Living the Dream – a short film written, directed and produced by UNB students Mackenzie Kierstead, Luke Lee-Knight, Vu Pham and Mathew Gracie – was recently selected for FIN: Atlantic International Film Festival.

The four students, all enrolled in UNB’s Media Arts & Cultures program, created Living the Dream as part of the From Away post-secondary film competition produced by the Atlantic International Film Festival. The competition challenged post-secondary students to make films addressing the theme of how immigration has shaped Canada. Living the Dream was selected as one of 10 finalists and screened at a gala presentation on Sept. 19.

Mr. Gracie says the idea for Living the Dream was sparked by the intolerance and xenophobia found on social media newsfeeds. It challenges audiences to hold a mirror to themselves and examine their ancestral histories of intergenerational change and movement.

“While many Canadians are not first-generation immigrants, nearly all of us are the result of immigration and the movement of people,” Mr. Gracie says. “The world we live in today would not be possible without the complex exchanges of ideas, understanding and perspectives that the movement of people provides. Essentially, we set out to make a case for the wonderful diversity we enjoy here in Canada.”

The six-and-a-half minute film took roughly two months to complete, and although it wasn’t selected as one of the three prize winners, Mr. Gracie says seeing the film screened before an audience at the largest film festival in Atlantic Canada was an incredible moment.

“I think ultimately this experience will serve as an impetus for us to keep telling our stories and to keep putting them out there for the world to see. This has been our first major recognition with a film project, and each of us is determined to make it far from the last.”

Photo: From L-R Mathew Gracie, Mackenzie Kierstead, Vu Pham, Luke Lee-Knight

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