You don’t need to be a part of the film industry to know that winning best film at Trop Jr is just about the pinnacle of success for any young aspiring filmmaker. For 15-year-olds Nick Ward, Aiden Emery and Toby Goodman, their dream became a reality at the festival on Saturday 11 February
Their short film, Pupils, beat 15 other finalists from across Australia and one from Germany, to win the coveted place. The students, from The Scots College, Bellevue Hill, worked on the film as part of their Years 8 to 11 Film and Television Studies course developed by the College, drawing inspiration from French masterpiece, Vivre Sa Vie, which they had watched during class. To qualify for the festival, the film also included the Trop Jr Signature Item – a mask – which director, Nick, interpreted metaphorically. Pupils depicts the struggle of schoolyard bullying using sets of black and white slow-motion moments in time.
“We wanted to do something about the theme of bullying but from a different perspective [from how] other films have treated it,” Nick said.
This isn’t the first accolade received by the budding filmmaker. Nick’s last short film, La vie., won the People’s Choice Award and Highly Commended in the MLTANSW (Modern Language Teachers Association of NSW) Linguafest competition, first prize in the Woollahra Municipal Council 2016 Photographic Award and Short Film Prize competition and Best Editing at the CineArts Film Festival.
For Trop Jr, the student group won over $5,000 in cash and prizes. These will be put towards their next film project.
“These boys have displayed an exceptional level of commitment, depth, insight and moreover, a passion for film which has transferred over in Pupils”, commented Mr Justin McInnes, Master-In-Charge of Film and Television Studies at The Scots College. “They have proven themselves to be both creative and accomplished learners who accept nothing short of excellence”.
In winning the Trop Jr competition, the three boys indeed demonstrated excellence. The largest short film festival globally, Tropfest holds events from South East Asia to the Arabian Peninsula. Over 70,000 people attend the main event, this year held at Parramatta Park. Trop Jr is the youth event intended for children aged 15 and under. The judging panel of industry personalities this year included actor and producer, Justine Clarke.
“I am so excited about the future of film in Australia, if this is any indication.” Justine said.