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Students dream big at short film festival

by Melissa Norris

Ashley Pollard, Nathan Tenikoff, James Smith,James Sherwin and Jamie Manto.Ashley Pollard, Nathan Tenikoff, James Smith,
James Sherwin and Jamie Manto.

Wasabi might not be to everyone’s tastes, but the short film The Making of Wasabi has delighted the palates of local audiences, earning first place in GreenRoom’s Wasabi Short Film Competition.

The talented winners, Jamie Manto, Nathan Tenikoff, James Smith, James Sherwin and Ashley Pollard, are all in their second year of a Bachelor of Media Arts and majoring in film and TV production at UniSA.

They won more than $1500 in prizes and had their film shown before every OzAsia Festival film at the Mercury Cinema and played in the Festival Centre during the festival in September.

Ashley Pollard said he found out about the competition through his interest in filmmaking, and took up the opportunity to see if the group could create an independent film by themselves.

While the competition encourages creativity, it required a link to the word “wasabi” and had to be no more than 10 minutes long.

Ashley said the idea for the film started over a casual meeting with friends, which snowballed into the idea of a mockumentary about the process of making a film.

“We didn’t have a script – we just had a story in place that we wanted to tell, and the actors said dialogue as it came to them,” he said.

“That’s what made it so realistic and on the fly, because it was - so it’s just a lot of fun.”

The film takes a comical look at the trials and tribulations of a small group of independent filmmakers as they make casting and directing decisions.

“Because we’re all really close friends we’re trying to make fun of each other and have a laugh in front of the camera and it turned out great,” Ashley said.

But despite this, Ashley said winning the competition was unexpected.

“We’d all convinced ourselves that we weren’t in with a chance,” he said.

“It kind of feels like a dream.”

He said winning the competition helped to validate his talent in the film industry, which is difficult to break into.

He plans to continue working with his friends and fellow filmmakers in the future, starting with their next big project, which they plan to enter in the Shorts Film Festival.

“We haven’t yet decided what that film is about, but if all goes well we should have one ready to submit to them, and hopefully we get in,” he said.

Ashley, who loves directing, editing and cinematography, said he was excited about his future prospects in the Australian film industry.

The team’s winning film can be found on the production group’s facebook or YouTube pages.