A Fredericton filmmaker has won a national short film competition for her story about a newcomer’s struggles with isolation after moving to New Brunswick.
Arianna Martinez’s Eternal Maya was voted the best short in the annual Short Film Face Off, which aired Saturday on CBC.
The film tells the story of a young Argentinian woman who moves to the province and follows her journey to fit in.
Martinez said the film was inspired by her father, who also immigrated to the province from Argentina.
“That’s always been a part of my life,” said Martinez.
“I think the choice to make the film was just being ready to tell the story and feeling and finding that I had the community and the support and the personal connections to be able to tell it accurately.”
Themes of isolation
The short was filmed in the summer of 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic.
Post-production took place during the early days of the pandemic and the film was screened at the 2020 Silverwave Film Festival, which normally takes place in Fredericton, but was held virtually last year.
Martinez said the fact that a film about isolation came out when many people were isolated because of the pandemic added to the film’s message.
“It’s cool that this movie was about isolation, because COVID is very isolating,” said Martinez.
“Even though maybe not everyone has had that same immigration experience as Maya in the film, I think a lot of people can still relate to the movie because of COVID and because of the themes of isolation, and how your world is different now.”
This is the first time in 10 years that a New Brunswick film has been showcased at the Short Film Face Off.
“I feel obviously very proud to have won, but also proud to represent New Brunswick,” said Martinez.
“It’s really validating to have the work that so many New Brunswickers helped create be seen on a national level.”
A bit of acting
While Martinez didn’t know her film had won the contest until last night, she had a little acting she had to do for producers.
There was no in-person award ceremony, so directors had to film their potential acceptance speeches well beforehand.
“That was, like, so funny to film,” said Martinez.
“We filmed that back in May and I had to be like, ‘Thank you so much for choosing my movie. It’s amazing to have won,’ not knowing if we actually were going to win.”
Meet our Short Film Face Off Champion, “Maya Eterna” directed by Arianna Martinez!
They take home the Telefilm Canada $30,000 cash prize!
Thank you to all our filmmakers for participating this year. pic.twitter.com/DmWtpnSnWN
In addition to the glory of victory, Martinez also won $30,000 toward her next film.
She said it’s still too early to say exactly what that film will look like, but she has some ideas.
“We are certainly going to be making another film,” said Martinez.
“We’ll keep making shorts, but … the next step is definitely to make a full-length movie and that’s going to be amazing.”