Guysborough native moves toward career in film and television

Coming to a screen near you

By Lois Ann Dort    

GUYSBOROUGH – “I have always been interested in video production,” said Justin MacDonald of Lesterdale in Guysborough last Thursday night. He had just finished screening two short films he produced this past year as part of his course requirements at the Humber School of Media Studies & Information Technology in Toronto. The films, Goldfish, a 10-minute drama and Breath of Life, a short documentary were both warmly received by the hometown audience.

MacDonald, who graduated from Guysborough Academy in 2014, applied to many different media related programs in his final year of high school and found that film and television production best suited his talents and ambition. This past spring, after completing his second year at Humber, he landed an internship at CTV Morning Live Atlantic, where he produced a short clip that aired on July 2 which was also shown at the screening in Guysborough.

On Thursday, MacDonald presented all three videos while rushing back and forth from the control booth of the Chedabucto Place Performance Centre to the stage. Between films he described his role as producer in each piece and the work involved in production. There were the hours of transcribing interviews for both the CTV video and the short documentary. There was the high-wire budgeting act needed to shoot Goldfish, which required a crew of over 30 including three actors. Set design, construction and tear down took place in only three and half days with a budget of just over $3,000.

MacDonald’s commentary gave the audience and insider’s peek at film production. He jokingly remarked that the film was moving in important circles, “Last night it was screened in Vancouver and tonight Guysborough.”

In addition to screening the films, MacDonald has worked to promote both short films in film festivals and contests across North America. In April, the short documentary Breath of Life won a Bronze Remi Award at the WorldFest Houston International Film Festival. Earlier this month the same documentary won the distinction of being an official selection in the 10th annual Air Canada EnRoute Film Festival. The film will now be carried on every Air Canada flight as part of their in-flight entertainment offerings until the end of December.

After the screening The Journal asked MacDonald if he could have imagined he’d be this far along his career path only two short years out of high school, to which he laughed and replied, “No, I didn’t at all. But it wouldn’t have happened without everyone’s support. I grew up in a great community and that’s why I was so happy to come back and screen these films for everyone who is always asking ‘What are you up to? What did you do in school?’ I graduated with big goals and dreams and I am still working towards achieving them.”

The trailer for Goldfish can be viewed at https://vimeo.com/165352095 . The trailer for Breath of Life can be viewed at https://vimeo.com/148526457. Breath of Life will be screened at upcoming film festivals in Halifax, Montreal and Toronto.