“When they were announcing the top 3 nominees, I was surprised to hear my name, and when I heard I won, I didn’t know what to think!”
Meet Morgan C. (’24), a Grade 12 student who recently won the People’s Choice Award for her short film, Demen, at the 2023 Bond University Film & Television Awards (BUFTA) in Australia! Morgan has always been passionate about film, and since being diagnosed with dyslexia at a young age, she has found a natural outlet for self-expression through visual storytelling.
Here is Morgan’s story:
Do tell us more about yourself.
I’m Australian, but I left Australia when I was just three years old. I’ve gone to 9 different schools in Japan, Italy, France, and The Netherlands.
Which grade did you join ISKL? What were your first days like?
Coming from The Netherlands, I joined ISKL in Grade 11; I was a bit more confident than I used to be at my old school, and everyone was so kind, so I found it a lot easier to make friends here.
Congrats on winning the People’s Choice Award for BUFTA. Please tell us more about your film Demen.
Demen was a small experimental film I created back in April. It was just a minor assignment for my IB Film. I wanted to explore different editing techniques and styles through Adobe Premiere Pro, the editing software, and included some small mixed media.
I used it as a form of therapy for myself. Over the past year, I have been writing some poetry about my father, who passed away two years ago this December. I don’t know why I made this film as I did, but it was a part of a whole experimental process. When I submitted it to BUFTA, my teacher briefly discussed it with the class. I did it mainly for the experience of submitting to a film festival/awards show but had zero expectations of making it in.
Tell us about the BUFTA Award Ceremony – how did it feel when you learned you won the award?
When they were announcing the top 3 nominees, I was surprised to hear my name, and when I heard I won, I didn’t know what to think! I had been practicing what I wanted to say but forgot when I got up on stage. This is common even to prominent directors and actors, so I tried not to worry and remembered some key notes.
I almost started crying when talking about my father and how he influenced my film, which led me to choke up for a second. But I managed to compose myself, which even surprised me. I used to be terrified of public speaking at my old school and almost could never give a presentation; over the last year, while at ISKL, I overcame my fear of speaking through my English class, which helped significantly improve the quality of my speech at BUFTA.
Have you always had an interest in film? Do you have any advice for budding filmmakers in the ISKL community?
Growing up, I was diagnosed with Dyslexia, where I struggled to read and write. Because of this, I was naturally more inclined to use visuals and videos. I started watching YouTube when I was 6, and my interest in film started there.
I definitely would suggest anyone contemplating filmmaking submit their art somewhere or look for an internship or something similar, I recommend doing this because you never know what might happen.
Do you participate in any other co-curricular activities at ISKL?
I’m in the Pantherflix Club, mainly as an editor or anchor in their videos, which are then uploaded to the Pantherflix YouTube page.
I’ve also attended IASAS Culcon Film this year in Jakarta, which I was super excited about and am grateful to participate in. I learned a lot about film from producers and directors, alongside other students who were just as enthusiastic as I was.
What are your plans for after you graduate from ISKL?
I have nine months after graduating from ISKL to complete my internship in Paris. I get to work for a company that collaborates with MTV and Vogue, so am thrilled to be working for them.
Afterward, I plan to continue my studies in film at a university.
Can you tell us more about your other hobbies and interests?
I started film editing when I was just 12; I used to edit some YouTubers or media I was interested in. I’m also interested in mixed media artwork, architecture, interior design, and fashion.
Do you have any thoughts on your career pathway?
I haven’t exactly narrowed it down just yet, but I definitely want to work in the film industry, whether it be writing or directing, behind the camera or in front.
Film is my way of communication. Film is my home, and I’m comfortable with any role – except for sound; I could improve at sound. I would also want to try other fields of art, such as real estate, architecture, and ceramics, and I am counting on my passion for mixed media arts.
Who or what inspires you or has influenced you?
My mom and dad inspire me the most; my dad worked hard and always encouraged me to try my best in school and always used to watch films with me. While my mom helped give me the best opportunity she could, even if it’s the sacrifice of being together, she always supports me the best she can.
As for my art and personality, people like Sofia Coppola, Devon Aoki, and the YouTubers I watched growing up shaped how I go about film and communicate about it.
Most memorable moment at ISKL?
My most memorable moment would be when I got to have my table reading for the screenplay I created for my Pursuits project. Seeing my work influencing and being displayed in the way it did was nice, and seeing the characters and actors interacting with each other was unbelievable.
What does “Know yourself, care for all and create a better world” “mean to you?
I genuinely believe in being kind and caring for others around you; just one small thing you do could help and inspire others around you.
You can watch the live stream of Morgan winning her award here (at 3:17).
Do you know of any student, teacher, parent, or staff who always have an anecdote to tell, love to share some insights into their passions and interest, or simply is a Panther through and through? Nominate them to be featured in our Panthers of ISKL stories by sending in your submissions here.