Humber College film production students David Redman and Matt Tipold are finding themselves in a welcome storm of acclaim after gaining recognition at an international film festival.
The duo’s film, Severed Ties, earned the second-year film production students the top prize at the Wasaga Beach Short Film Festival on Jan. 24, nabbing the Platinum Award in the Regional Comedy/Drama/Action category.
The award comes with a bonus $500 cash prize.
“It’s pretty surreal. We still don’t really believe it,” Tipold said.
The film is an action-thriller that follows a rogue FBI agent over the course of one unpredictable night. It was intended to be a sequel to a film they made that was left open-ended, but the focus instead turned to showcasing their budding talents.
Redman and Tipold have known each other since they were in Grade 5. Their debut short, Eye of the Storm, earned them praise from a difficult audience: their Grade 11 classmates at Jean Vanier Catholic Secondary School in Collingwood, Ont.
Their passion for film began in their communication technology class and they reveled in being able to showcase their work.
“The filming and editing (for Severed Ties) are done a lot better than the first one,” Redman said.
The tools and skills the filmmakers acquired at Humber were not entirely expected. Ryerson University was Redman and Tipold’s first choice of school, but when they were not accepted they reassessed their options.
“It was a blessing in disguise,” Redman said.
Tipold said the balance between hands-on practice and a lecture-based, theoretical approach is ideal for him.
Zachary Finkelstein, who teaches a post-production course to both Redman and Tipold at Humber, said, “I think they’re both really bright. The work that they turn in is really strong and when they contribute in discussions, they have great things to say.”
It was their work on Severed Ties that caught the eye of Gary Cerantola, chair of the Wasaga Beach Short Film Festival.
“It was gripping. It got your attention right from the start and it had a little bit of a Tarantino flavour to it. That’s what we’re looking for – to grab your attention and keep you riveted,” Cerantola said of the film.
Cerantola has urged both Redman and Tipold to continue submitting work to his festival, and remarked not only was their work exemplary, but the filmmakers themselves brought a unique energy to the festival.
“If you would have been there and saw the way that they actually accepted their award, they were so excited, so colourful. They really engaged the crowd when they came up so it helped the film festival greatly,” he said.
The filmmakers are currently working on a short film called Breaking Point. It will contain an action sequence, but will be a more subdued film. They plan to release it next month through Red Tip Productions, a production company they launched in 2013.
“For a couple of young filmmakers that have ambition and are already showing their work in festivals, I think they’ve got a really bright future,” Finkelstein said.
Redman and Tipold also picked up an award at the WBSFF for a music video they directed.
Their work can be viewed online at www.vimeo.com/redtip.