PSA tackles horror of plastic bags, wins award at GH film-festival

by | Feb 6, 2020 | A&E, Campus News, Guelph-Humber, Headlines

Kristen Cussen, Arts Reporter

University of Guelph-Humber media student Sean Jackson was presented the Cinematography Award for his public service announcement entitled Plastic at GuHu Media’s fifth annual film festival.

“I definitely didn’t expect to win anything,” Jackson said after the Feb. 3 festival. “It’s nice to see people here, but it’s also nerve-wracking to have an audience.”

As GuHu Media’s Vice President of Television, Jackson brought experience and passion to the director’s chair but was shocked to hear his name called at the award ceremony, he said.

Humber’s KB111 was transformed into a theatre showcasing the latest work from film-makers on campus. The screening included 11 short films ranging from two to 10 minutes.

The students embraced a wide range of genres including horror, mini-documentaries and PSAs.

Jackson’s PSA took a literal spin on the horrors of plastic, fusing comedy, horror and environmentalism into a two-minute short film.

It’s nice to see people here, but it’s also nerve-wracking to have an audience”

Sean Jackson – Guelph-Humber Media Studies student

In the short film, a woman’s life is so consumed by plastic bags that they begin to haunt her as “the plastic bag monster.” The husband’s interviews offer comic relief, as he wipes his tears away with a paper bag.

“We tried to base the plastic bag monster on the movie IT, so he was always lurking in the background,” Jackson said.

Many students showcased their work in front of the live audience for the first time. This also allowed a few students to pick up filming equipment for the first time.

“It was our first time using external lights,” he said. “Measuring the brightness so it didn’t reflect off surfaces was the most difficult part.”

Filming presents its challenges with lighting, but post-production remains the most time-consuming task.

“We filmed it all within the span of one day, but editing took two weeks for our team of five,” Jackson said.

Writing student Sahar Golshan picked up professional videography equipment for the first time last summer through the Reel Asian Unsung Voices program.

Golshan’s short video Kar Sahar is inspired by her father’s life as a cab driver. Working with community sector non-profits allowed the University of Guelph student to take her storytelling off paper and onto the big screen.

Her goal was to film a personal story about her father who immigrated to Canada. He was a cab driver who lost his job because of ride-sharing companies.

The story takes place on a nostalgic father-daughter drive through the neighbourhood and landed her the People’s Choice Award at the festival. It also shared the 2019 Air Canada Short Film or Video award at the Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival.