Phi Theta Kappa member Veronica Plante will be in Cannes, France, May 11-22 for the renowned Cannes Film Festival for the screening of her short film “The Story.”
“Filmmaking isn’t the most commonly chosen profession, so it can be a bit difficult finding people who share the same passion,” she said. “But the Cannes Film Festival is the worldwide hub for filmmakers everywhere, so I’m really looking forward to being surrounded by other filmmakers almost 24/7 for a week and a half.”
Veronica is a dual-enrollment student at Cañada College in California. She’s always been artistic and focused mainly on fine arts and representational arts — studio atelier art and classical drawing — as a young teen. She also enjoys live-action cinematography, and her illustration work has been shown in multiple galleries.
But when her first animation class at Cañada attended the Animation Show of Shows, an animation festival showcasing a collection of the best animated shorts from around the world, she knew she’d found her calling.
“There was something magical about watching someone’s creation and story connect with and affect a room full of people,” she said. “Ever since then, I’ve known animation is what I want to dedicate my life to.”
Veronica entered the Campus Movie Fest competition, an international college filmmaking contest that goes from campus to campus each year. She had a story in mind — it’s about an artist and her younger sister. After receiving rejection, the artist becomes filled with self-doubt until she finds encouragement in an unexpected place.
Her short film is animation over live-action backgrounds. It clocks in at 5 minutes, and she made it in less than a week — shooting, animating, editing, finding sound effects, recording dialogue, editing dialogue, compiling footage, editing audio, and rendering the entire film in only four days.
Veronica said “The Story” was heavily inspired by her own experience of being a student artist.
“For creative people, it’s very common that we’re our own worst critics and that we feel like our work isn’t good enough,” she said. “But, more often than not, our own perception of the quality of our work isn’t accurate, and it’s the supportive people around us who appreciate our work and show us the value our work has.”
Veronica doesn’t have a younger sister like her film’s star, but she does have professors, friends, and family who have helped her get through her periods of self-doubt. Campus Movie Fest was the perfect opportunity for her to tell her story.
“The Story” was named a Jury Award film on her campus and will be screened at CMF Terminus 2019, Campus Movie Fest’s film and videogame festival in Atlanta, Georgia, this June. It was one of only 35 short films selected from among thousands of submissions to be screened at Cannes Film Festival in May.
Three films were selected from Cañada College, but only two will show. The filmmaker of the third selection went to Cannes last year. Cañada College is the only two-year college that participates in Campus Movie Fest, and this is the third consecutive time it has sent students and their films to Cannes.
“It’s a testament to the students’ hard work and dedication, but also to the quality of the education the students get here,” said Paul Naas, digital arts and animation professor and program coordinator at Cañada. “We’re very proud of our students who are selected to screen their movies at Cannes.
“Veronica has made an effort, throughout her time on campus, to seek additional input on her work, take full advantage of the advice and expertise of the faculty, and — most importantly — incorporate that feedback into her work. She is an outstanding student in many ways.”
“The Story” will also be shown at the Bravemakers film festival in Redwood City, California, in June.
Veronica began taking art and animation classes at Cañada College as a high school sophomore, since the skillsets needed for an animation career aren’t often taught in high school.
“Not only did I gain knowledge and skills that I couldn’t have found in a high school setting, but I was given access to opportunities such as Campus Movie Fest and Phi Theta Kappa,” she said, adding that she previously served as a chapter officer and co-president of the chapter’s 2018-2019 Honors in Action Project.
Paul said programs like Campus Movie Fest allow students to take what they’ve learned in class and apply it to a project of their own design. They can tell the stories they want to tell, without having to abide by assignment requirements, and they pick up key skills that will help them in their careers: how to define the scope of a project, budget their time, and bring a project to completion.
“There’s also a lot of camaraderie that the students build, which is good practice for when they enter the workforce,” he said.
Veronica plans to apply to character animation programs at top universities in the field such as California Institute of the Arts and Ringling College of Art and Design in Florida this fall. She hopes to become a lead character animator on feature film projects.
“I also have an interest in concept art and illustration, so being a story artist is a unique avenue that I’m considering as well,” she said. “What I love about animation is that it requires you to build so many different skillsets that you aren’t just locked into one path.”
Cañada College is raising money to help cover expenses for Veronica and fellow filmmaker Katie Burke for their upcoming trip to Cannes. Learn more.