Student film takes a bite out of racism

Four young filmmakers from Bowmore Public School are winning big-screen attention for their fresh take on skin colour. Shot with a cast of real fruit puppets, Bad Apples Gone Good opens with a green apple who rolls into a new neighbourhood and gets bullied by a trio of red ones for looking different.

From left, Seannie Gibb, Delaney Archibald, Umer Akhter and Maija Rix show the family tree backdrop they used to shoot their short film, Bad Apples Gone Good. The film is up for a TVO Kids Choice Award and will screen at 1:30 p.m. on April 21 at the TIFF Bell Lightbox as part of the Jump Cuts contest for young filmmakers held during the TIFF Kids International Film Festival.
From left, Seannie Gibb, Delaney Archibald, Umer Akhter and Maija Rix show the family tree backdrop they used to shoot their short film, Bad Apples Gone Good. The film is up for a TVO Kids Choice Award and will screen at 1:30 p.m. on April 21 at the TIFF Bell Lightbox as part of the Jump Cuts contest for young filmmakers held during the TIFF Kids International Film Festival.
PHOTO: Andrew Hudson

Unfazed, the new apple proudly shows off his family tree, dotted with the likes of Granny and Grandpa Smith and his Pink Lady mother, not to mention his great-grandfather, Apple-Ham Lincoln.

Impressed, the red apples turn from sour to sweet, and eventually invite a pineapple, banana, orange and pear to join them in a friendly fruit salad finale.

Grade 6 classmates Umer Akhter, Delaney Archibald, Seannie Gibb and Maija Rix say they hope people who watch their movie see that it’s okay to be who you are.

“People should respect that,” says Maija, 11. “People shouldn’t get mad at you just because you’re different. They should welcome you and be friendly.”

That message, and the film’s original look – googly-eyed, big-mouthed apple puppets talking under a brightly-painted family tree – won it a top three spot among the 10 films made by Grade 4 to 6 students that were selected as finalists for the Jump Cuts contest at the TIFF Kids International Film Festival.

Until April 18, the two-minute film is also online at the TVO Kids website, where viewers can vote their favourite for the TVO Kids Choice Award.

Teacher Leah Jarvis says with all the behind-the-scenes work, finishing a short film on deadline takes a lot of team work.

“They worked really well together,” said Jarvis.

When their mic picked up the sound of rustling scripts, she said the students chose to memorize all their lines and cues for a cleaner sound. Using audio software, they even made their own soundtrack – a down-home country tune to match the green apple’s Southern drawl.

Asked about their future filmmaking plans, all the students said they would like to enter another film in the Grade 7 and 8 category at Jump Cuts next year.

They wouldn’t rule out a sequel, either, although it would require another round of casting given what Delaney said happened to all the characters in the first one.

“We ate them all!” she said, laughing.


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