Sharing a meaningful and inspiring message through brilliantly created artwork is always the forte of the designer aspirants The One Academy nurtures. This time round, a group of Multimedia Design & Advertising and Graphic Design students have seized the first prize of Berjaya Youth Short Film Competition by making a heartbreaking motivational film.
Trained under the highly-acclaimed practical coaching approach, The One Academy graduates Kazen Koh Liang Sheng, Steven Chuah Xit Zheng, Redmond Ho Keng Huang, Jeff Chang Xin Zhe, Dec Low Ooi Teik and Liau Han Jie's submission ‘What Was Once’ tells a story of how a terminally patient dealt with his final days. The film urges us to live according to popular British author Joanne Harris' advice -- “Life is what you celebrate. All of it. Even its end.”
The film was inspired by the story of a church friend of Kazen, who was diagnosed with cancer and has since departed. Interpreting the theme of ‘Celebrate’ unconventionally, they presented the audience this crucial question, “How will one respond to the fact that he is down with terminal illness?” As the film depicted the story of the main character and his girlfriend alternately, the girlfriend's joy in preparing for the birthday party, was contrasted against the guy's anguish as he received the health report from doctor.
The key to success lies in the teamwork sirit, where teammates gave their 100% effort at every stage. With a simple and straight forward storyline, the film focused strongly on the characters, their relationship and emotions. Kazen also brought in his experience in production house, thus the shooting process was better organised this time, in terms of logistics, allocation of resources, detailed planning, as well as proper documentation.
The industry-driven syllabus and practical coaching approach emphasised by The One Academy played an important role too. Dec Low highlighted that graduates from The One Academy usually command better knowledge, artistry and technical skills compared to graduates elsewhere. On the other hand, Kazen stressed that when one finds themselves in the midst of ambitious students, as in The One Academy, it's common for students to mutually reinforce each other's fighting spirit.
Redmond divulged that the team didn't expect to win, and was willing to settle with anything better than last year's 7th position. However, once won and featured in newspapers as well as social media, members of the team suddenly found themselves at the centre of limelight, with some people even offering chances for collaboration in several projects.
The Berjaya Youth Short Film Competition is a platform for youth tell the world about important stories that they thought could change people's lives, and by extension, change the world. For the winning students and their alma mater, The One Academy, this victory certainly raised the profile and expanded the exposure!