In an ever-changing technological world, third-year film student Evangeline Brooks is bringing an old-school technique to Instagram feeds.
This past July, Brooks’ short film Sheep was one of 23 international films to screen at the TIFFxInstagram Shorts Festival. What began as a first-year production assignment, which taught students the basics of film techniques, became Brooks’ moment of recognition.
“It’s a lot easier to just learn how the camera works when you break it down [in film],” she said.
According to Brooks, the inspiration for Sheep came to her in a dream, where she saw a ghost living with a girl. She then expanded this idea to explore the limitations of having a ghost for a roommate and what it means to be human. Throughout the one-minute short,“the ghost really wants to be human but just can’t,” said Brooks.
Sheep was screened on the Toronto International Film Festival Instagram page in July and has received nearly 4,000 views. The short’s caption includes that the film was shot entirely on Kodak 16mm black-and-white film.
Equally impressive was the fact that Brooks created special effects for the film through the camera, seen when the ghost disappears at the end of the short. To make her short stand out from her peers, she used a double exposure to create the disappearing scene.
Rosamund Owen, the professor who assigned Brooks this project said this technique is difficult to achieve because of exposure framing and timing. Owen’s first award-winning production was also filmed on 16mm black-and-white film.
“It is a bit of magic to pull off, and the effect is definitely magical on film in a way it wouldn’t be on digital,” she said. “There is a haunting quality to it.”
Although working with film can be tricky and expensive, Brooks said it forces you to be careful and detail-oriented.
“You can literally hear your money leaving as the [film] reel goes,” she said.
According to Brooks, she feels “a little weird,” to have her film amongst non-student filmmakers because of the stigma that surrounds film schools.
“There is a culture where people don’t really like to say that they are studying film, and people don’t want to reveal that they are still in school,” she said.
Brooks said this all relates to the stigma of film school in the industry. To be a student is to be looked down on, “almost that, if you were good enough, you wouldn’t need to go to school.”
She disagrees with this though, and says she wouldn’t be where she is now without film school.
“You have to go to school and learn stuff and meet people,” she said. “And be given a space to discover what you want to make.”