Hardships of low-income neighbourhoods inspire new short film

Student filmmakers hope to get message out about challenges facing young people in areas like Rexdale

Basketball left on a outdoor basketball court.
'Shea and Kay' is a short film that talks about the reality of low-income neighbourhoods through two childhood friends. One has dreams to play basketball in the NCAA while the other is hesitant to leave the neighbourhood. (Arin De Castro/TorontoObserver)  

Writer Nicola Strachan has experience with the subject of her team’s short film. “Shea and Kay” shows the troubles that come with living in low-income neighbourhoods.

“The inspiration for the film came from real experiences I witnessed and endured in high school,” Strachan said. “My high school was located in Rexdale, Toronto. I was born and raised there.”

The story is about two childhood friends who try to navigate their lives through their final year of high school. Sheaqwan has dreams of leaving their neighbourhood Elmdale to play basketball in the NCAA. However, Kayden is hesitant to leave their crime-riddled area. The story tests the brotherhood they have and decides both of their futures.

Strachan says she would like the film’s viewers to understand the reality and challenges of low-income neighbourhoods, such as Rexdale.

Filming at Centennial College
Production at Centennial College’s Ashtonbee’s gymnasium recording a scene. (Photo courtesy Nicola Strachan)

“I had some people in my life believe that because of where they’re from they have to play into stereotypes,” Strachan said. “Being a part of street life or seen to be ‘whitewashed’ if they wanted to go to go college for example.”

Jayvonne Allen-Sinclair, the director of the film says that although it is a film created by students, the vision of the film is to “make it beyond expectations” because of the belief he has for himself and the team.

Strachan says the cast is full of people of colour to capture the community the story was based on. An important aspect was having the actors speak Multilingual Toronto English.

Sound recordist Fisher Bedlington said the team is currently working with ACTRA. The actor’s union helped find some of the cast.

Film became ‘passion project’

“Shea and Kay” is in its final stages of production, being edited and fine cut.

The short film initially was only for a class assignment, but the assignment also has become a passion project for the team.

“Our team made to push this to much more than a school project as if it was a real production,” Strachan said. “We want to place it in the annual award show hosted by Centennial College, The Donny Awards.”

The Donny Awards is an event hosted to showcase the college’s passion projects.

Allen-Sinclair says he hopes the team wins in each category to recognize the hard work they did.

The release date of the short film to the public is to be determined.

About this article

Posted: Apr 19 2023 10:32 am
Filed under: News