Students bring home two international film awards

December 06, 2020


A team of Quinnipiac film students recently earned two awards from the Toronto International Women Film Festival.

The movie, “ZeroNet,” was named best student film and was recognized for best cinematography at the virtual festival.

“I am elated to be winning awards,” Maggie Smith '20, MS '21 said. “Since it was my team’s first real film, we never thought we’d be able to compete against other films. Winning gives us validation that all of our hard work was worth it and that we made art that others enjoy.”

Smith is enrolled in the 3+1 accelerated dual-degree communications program at Quinnipiac. She earned a bachelor’s degree in film, television and media arts last May and is pursuing a master’s in interactive communications and media.

“ZeroNet” is a short film Smith directed as a part of her film capstone project last year. Her team included Quinnipiac producer Danielle McGuire (producer), Meredith Fox (writer/first assistant director), Taylor Sniffen (director of photography), Ryan DiSalvo (sound design) and Drew Feinberg (editor).

“ZeroNet is a dark comedy that follows the story of Alexander, a young adult who will do whatever it takes to help is grandmother,” Smith said. “He finds himself involved in some shady business and is forced to make some tough decisions with lives on the line. ZeroNet was the first film I professionally directed, and I loved every second of it. My team wanted to get the audience to feel for Alexander's character, even though he was doing something wrong. The film as a whole can be seen as a representation of millennials getting into situations that they can't control.”

The Toronto International Women Film Festival celebrates and recognizes films made by talented female filmmakers from all over the world. Films created by male directors about female characters and social issues dealing with women in society are qualified to submit to the festival as well.

Smith said the film also was selected for the Montreal Independent Film Festival, the LA Live Film Fest, Venice Shorts (semi-finalist), the Los Angeles Film Awards (best original story) and the Indie Short Fest.

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