PEI's Club Red Productions hits LA's Red Carpet

Jenna MacMillan

After an evening of networking and celebrating on the roof of the West Hollywood Hotel, Prince Edward Island filmmaker Jenna MacMillan was rushing to catch a flight to the Cabo International Film Festival.

“It was amazing,” she says enthusiastically about the Scripted Summit Industry Conference that she and Jason Arsenault, Wharf Rats co-producer and fellow Islander were just wrapping.

"And now I’m off to Los Cabos for work. It’s a whirlwind.”

MacMillan is calling from the airport to talk about a short film she made (with government support) about another talented and even-younger-than-herself Island filmmaker, 13-year-old Zaneta Ambassa, whose first film premiered at the Toronto International Film Fest last year.

“I’ve never had a film at TIFF and I’m 32,” MacMillan laughed.

“Zaneta is the true embodiment of a mighty Islander.”

The short film, entitled Zaneta’s World is a “slice of life” which MacMillan wanted to document before Ambassa inevitably becomes a big star.

Watch the video in YouTube

“She has these huge world views that she expresses so simply – I have no doubt she will make a great career in film and/or music and be a major success and this will be a document to remind her that she was always a brilliant person,” she said.

MacMillan wanted to make the seven-minute film, which includes an original song Ambassa wrote for it in the soundtrack, to introduce Ambassa to the film world.

“I think it’s important for people to know of her and her talent. She’s a force.”

Ambassa’s three-minute film, Muted, was part of the Young Island Voices project, a local film competition for youth sponsored Island Media Arts Cooperation. Muted follows a young musician who has been unintentionally muted by God as he relaxes in a control room. The main character (portrayed by Ambassa herself) tries to communicate with her peers as she comes to terms with her inability to speak.

Ambassa’s story caught MacMillan’s attention and is now part of her resume full of short films and documentaries and music videos. MacMillan, a Charlottetown native with a Fine Arts degree from Ryerson in Film Production, worked as a post production supervisor and associate producer on several television and digital series before branching out on her own.

“I’ve got to tell my own stories,” she said, adding PEI is full of them.

She was most recently hired on as creative executive with Northwood Entertainment, the company responsible for the highly successful CBC television show, Anne with an E. It's a dream come true for her and a massive learning experience. She’s continued to juggle projects and scheme new ones.

“It’s a constant dance and I love it,” she said. “My goal is to make a TV show on PEI in the next five years and get all of the incredible local talent involved.”

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