Two young Penticton filmmakers are making a name for themselves in the Okanagan.
Cousins Maddison Tebbutt, 16, and Ivy Allen, 12, wrote, edited and filmed the movie Dollhouse as part of the Kelowna Centre for Arts and Technology’s 48-hour Film Challenge. The duo created the film over the weekend of Oct. 18 to Oct. 20 and took home an award.
“It was really fun to work on the film competition with my cousin, and I hope we can make more,” said Allen.
Filmmakers of all ages entered the contest, including many students currently studying filmmaking at the Kelowna Centre for Arts and Technology.
Dollhouse is set in an abandoned house and at a nearby apple orchard. Something about the house’s past is evil and it has a chilling effect on all who dare to enter. Although essentially a horror film, the movie contains beautiful cinematography of the orchard and montages inside the home.
“People can interpret the meaning of the film in different ways,” said Allen of their five-minute film. “I’m just glad we scared a few people.”
The 48-hour Film Challenge tested teams both by the short time frame of the event and the mandatory creative and cinematic elements provided by event organizers culminating in a weekend of filmmaking fun. This type of filmmaking levels the playing field so virtually anyone, students to seniors, could enter and have a shot at winning. It once was open to only residents of the Thompson-Okanagan, but as of this year it was opened to all residents of B.C. Participants could use any visual medium to create their final film including film, video, animation and digital photography.
The girls received their film award in front of a sold-out audience at the Rotary Centre for the Arts in Kelowna.
“One of the coolest things was seeing so many people watching the film,” said Tebbutt. “Someone actually screamed, so that was great.”
Russell Stasiuk is Tebbutt’s teacher at Penticton Secondary School. He said one of the things he loves most about teaching film and television is watching the students overcome challenges to create amazing pieces of work. Stasiuk attended the awards night to see his students’ winning work.
“One of the things that I love about teaching Film and Television is that my students often get a chance to compete in provincial and national contests. It seems that the gifted students truly excel when faced with such a challenge and strive to create movies that they are proud to share with others,” said Stasiuk. “Every now and then as I watch one of these contest entries I can feel my skin crawl, my neck hair prickle, and I think to myself ‘Oh my gosh, I think this could be a winner.’ I’ve been right on many occasions, and Maddy’s movie Dollhouse not only made my skin crawl, it does so every time I watch it.”
Stasiuk said he hopes to enter the film in at least two more contests, The Vancouver Sun Film Festival and the B.C. Student Film Festival.