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The Cinematic Journey of a Youth Film Fest Alumnus

Today’s Alumni Spotlight is on Ethan Hickey!

For this week’s Forest City Youth Film Festival Alumni Spotlight we’re celebrating Ethan Hickey — the winner of FCYFF 2019’s Most Enterprising Young Filmmaker Award. Two of his films, Night Moves and The Graveyard shift, were selected for the festival with Night Moves receiving the runner-up prize in the narrative category. The accolades don’t stop there — Ethan also took home first prize for his Pitch called Becoming Men. 

“I enjoyed shooting The Graveyard Shift the most out of the films I submitted, as it was a larger cast & crew at an awesome location. The cast & crew was also very excited to shoot the car crash scene, one of the first VFX [visual effects] shots I’ve ever done.”

Ethan is currently in his second year of Film Studies at Western University and is focusing on his new short film called WAYWARD. This short film is just the beginning — WAYWARD is a proof of concept for what he’s hoping will be his first feature film. Before they start shooting, Ethan’s directing a comedy short called Catch 22 with the cast of WAYWARD to ensure they’ve got great chemistry. It doesn’t stop there! He’s also signed on to direct a five-part mini-series right here in London, Ontario. To sum things up, Ethan is crushing it. 

Last year, his teacher Mrs. Marzano from South Collegiate suggested he submit his films to Forest City Youth Film Festival. When the Youth Fest was officially announced, he was encouraged to enter more films. With being in post-secondary and out of high school, Ethan is now submitting work to the main festival. This year, he’s entering the feature-length script of WAYWARD in the hopes of generating some investors — hey judges, keep an eye out for this one! Ethan also submitted a short film called DREAMSTATE to the main festival and others around the world. We gave him the tough task of trying to describe his new film in one-word. He said, I’m going to cheat and use a hyphen. I’d say that DREAMSTATE is mind-boggling.”

During the pandemic, Ethan has been busy keeping in touch with his cinematographer, putting a lot of time into their films, holding Zoom meetings with his team and writing his feature script. He said,  

I feared that with school and other projects, I’d have limited time to write the feature. But with the pandemic, I’ve been given all the time in the world… For any filmmakers looking to stay busy start writing.”

Philip Youmans is one of Ethan’s favourite young filmmakers. Youmans is only 20 years old and has had quite the film career. Ethan added,

I think [he] has done very well in the minimal time he’s been a filmmaker. He made a feature film when he was 17 years old called ‘Burning Cane’, starring Wendel Pierce (Selma). The film went on to win the top prize at the Tribeca Film Festival and ended up being played on Netflix. This is how I hope my late teens and early twenties go…” 

“Working on a limited budget with a limited amount of time means you can’t always take your time with each shot. You need to complete as many shots as possible each day, and sometimes shots are sacrificed in the process. This is simply breakage, and it happens everywhere. It’s part of the filmmaking process.” 

We finally asked him the toughest question of all: “Where would you like to be in ten years?” He said,

In ten years’ time, I hope to be a director and screenwriter of feature films that play in theatres, that’s always been my end-goal and it won’t change. I hope to be a leader in the film industry here in London, Ontario for my entire life.”

Ethan hopes to lead the industry here in London by filming big projects and features in town. He wants to give back to the city and Londoners for the generous support they’ve given him throughout his career thus far. He added,

Considering I’m so young and have so much of my career ahead of me, I hope to be the guy who can lead that cause for decades to come.” 

Our alumni Ethan has quite the career ahead of him and we’re so excited to see what he comes up with in the future.