CCAD brings short films, big dreams to life
In the fall of 2020 Columbus College of Art & Design Film & Video students got a taste of the real world as they worked to transform two scripts into short films.
The assignment was part of CCAD’s Collaborative Projects course taught by Adjunct Faculty Kingsley Nyarko. During the semester, students brought scripts written by teens Thomas Dellasanta and Maya Chaffin, winners of the 2020 Film Columbus Teen Screenwriting Competition, to life.
Professor Nella Citino, Chair of CCAD’s Film & Video program, says the class provided a necessary piece of a potential filmmaker’s puzzle: working with outside clients and writers.
“The class is called ‘Collaborative’ for a reason,” Citino explains. “Rather than making films from their own scripts and concepts, students learn what it’s like to be handed a script, to work with outside clients.”
Collaborating on real-world work
Nyarko encouraged students to treat the assignment like a work project that would become part of their portfolio rather than a class project. “Most of the projects you will work on in your career will involve collaboration—with clients, with your team, with other outside interests,” he says. “In a way, this mimics real-world work.”
This was the first video that Adrienne Ashbaugh (Film & Video, 2021) worked on that she didn’t create the concept and the script. Ashbaugh directed Dellasanta’s Channel 113.4, a spooky, cryptic story, and says the story clicked with the team right away and led to productive video meetings with Dellasanta to discuss artistic and practical matters.
“We loved his vision,” Ashbaugh says. “ We knew we didn’t want to stray from the script. Anything we needed to do, we just worked out together.”
Dellasanta, a sophomore at Westerville North High School, in suburban Columbus, says CCAD students kept him really involved throughout the creative process of making a film.
“They treated Thomas like a peer and not like a 15-year-old kid,” says his mother, Beth Dellasanta.
An avid video artist and scriptwriter, Dellasanta entered the Film Columbus Teen Screenwriting Competition, a partnership between Film Columbus and CCAD, after learning about it via an email from CCAD. He previously took a Creative Summer Workshop animation class at CCAD.
While the COVID-19 pandemic caused some “bumps in the road,” according to Ashbaugh, the process was mostly about the kinds of considerations that might be part of the making of any video project—coordinating a team, logistics, technical concerns, and time management.
Nyarko says the experience of working with a partner such as Film Columbus can have real-life benefits, too. “It’s good for students to be introduced to Film Columbus and learn about the kinds of opportunities that exist in the city after school,” Nyarko says.
Making industry connections
John Daugherty is Executive Director of the Greater Columbus Film Commission, known as Film Columbus. He says the screenwriting program and partnership with CCAD supports the organization’s mission in a number of ways.
“It touches, education, exhibition, and production,” Daugherty says. “It gives both the high school and college students a chance to see how film works in a collaborative setting, providing opportunities to show the kids they can work in this industry and, if they want, maybe right here in the city.”
Nyarko encouraged his students to submit their work to film festivals, and Channel 113.4 was accepted into the Toronto Independent Film Festival of Cift, an honor that blew Dellasanta away.
Now, those in Columbus will have the chance to see Channel 113.4 as well as Looking Back, written by Chaffin and directed by Yanae Williams (Film & Video, 2021), during a special free screening at South Drive-In at 9:15 p.m. Wednesday, May 12, 2021. The event is part of a year-end celebration held by CCAD’s Film & Video and Animation departments and is part of Chroma: Best of CCAD-related programming.
Maya Chaffin, scriptwriter for Looking Back, holds up the poster from the CCAD-produced film directed by Yanae Williams (Film & Video, 2021).
The poster for Channel 113.4, written by Thomas Dellasanta and directed by Adrienne Ashbaugh (Film & Video, 2021).