong Kong movies in the 90’s and early 00’s. For me, that was the golden era of the Hong Kong film industry and I hope this film will serve as my tribute to that time in Hong Kong.”

Soulmate in 2020 | Behind the Scenes

“Your best film is always your next film.”

— Carlo Ghioni, Our Beloved FMSA Instructor

Contact

email – cwongecu@gmail.com
website – https://www.wvanessa.com


Alone Together | Jake Roggenbusch

A quiet, depressed student must pass an important midterm while being chased by a tenacious, shadowy figure that only he can see.

Alone Together - Film Stills

Director's Statement

I think that film has a unique power to draw people in and develop empathetic relationships between the audience and the characters that are portrayed on screen. I’m fascinated with this relationship and want to try to use it to make it easier for human beings to understand each other and our individual experiences through the lens of storytelling.

 

With this project in particular I wanted to use that relationship in order to make mental illness more relatable for people who have never experienced it. In order to do that, I needed to have some way to personify mental illness in a way that would be relatable to anybody. While people may not understand what it’s like to experience anxiety, depression, and panic attacks, they can relate to the idea of this shadowy figure following them around as they try to go about their daily lives. Anxiety is closely related to feelings of dread, paranoia, and anticipation, and I felt that using the shadow to create those effects could mirror the relationship between these emotions and the person feeling them to create an experience that reflects what it’s like to live with anxiety that you can’t escape from.

 

Mental illness affects a large percentage of the population, myself included, so it’s really important to me to use my work in order to contribute to those larger conversations by sharing my own experiences. It can be difficult to explain those experiences through words alone, so I feel that showing someone what these types of experiences are like through an art form opens up a more direct channel of communication that can help make these dialogues more productive for both those who know what it’s like to suffer from those issues and those who may not.

ABOUT THE DIRECTOR | Jake Roggenbusch

Jake Roggenbusch is an American screenwriter and director living in Vancouver, BC and studying at Emily Carr University of Art + Design. Jake’s work revolves around personal identity, mental health, and interpersonal relationships and how societal advancement forces us to constantly reevaluate how we treat ourselves and the people around us. He specializes in screenwriting, and has been writing for 7 years while studying at multiple institutions in both Canada and America. He also has experience teaching screenwriting for 2 years as a teacher’s assistant at his previous institution in his home of California.


Darling Parisite | Sabira Pashkevich

A young, mortally ill woman comes back to her hometown after living in Paris for 7 years, in order to give her family a morally questionable “present”.

Darling Parisite - Trailer

Synopsis

Roxana, a girl in her mid-twenties living in Paris, discovers she has a butterfly brain tumour and has one year left to live. She returns home to Vancouver to spend her last year with her friends and family. She decides to have a baby, both to ease her passing for her parents and to continue on her family lineage. Her friend David, who has always loved her wants to be the baby’s father and is against the baby being produced in vitro.

Artist Statement

Back in Kazakhstan, where I am from, my very first filmmaking mentor was asked: “What is cinema?”. “Cinema is magic” – she replied. Up to this day, this is one and only definition of cinema that I acknowledge.

 

Years later, browsing through my vocabulary, in attempts to find appropriate words to generalize my own film practice, here’s what I came up with: melancholic, romantic, reminiscent, somewhat hopeful, fiercely personal. The common thread that comes across in each and every one of my films is that all of them are narrative-based and character-driven. In my work, I generally try to reflect upon how certain traumatic experiences give us chance to start over, live a fuller life and be better people. I think I mostly tend to tell stories about utterly imperfect people: on the one hand you can see they are deeply flawed, but on the other hand, you could understand where they come from and empathize with them. In my films, I explore topics of womanhood, toxic relationships, family values, mortality and coping with loss. All of my works are based on my personal experiences to a certain extent. Some of them start with my secret fears or desires and take a “what if” turn in the process, as if described events would happen somewhere in the parallel, yet very realistic universe. In other films, I tell slightly cinematically distorted stories of things that actually took place in my real life.

 

The huge portion of my process is working with the cast and crew. The moment they receive the script, the characters and the story I’ve created stops being just mine, and becomes ours. And when the film is ready for more people to see it, the ultimate goal is that more people would join us in sharing the story together. The biggest compliment for me as for a filmmaker is to see that people were moved by watching my film. That they somehow could relate to what they’ve seen.

 

As I have mentioned above, my works are based on personal experiences, fears or desires. They are basically the confluence of my real world and my imagination. One might think I have poor imagination, since it lacks literary anything surreal or magical. I kindly disagree. I believe that magic lives in each and everyone of us. And for me seeing how my films provoke thoughts, feelings and emotions is the certain proof that cinema indeed is magic.

Film Stills - Darling Parisite

Behind The Scenes - Darling Parisite

ABOUT THE DIRECTOR | Sabira Pashkevich

I was born and raised in Kazakhstan, and although I love my homeland very much, I never felt like I belong there. I had a dream, almost bordering with the idee fixe, to move somewhere to study filmmaking. Luckily my parents supported my intentions to get a good film education, and at the age of seventeen I moved to Vancouver to attend the international boarding high school (Bodwell), where I lived and studied together with kids coming from all over the world. This is one of most valuable and fun experiences of my life, because I got a chance to make friends with people of such varied backgrounds.

 

After graduating Bodwell, I enrolled at Emily Carr University to study filmmaking. Why filmmaking? I am a natural born storyteller, and I felt like being a film major would give me variety of tools and connections to tell stories from various positions, and so far my expectations have been met. The reason I chose to go specifically to Emily Carr University is that I was very curious to see what is it like to be surrounded by a great variety of art works on a daily basis. Having spent four academic years there, I gotta say that it totally widened my views on every single aspect of life, giving me the courage to experiment without the fear of judgement. In addition to my film practice, the curriculum in Emily Carr University is built in a way that provides every student with profound knowledge and understanding of various art courses, through lectures, personal research, museum visits, essay writing and much more. I loved this part of my major, and I believe this is one of the reasons of why getting my professional education in this institution was the right choice.

 

Even though I had been enjoying my time at university and in Vancouver, I still felt there was so much more to life. In my third year, when I got the opportunity to go on an exchange program, I took it in a heartbeat. In 2018, I spent 3 months studying at the University of Reading in UK, expanding my education by taking courses in theatre and television studies. During my semester abroad, I also had a chance to solo-travel across Europe, which was a very enlightening personal experience.

 

After coming back to Vancouver, I participated in the RAW Artists showcase, presenting several of my films at the event. In the spring semester of 2019, I took a few courses that allowed me to focus directly on practices I am most interested in, which are writing, directing and producing.

 

My last year of university, I worked on my graduation film, which was the most challenging production of mine so far.


Revenge of the Supermom | Sara Page

A disenchanted daughter must decide if she will embrace her destiny when her neglectful superhero mom discovers a villain in their garbage.

This project was awarded the Sophie Burnett Memorial Award

Revenge of the Supermom - Trailer

Revenge of the Supermom - Bonus Trailer

Synopsis

Cora Demers is a disenchanted daughter with a serious chip on her shoulder – her mom is a superhero! Still stinging from a bad date, Cora tries to hold a celebration for her mom’s 50th birthday, but ends up dealing with her supermom’s ravenous fan club instead. Cora and her mom must learn to reconnect in order to face their biggest threat yet: an unexpected villain from their past.

Artist Statement

Experimenting with stereotypes is what drives my filmmaking. Mixing non-traditional plots with fantastical elements and abstractions is integral to my storytelling style. I am passionate to write about characters who exist in recognizable Canadian landscapes, characters who are socially isolated or different, who subvert stereotypes, or battle with difficult moral dilemmas – dilemmas that address the ideologies we take for granted in our society, that sometimes lead to more harm than good.

 

Primarily my films are driven by thematic content, over character development or plot. I am attracted by themes of dystopia, death, dreams, murderers and psychopathy. To facilitate the thematic content in my work, I place visual barriers between the camera and the actor or subject (for example, a reflection, veil, or makeup – anything that distorts the image). I use discordant focal lengths to create purposefully blurry images and I design storytelling images that cut up the visuals into smaller shapes. Often I use tighter camera shots that do not show the actor’s full form in order to visually distort the human body. Sometimes I will contrast these distortions with extreme wide shots that make the actor look extremely small in order to convey sensations of psychosis and loneliness. Saturated colour palettes and surreal comedy are other elements I use to convey my own questions and explorations of existing social realities. My methods enhance the recurring themes of isolation, loss, and claustrophobia in my films. 

 

The ecological and social responsibilities of my filmmaking practices are a major concern for me. I practice eco-friendly film production by pooling resources, planning time-efficient shoots, and recycling materials across multiple films. My films provide a personal commentary through the characters about the implications of abuse towards people and towards the environment. Many of my stories are set in post-apocalyptic environments, in which humans have already abused the earth to a point beyond repair, and now are left to live with the consequences. I like to create characters who are hopelessly tied to the gears of the machine, ultimately leading to their downfall. For example, in one of my films a girl is so consumed with her own vanity she dies from the obsession. Another film I made in 2018 is set in a post-pandemic society where a girl gives birth to an egg, fights with the silent racism she feels towards people who are half-bird, and then eats her own bird baby when she can’t overcome her shame. 

 

I use my films to focus on themes of gender identity. I explore the pressures on women to be mothers, how or why unspoken worth in society is often assessed based on whether or not one wants to bear children. My films also focus on pressures on women to hold both public and domestic careers, how women are trained from birth through the media to dress or behave in public, as well as how to think about their bodies and appearances. How society teaches men and women to interact romantically is another point of interest for me. Many of my characters also explore various forms of gender fluidity – women portraying stereotypically masculine traits, or men portraying female traits or dressing in a more suggestively-feminine style. I aim to promote a dialogue surrounding interpretations of clothing in particular, and how clothing trains us to conform to gender stereotypes, and how we can learn to think outside the garment boxes that we often take for granted. By exploring characters who share a range of gender traits, I strive to portray those who are different, but also those who are strong and resilient.

 

I am also dedicated to exploring villains – the characters who we would otherwise love to see fail or meet their demise. From a young age my favourite characters in Disney films were always the evil witches, and this is true still today. I am fascinated with exploring villains as protagonists, but not in a way that necessarily makes them “good,” even from their own point of view.  I explore this moral content through my film characters, as it is generally a part of our natures we suppress – but a part that we all possess. We must unlearn unhealthy biases by becoming aware of them and then learning and listening from those around us to incite change. By exploring cold characters and themes through a lens of fantastical and absurd dark comedy, I am searching to understand the ways that we, as a society, deal with pain and hardship and grow from it. Revenge of the Supermom features a bit of a villain in every central character – nobody is a hero here, and we can learn from their mistakes.

Behind The Scenes

Above are a few behind the scenes photos taken throughout the production of Revenge of the Supermom. The film was shot both on location and in studio in Vancouver, BC.

ABOUT THE DIRECTOR | Sara Page

Sara Page is a filmmaker and musician based in Vancouver, Canada. She has an absurd sense of humour, a fascination with art history, and is terrified of dark closets. Sara is passionate to tell stories set in Canadian landscapes that subvert stereotypes, deal with moral gray areas of society, and portray socially isolated characters. Sara was the recipient of the Governor General’s Silver Academic Medal for the 2019-2020 graduating class.

She has a Bachelor of Media Arts from Emily Carr University of Art + Design, and a Bachelor of Music from the University of Victoria, with double majors in music composition and flute performance, with additional studies in creative writing. She also studied music composition at the Conservatoire de Musique à Montréal, in Québec. For her outstanding academic achievements, Sara received multiple tuition scholarships during her degrees at Emily Carr and UVic. She has worked in the past with Quator Bozzini at the 2012 Composer’s Kitchen, and had her music read by ECM+ and the Lafayette String Quartet. As a flutist Sara specialized in contemporary music, and has performed works by Chaya Czernowin, Luciano Berio, and Brian Ferneyhough. Sara has also worked in the floral industry as a designer since 2008.  Creating florals for film sets and composing music for film is how she became inspired to pursue a career as a media artist, and combine all her talents together through the art of filmmaking.

Sara has plans for bringing many more stories to the screen that incorporate her dark sense of humour, themes about disturbing moral dilemmas, villains, unusual music, and other fantastical elements. 


I Fell in Love with a Man Right Before My Death | Zoe Zhenggu

Daria is suffering from depression. She attempts suicide at a party and falls in love with the stranger who tries to rescues her.

I Fell In Love With A Man Right Before My Death - Trailer

Artist Statement

I am a Chinese filmmaker based in Vancouver, BC. My film practice is emotional and dramatic, and focuses on human nature. I work in many formats, including narrative film, 16mm film, installation and documentary.

My recent, dramatic film I Fell In Love With A Man Before My Death tells a story about the world of depression. It is an experiential story that I personally connect with. It speaks to the psychological state of the body today. Our mental health is invisibly damaged by cultural and political violence. Sadly, there are many times where we are not even aware of our own spiritual fragmentation and incompleteness.

The style of my work has only begun to change in recent years. Before, I was an avid fan of suspense movies and was passionate about violent and bloody stories. When I experienced this kind of fragmentation as a person, I started to make films connected to my personal experience in the hopes that it would encourage people to face the emotions deep in their hearts and heal them.

ABOUT THE DIRECTOR | Zoe Zhenggu

Kaiwen Zhenggu (Zoe Zhenggu), is a Chinese filmmaker and a cinematographer, based in Vancouver. She is a recent graduate of Emily Carr University of Art + Design. She specializes in directing, lighting, advertising and graphic design. She is accomplished in shooting dark, dramatic films, music videos and fashion videos.


Arcadia | Nicole Yang

A pair of brother’s friendship is tested by the arrival of a new neighbour, as they adventure through their fantasy land of Arcadia.

Film Stills - Arcadia

Synopsis

Two young brothers grow up in a low-income family. The only friends they have are each other. They spend their days in their imaginary world – Arcadia, as adults. Meanwhile, a new neighbour has moved in next door and they meet him later on in the film.

It is a story of friendship, childhood, and imagination.

Artist Statement

I am a filmmaker currently residing in Vancouver, Canada. Visual storytelling is what I am passionate about. Telling stories from my perspective, my thoughts, my dreams, as well as sending my audience messages that I want to convey means the world to me. What drives my motivation are my dreams and my experiences. Ever since I could remember, I have had dreams every night, occasionally mixing them up with reality. Often, the combination of the two can spark great film ideas. While the style of my work can lean towards either the quirky or thrilling side, I am heavily influenced by Wes Anderson and nostalgia.

ABOUT THE DIRECTOR | Nicole Yang

Nicole Yang is a filmmaker who was born in Beijing and raised in Vancouver, Canada. She mostly focuses on writing and directing. Rather than focus on a specific genre, she jumps between either dark thrillers or light hearted dramedies. Her work tends to address themes of humanity, while having comedic yet nostalgic undertones.


Family Recipe | Iris Cheng

A girl prepares a family dinner on a Sunday night to eat with her busy parents; however, things did not turn out as she hoped…

Family Recipe - Trailer

Director's Statement

Families nowadays are distancing from each other. I see capitalism and technology as the main reasons why. People are fighting and racing with time for money, playing games on their phones and checking people’s lives through social media.

My ongoing project is about a Taiwanese family, alienated from each other, numbing from their busy daily routine and gradually forgetting the importance of each other.

Growing up in Taiwan and coming to Vancouver for university, I’ve noticed there is a big difference in the lifestyle and pace for the two cultural backgrounds. People in Vancouver have a really regular schedule, which allows them to spend more time with people they love, compared to Taiwan. Taiwanese life is often overtaken by work. By making this project, I hope Taiwanese, or even people who are also being overwhelmed by life, can see these reflections and come to the realization of how they could improve their lives after watching my film.

Family Recipe - Behind The Scenes

ABOUT THE DIRECTOR | Iris Cheng

Iris Cheng holds a Bachelor of Media Arts from Emily Carr University of Art + Design. During her time in the Film + Screen Art program, she gained experience as a director, screenwriter and editor. As a filmmaker, Iris is interested in the topic of dreams and relationships between humans, since she is interested in the conflict between the human ego and the subconscious. Being born in Canada and raised in Taiwan also affects her perspective of cultural differences. She believes film as mass media can show the world the beauty of a country and the cultural background of different races, especially her cultural background – Taiwanese.


Rosetta | Hwa Pyung Lim

A barista’s mundane shift takes a turn when a customer from hell enters his coffee shop.

Rosetta - Trailer

Synopsis

A rude customer interrupts a tired barista’s mundane routine with an oddly complicated request – a coffee prepared with flour.

Artist Statement

I am interested in the visual storytelling and cinematography of film, which I have been experimenting with since I was 10 years old. I have always hoped to be able to tell the stories of the people in Bolivia, a country with drastically diverse cultures and people, and a country that I have learned to call home. I want to tell the stories of voices that never get heard in mainstream media, and to push the boundaries of storytelling through a simple visual medium. I intend to ultimately work back in my home country and hopefully grow a booming film industry someday.

Behind The Scenes

ABOUT THE DIRECTOR | Hwa Pyung Lim

Hwa Pyung Lim was born in South Korea and moved to Bolivia at the age of five. Since elementary school, he has been interested in making short films with his friends, eventually inspiring him to focus on cinematography. He has been studying at Emily Carr University of Art and Design since 2016, studying in the Film, Media, and Screen Arts program. He is interested in telling people’s stories through the visual language of cinema, and giving minorities a voice through film.