Storytelling is more important than ever as we all face the unique challenges this year has brought us.
Stories entertain, inspire and transform. They remind us of where we come from and where we can go. We need more stories to free our imaginations and open our hearts to create a path of understanding and healing.
To mark the season of giving during December, we’re sharing impact stories from our alumni and board members to show the power of story in action.
Current NSI students are blessed by the commitment of NSI’s Board of Directors – 100% of whom have donated to NSI’s annual fund. Please join them in supporting our students by donating today and making the power of story even more powerful.
Today’s alumni impact story comes from Jeffrey St. Jules, NSI Features First alumnus.
Jeffrey completed the Features First program in 2006 with his film, Bang Bang Baby. The film was fully produced in 2014 and won the award for best Canadian first feature film at Toronto International Film Festival that same year. He was also recognized by the Canadian Screen Awards with the 2015 Claude Jutra Award for his outstanding work as a first-time filmmaker.
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If you could describe your experience with NSI in three words what would they be, and why?
Community – because of the relationships built
Informative – because of what I learned about the Canadian film industry
Encouraging – because I felt NSI believed in my project and me as a filmmaker
How did your training through NSI help you get to the place you’re at in your career today?
I developed my first feature film through NSI Features First. They were the first institution to support the project. The training helped me get the script to a place where we could get financing. I also ended up working with Brendon Sawatzky (who was running NSI Features First) on my second feature film which I had the pleasure of shooting in Winnipeg.
How did your instructors, mentors and peers influence you to become a better storyteller?
They helped me gain a better understanding of story structure.
What advice or encouragement would you give a prospective applicant considering NSI programs?
Soak up whatever you can. Maintain the relationships you build after the program finishes.
What has your career trajectory looked like between when you completed training and now?
I completed my first feature film Bang Bang Baby which I developed at NSI. We won best first feature at Toronto International Film Festival and the Canadian Screen Awards. I just finished my second feature film, Cinema of Sleep, slated for release in 2021.
What skills did you acquire in your course that you did not have before?
How to navigate the Canadian film industry. The ability to focus my storytelling and hone in on what is important. I used to be quite unwieldy in my ideas.
What project(s) are you currently working on?
Two feature projects in development: Silent Planet (sci-fi) and The Night They Moved the House (horror/mystery). One film recently finished, Cinema of Sleep.
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