2023 Summer Film Showcase

This year, we celebrated the 10th anniversary of the UBC Creative Writing Summer Film Showcase. This annual summer screening event started as a one-off in 2013 to showcase short films that began in the summer residency. The event grew into an annual tradition, celebrating films written by UBC Creative Writing students across the BFA and MFA programs, and by recent alumni who are breaking into the industry.

This year’s screening event included a mix of short films and excerpts from longer works:

Snow Angel

Snow Angel is a haunting tale set in the aftermath of a fatal drunk driving accident in a snowy village at the Eastern tip of Quebec. The film follows a screwed-up ex-pro snowboarder who decides to pack up her cabin and leave town for good, but someone… or something… seems intent on stopping her.

Born in Brockville, Ontario, Paul Van Dyck is a playwright, screenwriter, director, performer, and holds a BAH in Stage and Screen Studies from Queen’s University and an MFA in Creative Writing from UBC. Paul has received numerous awards for his work including; The Tom Hendry Playwrights Guild of Canada Comedy Award; The Montreal English Critics Circle Revelation Award; The Montreal English Theatre Awards Outstanding Direction; and The New York Frigid Festival, Atlantic Fringe Festival, and Montreal Fringe Festival Best Production Award. Paul is a past participant of the Neil Munro Intern Directors Project at the Shaw Festival, a past National Forum Representative of Quebec for the Playwrights Guild of Canada, and the founding Artistic Director of Rabbit in a Hat Productions, a Montreal based theatre company with a mandate to produce new Canadian plays. Recently, Paul co-wrote Geordie Theatre's production of Frankenstein presented at the Segal Centre for Performing Arts, and the feature film, Snow Angel, premiering at the Festival de Cinéma de la ville de Québec. An intrepid world traveler, Paul has visited over eighty countries, traversing such routes as the Trans-Siberian Railway, the Ancient Silk Road Trail, and the Medieval Trans-Saharan Trade Route.

Director's name: Gabriel Allard; Producers and production company involved: Gabriel Allard, Catherine Bérubé (Grand Karma) Marc Lapointe, Nathalie Brunet (Soupe du Jour); Noteworthy collaborators: Michel Corriveau (Music) Louis Gignac (re-recording mixer)

In Silence, We Sing

Following her grandfather’s death in China during the pandemic, Ai is forced to confront her depression, the silences in her home, and her parents’ unsung frustrations—including the ancestor ghosts now possessing them.

Vivian (Xiao Wen) Li is a writer, editor, musician, emerging filmmaker, and interdisciplinary artist. Her passion is creation and co-creation between artists, collaborators, and communities, with themes related to mental health and liminal identity. She is invested in the arts as a way of bridging across cultures, establishing spaces of empathy, and furthering self-discovery. An MFA candidate at UBC, she is an Editor for Augur, as well as most recently Prose Editor for PRISM international.

Director: Vivian (Xiao Wen) Li; Producers: Vivian (Xiao Wen) Li; Noteworthy collaborators: Robin Moir, Cineworks, Toronto Reel Asian Film Festival, Telefilm Canada, RBC Emerging Artists, NBC Universal, MainFilm


An unhappy housewife hires her husband’s favourite sex worker for an unusual request.

Giselle Miller is a Jamaican-Canadian writer, actor and filmmaker living in Vancouver. Giselle fell in love with storytelling early, winning her first writing competition at 13. Five of her feature-length screenplays have placed as quarter finalists in competitions in the United States. After completing an MFA in Creative Writing at UBC in 2020, she went on to write, produce and direct twelve short films and two seasons of the Leo Award nominated web series "Young, Single and Black" that follows Black millennials as they navigate romance in Vancouver. Giselle also received a Leo-award nomination for her performance in season 1 of the series. Giselle's productions have been featured in the Women of African Descent Film Festival, the Big Apple Film Festival and the Roma Shorts Film Festival. Giselle is also the founder of Orange Rose Productions Inc., a company dedicated to telling BIPOC-driven stories.

Director's name: Giselle Miller; Producers and production company involved: Orange Rose Films; Noteworthy collaborators: Joshua Guvi

Still Life

It is dawn. A woman makes her way through the city to the bank of a river. She attempts to reckon with memory and loss.

Vanessa is a multifaceted director, educator, and arts leader in live theatre. She wrote, directed, and produced her first independent short film, Still Life, and directed a concert film, The Yuletide Sessions, for Calgary Opera. Currently, she is shooting her second fully funded short film, Things I Know to Be True, and shopping her third script, My Witch, which she wrote during a screenwriting bootcamp as part of her MFA in Creative Writing at UBC. Her directing credits include Richard III at The Shakespeare Company, Amahl and the Night Visitors for Calgary Opera, and world premieres of Bronte: The World Without and Christina the Girl King at the Stratford Festival. Vanessa has also taught at the University of Calgary and designed Acting Intensives for Opera Singers at Calgary Opera. She has translated plays, received a grant for her first novel, and previously served as Artistic Director at Alberta Theatre Projects. Bilingual in English and French, she is a member of several professional associations, including Canadian Actors' Equity Association and Arts Consultants Canada.

Director: Vanessa Porteous; Producers: Hit & Myth Productions, Clarice Siebens, Steve Mason; Composer, Poet and Musician: Allison Lynch

Suicidal Notions

Marwa is in the final countdown to leaving Egypt for good when to her horror, her mother suddenly dies. After the burial she discovers her mother wished to be buried elsewhere. In the brief moments of hesitation whether to leave things be or honour her mother’s dying wish, a revolution literally erupts outside her door, trapping her in her mother’s apartment. Tormented by the many secrets she learns about her late mother; she starts to question her decision to leave.

An Egyptian director and writer, Eman directed the short film Silhouette Picture (2009). She also directed and wrote the film Suicide Notions (2015).

Director's name: Eman ElNaggar; Producers: Mohamed El Tohami - Eman ElNaggar; Production company: Aker Productions


Hardy is a movie about resilience and identity. It talks about navigating being in a relationship and being intimate again, after a sexual assault.

Laurie is an actor, writer, and director based in Vancouver, British Columbia. She cares to tell and be a part of stories that she thinks are important and need to be told. Born in Nicolet, Qc, Laurie was always passionate about creative arts. She attended theatre programs in Cégep and University, to then move to Vancouver to study acting for film and television at the Vancouver Film School. Her desire to tell meaningful stories resulted in her writing her own film projects. This led her to apply and get into the School of Creative Writing at the University of British Columbia, which she is currently attending. She is very excited about this project coming to life, and can’t wait to see what the future holds.

Director's name: Laurie R. Poirier ; Associate Producers: Sabira Pashkevich, Sara Anne Page; Executive Producer: Laurie R. Poirier ; Production Manager: Elaine Yan; Noteworthy collaborators: Sam Duke, Actor (Heartland, Wynonna Earp, Van Helsing, The College Admissions Scandal, VC Andrews' Landry Family)

Bad Beat Story

After waking up on a park bench, a gambling addict has a chance encounter with his debtors.

Will is a first-year MA student in the cinema and media studies program interested in film philosophy, surveillance, and abject epistemologies concerning premonitory cinema. Will is also an independent filmmaker, having written, directed, and produced several short films that have been screened at various local Vancouver film festivals.

BA Political Science minor in Film Studies at UBC, Liam is an MA student in the cinema and media studies program at UBC. Liam’s research interests surround performance, nostalgia, popular song, and haunted sound in film and television. Liam is also an independent filmmaker, having produced several short films that have been screened at various local Vancouver film festivals. Will Riley bio: Will is a first-year MA student in the cinema and media studies program interested in film philosophy, surveillance, and abject epistemologies concerning premonitory cinema. Will is also an independent filmmaker, having written, directed, and produced several short films that have been screened at various local Vancouver film festivals.

Director's name: Will and Liam Riley

Christmas by the book

A relationship expert is tasked with planning a Christmas gala in the hopes of landing her own TV show.

Thommy Hutson is a screenwriter, producer, and author. He has written or produced film and television projects—horror, thriller, holiday, animation, and documentary—that have been released on Netflix, Hulu, Audible, Shudder, Hallmark, Lifetime, Syfy, Bio Channel, and more. In addition, he has written two novels (Write Christmas and Jinxed) and a non-fiction book (Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy). A member of the Producers Guild of America and Horror Writers Association, a Saturn and Home Media Magazine award-winner, a lover of Christmas films, and an aficionado of teen movies from the 80s and 90s, Thommy continues to develop unique projects across multiple genres for film, television, publishing, and home entertainment.

Director: Letia Clouston; Writer: Thommy Hutson; Stars: Chelsea Kane; Drew Seeley; Chad Connell

About Mumma

Shalini Chowdhary, an established architect in the small city of Lucknow runs her practice with passion and understanding. Her relationship with space being the central idea through which we see her navigate the memories of the tragic accident that left her paraplegic. Directed by her daughter, the film also investigates their relationship through the camera which separates them and brings them together.

Maanvi Chowdhary, an Indian documentary filmmaker, is currently pursuing her MFA in Film Production and Creative Writing at the University of British Columbia. She has a profound interest in exploring personal narratives within diverse environments, focusing on the connection between individuals and their livelihoods. Her debut documentary, "About Mumma," made its premiere at the IAWRT Asian Women's Film Festival and received a nomination for Best Documentary at the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne in 2021. Prior to her current pursuits, Maanvi gained experience as an assistant director at a production house in India, working on projects such as television commercials, corporate videos, and digital information shows.

Director: Maanvi Chowdhary; Producers: Srishti Institute and Maanvi Chowdhary; Noteworthy collaborators: Shalini Chowdhary, Nidhi Binu

Finding Mother

The true story of Erva Marie Newton, a formidabble, beautiful and bewildering woman known solely to her children and grandchildren alike as “Mother.” At 110-years-old, guarding secrets, magic, witchcraft and redemption, Mother passes away, leaving her rejected granddaughter to unravel the intricacies of her grandmother’s fraught, mysterious legacy.

Melanee Murray-Hunt is a writer, actor, producer and filmmaker. She just completed two film projects; "Finding Mother " for Caribbean Tales as well as community oriented shorts for newcomer organizations and domestic violence non for profits. She was accepted into and completed the BIPOC TV & Film Show Runners Bootcamp and is currently enrolled in the Graduate Creative Writing Program at the University of British Columbia, where she studies Advanced Fiction and Advanced Television Writing. Her film Race Anonymous has won several awards including Best Drama and Best Produced Screenplay. She has written a pilot for TimeWarner and has gained much experience on set with her work in various television shows, indie shorts and feature films.

Director; Melanee Murray-Hunt; Produced with programming by Caribbean Tales

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