12-year-old’s film gets world premiere in Toronto

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Like many other Island 12-year-olds, Zaneta Ambassa plans to see a movie this weekend – but the film she’ll attend will be her own.

The Stonepark Intermediate School grade 7 student’s short film will be screened at the Toronto International Film Festival this evening (Saturday, May 13). The three-minute film, titled Muted, is part of the Kids Jump Cuts Young Filmmakers Showcase, and Zaneta will be front-row centre with her sister and co-writer, Kendi Tarichia.

 “I am so excited! When my sister called to tell me, I was jumping around,” she said. “I can’t wait to see how many people will be there and what kind of recognition it will get.”

Last summer, Zaneta had some time on her hands when her older sister told her about the Young Island Voices project, a local film competition for youth sponsored by the Island Media Arts Cooperation (IMAC). Youth Program Coordinator Noah Hoskins travelled across the Island to introduce teens to IMAC as a resource hub for young Island filmmakers, and to challenge youth to tell their own stories with film.

To encourage these enterprising young filmmakers, each was awarded a $250 grant to support their next project. Zaneta and Kendi borrowed a camera and some sound equipment from IMAC and spent three days making Zaneta’s creative idea come to life.

Muted follows a young musician who has been unintentionally muted by 'The Big Guy in the Sky' as he relaxes in his control room. The main character (portrayed by Zaneta herself) tries to communicate with her peers as she comes to terms with her inability to speak.

She even gave her friend and Stonepark classmate Natalie MacLean her first acting gig. The cast also includes her cousin Shirley Muhato, and Charlottetown resident Meboko Inyang, who portrays God.

Zaneta lives in Mermaid with her older brother and sister and her mother, Makena Tarichia, who came to Prince Edward Island from Kenya in 2004. She is understandably ecstatic to be traveling to Toronto for her world premiere.

 “I’m super happy,” she said. “I hope I meet some people who want to work with me.”

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