'We couldn’t really believe it,' 22-year-old filmmaker Walter Woodman says about his film's award for Best Canadian Short Film at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival. Noah, a 17-minute short film, was co-written and co-directed by Woodman and Patrick Cederberg, 22.

TIFF exposure, award open doors for young filmmaking duo

Amy got 405 friend requests on Facebook.

Maybe she is getting support for her breakup. Or perhaps people just want to know her better.

Point is, that’s a lot of attention for a person who doesn’t exist. She’s a character in Noah, a 17-minute short film co-written and co-directed by 22-year-olds Patrick Cederberg and Walter Woodman. The flick was awarded Best Canadian Short Film at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF).

I don’t think we really made it, but I think we had a good head start.

—Walter Woodman

“We couldn’t really believe it,” Woodman said. “It’s a film we made because we wanted to talk about something specific to us.

“I don’t think we really made it, but I think we had a good head start.”

Doors have opened Woodman and Cederberg since getting that exposure at the film fest, including offers to direct other movies, Woodman said.

“We are going to LA next week to do a lot of stuff,” he said. “We are also working on a TV show that hopefully will stick with some major TV network, and we are working on an album for our band Shy Kid.”

That sort of bump is just one way TIFF helps new talents, Woodman said.

“I love TIFF. It’s an amazing organization,” Woodman said. “They care about making sure that new filmmakers get showcased.”

TIFF’s Next Wave Film Festival brings together films from around the globe, along with interactive workshops for young film enthusiasts.

“Back in in 2010, we started with assembling a group of high school-aged film enthusiasts … to program and advise on exciting and interesting film-related opportunities for youth,” said Emily Scheer, TIFF’s senior manager of family and youth programming. “By 2012, the TIFF Next Wave Film Festival was born, programmed by and for youth.”

The Next Wave Film Festival was the event of the year for young filmmakers in Toronto, said high school student and TIFF Next Wave Committee member Athithan Karunakaran.

“They’re coming to find inspiration in both the movies that they watch as well as the people that they meet,” Karunakaran said. “The person that you strike up a conversation with could become the cinematographer for your next project.”

And that next project might be in relatively easy reach, Woodman said.

“We made a movie for $300 and we were passionate about it,” he said. “Right now a movie could be made for almost no money and it could be distributed online by yourselves.

“That is the future for young filmmakers.”