A group of High School students posing with a camera and film props

By Nick Yates, ISB Communications

If the pictured students’ experiences making movies at the International School of Beijing (ISB) over the past few months were turned into a film, it would be one full of excitement, feel-good sentiment, and rich character development.

Matthew C, McKenna D, Karen H, Evan L, Sabrina L, and Andreas OY collaborated to make horror-thriller Anna’s Pearl, which has notched up a number of awards at international film festivals. With the latest student Oscar, they won a conference call with two top filmmakers. Martin Rosenberg is known for his work on blockbusters including Star Wars, Starship Troopers, and Star Trek. Kaley Clements is an Assistant Professor of Documentary and Digital Media Arts at Duke University.

Anna’s Pearl is even more impressive considering it was made for submission to the Clash of the Titans film festival, for which movies must be produced in less than 48 hours. It took a great team effort from all six students involved with Anna’s Pearl.

Close-up of a person's face with green tinge, a still from the movie Anna's Pearl
A still from Anna’s Pearl

Lots of ISB students have opportunities like these on the school’s renowned film program. ISB’s young directors, actors, and editors are challenged to build strong relationships and set high expectations together.

Here, Sabrina and Karen, respectively the director and editor of Anna’s Pearl, narrate the crew’s journey as award-winning filmmakers, and how they have been inspired by such challenging and joyful learning…

 

We submitted Anna’s Pearl to the ACAMIS Film Festival, which took place virtually in April, and our film was selected as the winner in the Grade 11-12 Category.  

We were all very surprised because Anna’s Pearl was a film made from scratch within 48 hours. Previously, our film received a number of nominations at the Paris Clash of the Titans film festival and also won Best Thriller along with technical awards at the Shanghai Student Film Festival. So, we were very happy and excited to win another award.  

As a prize, we were awarded a video conference call with two film industry professionals, Martin Rosenberg and Kaley Clements. 

It was very exciting meeting Martin Rosenberg and Kaley Clements! We were able to ask them questions about the film industry and received great filmmaking advice. Some of our biggest takeaways were learning the importance of conveying a certain emotion in film, attention to detail throughout production, ensuring quality sound, and never saying “no” to an opportunity.  

A conference call screen
Award-winning students join a conference call with filmmakers Martin Rosenberg and Kaley Clements

ISB’s film program not only provides you with great resources, but also great opportunities to work with other passionate filmmakers. Because the film program covers a wide range of courses from film analysis to film production starting in Grade 9, students are well prepared to succeed in the film industry. 

But these skills can also be transferred to any field of work. Film is a place where students learn new theories and skills and are given the time and space to make things happen. ISB has built up a culture of filmmaking and the community is supportive. 

The experienced teachers and industry-level equipment on campus have given a lot of opportunities for dedicated young filmmakers to try new things and have the confidence to fail and try again. ISB has not only taught the necessary skills for filmmaking but nurtured and supported our creativity as artists. 

 

Sabrina L

“I want to keep making emotionally moving films and share my love of film with the ISB community. In the 21st century, video has become a common media for advertising, so I hope to apply the skills I’ve learned to marketing and commercial films. Whether or not I decide to major in filmmaking, I think the interpersonal and storytelling skills I’ve learned will benefit me.”

Karen H

“In the years I’ve studied film at ISB, I’ve fallen in love with filmmaking, and I know that it will be a part of my life for a long time. Besides wanting to study film in university, the bigger dream is to continue learning, experimenting, and crafting meaningful stories that can connect with others.”

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