By Jasmine Li
Boston University News Service
Boston University student film “Artboy” won the Grand Prize Saturday at the Student Shorts Showcase, a section of Independent Film Festival Boston that showed student films from 12 Massachusetts colleges.
“It was insanely rewarding to have something that’s just been my vision in my head for so long get recognized at that level,” said Film & TV senior Eli Canter, who wrote and directed “Artboy.”
Canter said he was glad to see the “Artboy” cast and crew recognized for their work.
“It was a very ambitious undertaking for a college short film, so it required a ton of people to give their time and energy to make this happen,” Canter said.
“Artboy” follows a shy high school artist who grapples with heartbreak at a Halloween party. It’s Canter’s senior thesis film, on which he collaborated with fellow seniors Amanda Schneider, Veronica Harris, Sophia Daniluk and Elliott Wheeler.
“It was really important for me to make a film that captures what it’s like in high school where everything feels like a big deal,” Canter said. “In this case, we have a character who has a crush on his best friend, and it feels like the end of the world when she rejects him. And so I wanted to make something that reflected that, that’s how feelings feel in high school.”
“Artboy” actress Briana Shimkoski with the Grand Prize Award at the IFFBoston Student Showcase.
The film’s unique look fuses live-action and 2D animation, visualizing how a young artist sees the world. The animation process was “frickin’ brutal,” Canter said.
“We weren’t meeting deadlines on the animation and it was getting very scary at one point,” Canter said. “It took an absurd amount of time considering how few seconds it is in the movie, and yet, I would still say it was worth it, because I think it’s what makes the movie stand out and set itself apart.”
“Artboy” stood out when it premiered in March at the Redstone Film Festival, a student film festival showcasing work from BU’s Department of Film and Television. The film won almost every major award at the festival, including best film, best screenplay, best cinematography, best sound design, best editing and best actor.
The thesis film is the final point of departure before graduating from film school, said BU film professor John Hall.
“To have a film under your belt that’s well-made and performed and garnered a lot of respect from the faculty and from fellow students, it’s really a crowning achievement for somebody to be able to do that,” Hall said.
Hall said he hopes to see more student films shown to the public.
“It’s a celebrated film here at BU, and it’s really great that it’s getting out to a broader community,” Hall said. “I think it’s great to develop that connection in any way we can, to find bigger audiences for these student projects.”
Looking ahead, Canter is directing “Art House,” a sitcom co-production from BU’s School of Theatre and Department of Film & Television. The “Artboy” team is working to show the film at more festivals.
“You couldn’t leave school with a better splash,” Hall said.
“I’m thrilled because the amount of work it took to make the film was pretty ridiculous,” Canter said. “So I’m happy it’s paying off.”