After much deliberation, the committee for the Alexandria Campus’ very first Film Pitch Competition announced this year’s winner. Led by film professor Lucy Gebre-Egziabher, the committee decided to use the story idea written by NOVA student Joann Bonanno to create this year’s project for Film Without Walls.
As part of the Film Without Walls film series, Film Collaborative International (FCI) at NOVA will develop and produce a short narrative around this year’s theme, “Climate Change.” This year, FCI members will collaborate with students from Dundee & Angus College in Dundee, Scotland, who were exchange students at NOVA in spring 2017.
“We train students to be filmmakers and, in the process, to also be activists using this powerful medium to shed light on social, political and environmental issues,” Gebre-Egziabher said. “The idea of exploring climate change in our yearly production was inspired by current activities on the world stage on this topic. Each year, we collaborate on a film project with film students from different countries around the world.”
While Bonanno will receive her degree in social sciences in December, she has always had a love for movies and entertainment. As a student in one of Gebre-Egziabher’s classes, she found out about the competition and came up with the concept of her film pitch after having a conversation with her sister in September about the unpredictable weather. Her film pitch is about a female college student sitting in a geology class in the middle of September in shorts and a T-shirt, when she starts to think about the different ways and reasons the climate has changed over the years.
“I came up with the idea for the film when I was talking to my sister,” Bonanno said. “We were riding in the car one day, and we were talking about how it’s insane how it’s so hot outside in September. I had given up thinking about pulling out winter clothes. So that’s where the story idea came into play.”
Attending NOVA has opened up Bonanno’s opportunities and she is thinking of taking advantage of several career paths once she completes her degree. When she started at NOVA originally, she had the idea that maybe she would eventually work for the county; now she’s considering film and TV and returning to take classes at NOVA in hospitality management in hopes of working in the hotel industry.
“I’ve always wanted to do something in the film industry and that’s what was so exciting about this class. Now that might be an option for me,” she said. “Maybe I’ll continue to take classes and go on to do something like that. I’ve also started working in hospitality management, and I would love to run my own hotel one day.”
As the winner of the competition, Bonanno will have the opportunity to see her idea developed by her fellow film classmates and be a part of the production process. The film will debut during the annual film festival at NOVA’s Alexandria Campus in spring 2018.