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July 7, 2020

Ranya and Rianne: A Filmmaking Team

Lydia McClory

For this week’s Forest City Youth Film Festival Alumni Spotlight we’re celebrating Ranya Treesh, with special guest Rianne Treesh. Ranya submitted multiple films to FCYFF — two of which were finalists last year. Her film Freeway, an abstract film that illustrates the emotions of letting go, took home first prize in the creative arts category. Ranya’s Action not Apathy, a moving short documentary film about climate change, placed second in the documentary category. The film focuses on why people are apathetic toward the climate change crisis. Ranya interviews teachers, students and experts, like Gordon McBean, for their perspective on the issue. It’s a moving film and we recommend you check it out through the FCYFF website — you won’t be disappointed! When we asked Ranya which one was her favourite to shoot, she said that Action not Apathy holds a distinct place in her heart. With documentaries being her favourite genre to watch, creating her very own for the first time was an amazing experience.

In high school, Ranya took film production courses in grades eleven and twelve — that’s where it all began. She found out about the Youth Film Festival through her teachers Ms. Briscoe and Ms. Thibert who encouraged their students to submit their film assignments to the festival. 

Ranya just completed her first year of Western’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing program and is currently working on a new documentary. The project has been put on hold for the time being, but she plans to have it ready for next year’s season. With this new documentary, Ranya wants to push herself out of her comfort zone and spend more time on perfecting her filming. She added, “Since the main festival is a lot more competitive than the youth film festival, I really want to make sure what I submit is something I’m super proud of.” We cannot wait to see what Ranya’s comes up with — the girl is rocking it. We asked her to describe this new project in one word:

Without giving too much away, a word I would use to describe my new film would be “thought-provoking“”

The Youth Film Festival has taught Ranya a lot about filmmaking — she learned a ton of valuable information about the film industry by attending Forest City Film Festival’s industry sessions last fall. She added, “Being a part of the Youth Film Festival allowed me to learn more about the other aspiring filmmakers in my community and gave me the opportunity to network with people who have the same passions and goals as I do.”  

Ranya guest starred on our Youth Filmmaking 101 Series as an expert student filmmaker. Be sure to check out Ranya’s seminar on our YouTube channel titled, The Elements of a Great Documentary. Ranya chats with Youth Festival Director, Laura Briscoe, our Executive Director Dorothy Downs, and industry expert Constanza Burucua. Through her guest spot on the seminar, Ranya said she learned a lot about the film industry and how to fine-tune her filmmaking skills. 

With any filmmaker, funding can be quite a challenge. Ranya agrees — trying to make a good quality film with limited resources and a low budget can be difficult, especially for student filmmakers. Ranya explained how expenses can really test your big ideas. Having to modify your big ideas to fit your small budget can create a whole new set of challenges. On the other hand, Ranya’s favourite element of filmmaking is, coming up with the initial idea for a film. She enjoys getting her ideas down on paper, creating a pitch, and developing the story.  

We asked Ranya if she had any advice for young filmmakers. She said to always do your research — to watch the films that inspire you and ask yourself what makes those films great.

Was it how the movie made you feel? Was it the colour pallet and aesthetic of the film? The witty dialogue? The plot twists? Figure out what that special something was and use that to guide your films. Surround yourself with the films that inspire you to help fuel your creative impulse.

We would have to agree with Ranya — one of the best things you can do to learn more about film is by watching the greats.   

Throughout the years, Ranya and her sister Rianne have worked on several projects together — their most notable collaboration is their documentary, Action not Apathy. They know each other’s strengths and weaknesses making them a great team. Although Ranya usually takes on the directorial role, she always gets her sister’s opinion on her ideas. Rianne is a talented editor and her line of expertise is in production. Rianne taught her sister how to edit her very first film. If Ranya ever needs help in post-production, her sister is her go-to.

During the pandemic the sisters have been picking up some new skills and learning new filmmaking techniques. They’ve been watching tutorials and lessons on filmmaking on YouTube and have been experimenting with photography and graphic design. Ranya added, “Much like everyone else, we’ve been baking and cooking new recipes every day so I’ve used this as a chance to try out food photography.” 

Working with your sibling can be tough, but these girls trust and support each other through and through. They trust each other to always give their honest opinions when it comes to their work. Ranya added, “It’s nice to have someone who encourages and supports all the work that I do, but also puts me in my place when my ideas get too wild for the small budgets we usually have for our projects.”  Supporting one another’s work has always been second nature to these two. One of Ranya’s strong suits is in graphic design and never hesitates her help her sister with advertising, posters and social media. 

To be completely honest, my constant need to be better than my sister can sometimes be a big motivator. It’s nice having this unspoken competition because it keeps us on our toes. Another cool part is knowing we can ask each other for help and lean on each other when we need it.

The world should watch out for these two! They make a great team and we cannot wait to see their next collaboration.

With Ranya’s filmmaking skills, artistry, drive, storytelling talent, ingenuity, documentary experience, and not to mention life-saving nursing skills, she is going to change the world.

Each month, we profile emerging filmmakers — keep an eye out for more Youth Film Fest Alumni Spotlights right here! The Youth Film Fest is accepting submissions until July 15 — get your film in now!