ATVF Students Tackle Tricky Topics in 2013 Films
ATVF students landed themselves on the front page of the Woodstock Sentinel Review on Feb. 11 for their short film about gender transitioning in the workplace (http://tinyurl.com/ayl8wkb). The film, titled Iridescent, follows a shop owner and her employee, who is in the first stages of preparing for gender reassignment surgery.
I sat down with Iridescent’s director, ATVF student Elias Campbell, to get the behind-the-scenes take on how his team handled such a tricky topic. All ATVF projects begin with directors selecting scripts written by Sheridan students, Elias explained, and then directors pitch to the writers and faculty how they would approach the film. Iridescent was written by Brandon Zyma. “Not every director jumped at [this film] because there’s room to make a lot of mistakes and that’s scary,” said Elias. He wanted to be “as honest and realistic as possible” in his portrayal of Ian becoming Ivy, so he talked to people going through the male-to-female transition to find out what their experience was like.
The students then faced the challenge of finding a retail venue where they could film. “We were refused by the Bay, Zellers and Giant Tiger, because they didn’t think the content reflected their brand image in a positive way,” said Elias. “I think it’s partially because the customers in the script aren’t very accepting of the [transgender] character.” Eventually, producer Sara Sorochan-Ruland found a shop in Woodstock, aptly named “It’s Perfect”, which was sympathetic to the student film.
Iridescent is now in postproduction, due to be completed by mid-April along with five other narrative films and three documentaries currently being produced by students in the ATVF program. Other films cover topics from bullying to post-prison life to teleportation, and all will be screened at Sheridan in mid-May, and at TIFF thereafter. Elias hopes to enter the film into other festivals, and he looks forward to getting feedback from the transgender community.