For her documentary directing debut, Sarah Gonyea of Burlington explored the moving legacy of her close friend Laura Hillier, who died of leukemia at 18.
"This is a documentary very close to my heart, as Laura and I started this together before she passed," says Gonyea, who is studying film at Sheridan College. "Unfortunately, she became too ill to continue working on it. With help from my peers at school, we were able to complete it this year."
A recent graduate of Centennial College, where he studied broadcasting and film, Maple's Matthew Aitia says he has "a huge passion" for storytelling — and it shows in his documentary portrait of an artisan who finds strength in her craft of creating jewelry out of silverware.
"I love telling individual stories of people that have interesting passions and lives," he says. "I have truly realized that story is the most important aspect of every video."
Jesse Caplan is studying journalism at Ryerson University and is also honing his technical skills in filmmaking and short-story writing. The Thornhill resident says he draws inspiration for his work from his personal experiences, such as being a Chinese adoptee, and wants to "help bring forward stories that would have otherwise gone unheard."
His short doc about a young woman learning to embrace her individuality received third prize from our judging panel.
Ottawa's Samantha Pope says: "I decided to join Carleton University's journalism program out of my love of writing and telling stories. Now going on to my second year, I hope to be able to continue to capture incredible stories and share them with the world."
Our judges were impressed by how succinctly she told a compelling story in her 60-second film about a one-handed athlete, and gave her our inaugural Short Short Doc Award.
These short docs were selected as the best of the finalists by our panel of four judges:
In the months leading up to her death from acute myeloid leukemia, 18-year-old Laura Hillier's determination to create change in the health-care system inspired a movement that has saved the lives of many. This film directed by her friend, Sarah Gonyea, won both first prize and the People’s Choice Award in TVO’s Short Doc Contest 2018.
Diagnosed with breast cancer, artisan Kim Hutchison found strength through her passion for creating jewelry from antique silverware utensils. Even when she was unable to do physical work during her chemotherapy treatment, she was still able to research her craft and find inspiration. Matthew Aitia’s video is the second-prize winner in TVO’s Short Doc Contest 2018.
Sister in Silence
Jesse Caplan’s film details the experience of a young Thornhill woman whose voice box was damaged due to complications related to her premature birth. Melinda Sunderdas describes the struggle she faced navigating a childhood fraught with judgment, and the ways in which she overcame her differences and learned to embrace herself and her individuality. This video is the third-prize winner in TVO’s Short Doc Contest 2018.
Short Short Doc Award
Graham Spero has proven to be extremely successful in sports from hockey to kayaking to baseball, winning national titles and breaking records. The Ottawa athlete describes the devices he uses to aid him in his sports, illustrating how determination, talent, and perseverance are the true keys to success. Samantha Pope’s video is the Short Short Doc winner in TVO’s Short Doc Contest 2018.