Media Release - For Immediate Release
Film Grads Reel In More Honours
8 August, 2012
Ashley McKenzie and Nelson MacDonald in a crush of film people at Cannes
Still reeling from the excitement of seeing their film aired in May at the preeminent Cannes Film Festival, Saint Mary’s arts grads, Ashley McKenzie and Nelson MacDonald, have more cause to celebrate after an August 8th announcement that When You Sleep will premiere this fall in the Short Cuts Canada program at the Toronto International Film Festival.
“We’ve had a good few months,” says director McKenzie. “This kind of national recognition is a big deal for us, and a tribute to our entire cast and crew.”
McKenzie and When You Sleep co-producer, MacDonald, have been friends since they attended high school together in New Waterford, NS. Arriving at Saint Mary’s in September, 2003, they both majored in English with a minor in film studies.
“We knew that we wanted to make films,” says Nelson, “but we decided it was important to learn about the world before we learned about using a camera. In the end, our philosophy classes at Saint Mary’s have been as important to our work as any technical courses we’ve taken.”
As an unconventional plug for philosophy courses, MacDonald and McKenzie’s first film, Rhonda’s Party, won best Canadian short at the Young Cuts Film Festival in Montreal; made CBC’s 2011 Short Film Face-off; and received ranking from the Toronto International Film Festival as one of Canada’s top 10 short films of 2011.
Both Nelson and McKenzie are quick to pay tribute to the many influential professors they had at Saint Mary’s, and to express their appreciation for the invaluable guidance and support received from former Film Studies coordinator, John MacKinnon.
“Ashley and Nelson are very proud of their affiliation with Saint Mary’s,” says Dr. MacKinnon. “They’re fine people and strikingly honest as film makers.”
Now based in Halifax, the pair will celebrate their latest coup by scouting a location in Cape Breton for a gritty drama they’re shooting this fall.
“We had to go away to learn,” says McKenzie, “but the plan has always been to make films in New Waterford.”