Red Deer was well represented among the winners at the Alberta Film and Television Awards on Saturday.
Not only did the gritty local film She Has a Name rack up an award for best production design, but Red Deer College graduate Carlee Ryski had her own Oscar-worthy moment winning best performance by an actress in the feature indie film On the Rocks.
Ryski, who had been nominated in two acting categories (including best actress in a short film for Canary), earned the so-called Rosie award for portraying a lead in a coming-of-age movie about love-struck runaways, shot in the Alberta badlands by Edmonton’s Guerrilla Motion Pictures.
The 2014 graduate of RDC’s Motion Picture Arts program recalled it was a “very, very surreal” experience, getting called to the podium Saturday at the Edmonton ceremony. “It was pretty crazy. It was like everything went in slow motion… I was just so honoured and humbled to even be in the same room with some of Alberta’s best filmmakers,” added Ryski.
The St. Albert native, now based in Vancouver, credits her former RDC instructors Larry Reese, Don Armstrong and James Wilson, for “teaching us to push ourselves as artists… RDC was such a great experience for me, I hold it close to my heart.”
Red Deer resident Shari Aspinall earned a Rosie from the Alberta Media Production Industries Association for best production design for the film She Has A Name. The feature about sex trafficking, shot by Red Deer’s Unveil Studios in Central Alberta and Thailand, received five nominations, but won for its atmospheric sets and locations.
Aspinall, who worked with U.K. resident Donna Abraham (who wasn’t eligible for a Rosie nomination since she lives out of province) said it was a great surprise to win for her first movie.
“As a newbie, I was honoured to be acknowledged,” said the designer who has, up to now, primarily decorated homes and businesses. She and Abraham helped select locations for She Has a Name, working to achieve the directors’ and cinematographer’s vision.
Daniel Kooman, one of the film’s co-directors, said he’s “very excited” about Aspinall’s win, which he feels is a reflection of the collaborative, team effort on the project.
She Has a Name is available for private screening (for more information, please visit shehasanamefilm.com.)
On the Rocks (cinematographer Sam Reid is another RDC grad who was nominated for a Rosie, but did not win) is still doing the festival circuit. For screening information, stay tuned to www.guerrillamotionpictures.com.