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A screenshot from Stonekiller, the award-winning short film by Nathaniel Vance Hehir.

Student's capstone film project earns awards

January 8, 2021 | Arts & Culture

For the past few years, Bachelor of Design student and aspiring filmmaker Nathaniel Vance Hehir had been doing research on the representation of women in film. He noted how "outrageously unequal" it is that male characters receive roughly double the screen time and dialogue as their female counterparts. So when his DESN 410/415 class was assigned an applied design research and capstone project, he decided to use the opportunity to create a short film that countered some of that inequality.

Working from a script written by award-winning playwright Michele Vance Hehir, and with the help of many women co-directing, producing, acting, costuming, providing original music and working on the crew, Hehir set out to make Stonekiller, a short film set in 1860 that follows a young woman as she journeys to a small town in Alberta to kill the man she believes is responsible for her mother’s untimely death.

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"Entering into a film festival has always been an anxiety-ridden goal of mine, ever since I started making films in Grade 8," says Hehir. "I always thought the film I entered has to be my best ever work, and something I was really passionate about. This film feels like my ‘child’ and the best project I have ever worked on."

Hehir's prof, Dr. Adolfo Ruiz, agrees and says the ambitious capstone project allowed his student's skills in cinematography, directing, editing and storytelling to shine. The film has since won an Award of Distinction at the Canada Shorts International Film Festival, as well as an Award of Merit (and an Award of Merit specifically for the women filmmakers involved in the film) at the Best Shorts Film Awards based in California. It was also nominated for Best Short Film at the Central Alberta Film Festival in October.
 

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