NYFA Grad’s Award-Winning Thesis to Screen at SAG Short Film Showcase

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kellen crewThe Moment I Was Alone, directed by New York Film Academy graduate Kellen Gibbs, has been nominated for 20 awards at seven different festivals, winning Best Screenplay at Idyllwild International Festival of Cinema, Judges Choice at Monarch International Film Festival, Best Independent Film Score at the Hollywood Music in Media Awards, Award of Merit at the United International Film Festival, and Best College Student Film at Sanford International Film Festival. It premiered at the Carmel International Film Festival, also screened at Take Two Film Festival and will now be screening at the SAG Short Film Showcase on August 30th.

The film’s soundtrack was composed by Canadian-born and Toronto-based film composer Isaias Garcia, who is 3-time SOCAN & 2-time Hollywood Music in Media Awards winner. He and his team at MASTR Studios (Media Arts Symphony of Toronto) produced and mixed the original score at their Toronto studio in collaboration with the Ostrich Studio Orchestra in Argentina who recorded the soundtrack with a live orchestra.

With all of the awards racking up for Gibbs, we thought we’d find out more about his film and his young career as an award-winning filmmaker.

Can you tell us a little bit about THE MOMENT I WAS ALONE? 

“The Moment I Was Alone” is a short I did as my thesis film at NYFA. It follows Quinn, an adolescent child who, while searching for her mother in an over populated street, witnesses time completely stop around her. To me it’s a coming of age story; watching this young girl grow and experience life from an almost third person perspective of it while dealing with the issues that she herself faces. What am I? Who am I? Can I love? Why do we love? Why did this happen? In some way or another these are questions that everyone asks themselves. I guess you can say that was the big idea for the film; make people think. Create something that’s thought provoking and can drop you into a new world and take you on an emotional journey.

kelln gibbs

How did this film come about? 

The idea has been sitting with me for a long time. It came first as an idea just revolving around a story where time stopped. I’ve seen the idea a lot in superhero movies, cartoons, TV shows; I wanted to take it on a different route then I’ve seen it taken before. I loved the idea that a person can be completely surrounded by people but be so isolated and lonely at the same time. Over time and while at NYFA, the story turned into what it is now and needless to say I am very proud of what it became.

How would you describe your experience at NYFA?

I loved my time at the New York Film Academy. I have had some very influential teachers who have really helped and guided me throughout. Not only that but I think one of the factors about NYFA that really helped me was how hands-on and accessible everything was. It requires hard work because it’s not just theory we’re being taught; at NYFA you go out and make movies. And the outcome can be so gratifying. You don’t just look at movies and say, “I wish I could make that.” You get to say “I MADE that.”

Would you say NYFA’s training was useful in terms of being prepared to write/direct this film?

Absolutely. I never could have made this movie two years ago. NYFA has made me look at movies differently — deeper. And in extension, I now look at my movies the same way. This is all thanks to my teachers at NYFA.

What do you hope will come about from the SAG Showcase?

The film has already done so many things that I wasn’t expecting. It’s brought together different countries by its musical score, showcased the ability of many NYFA students along with rising newcomers in the industry. And after winning all the awards that we have, traveling around to different film festivals and being nominated for many more, I am just beyond honored to have been chosen to screen at the SAG Showcase. Of course I hope that the screening can help as I continue propelling my career forward but I am just incredibly excited to have had the opportunity to screen and show my film at so many places. That’s by far one of the best experiences; I’ve seen my movie so many times now but when you get in front of a new crowd and you get to hear the reactions of people viewing it for the first time, it rejuvenates you and makes it as if I am watching it for the first time again. You never really know what can come from these experiences but it’s always a blast and this one is just such an honor.

Are you currently working on any other projects?

Yes, sir! After graduating NYFA I was approached by an author by the name of George Lippert. He has asked me to adapt his novel “The Freezing Season” into a feature film and we are heavily into the process now with the goal of filming in February of next year. Many of the same people who worked on “The Moment I Was Alone” will be returning to work on this with us. These connections last. Things are definitely in the works and that will absolutely be an experience I can’t wait for.

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Published on: August 15, 2016

Filled Under: Filmmaking, Student & Alumni Spotlights

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