Hi! I am Sophie Zawadzki. I am an 12th grader living in Toronto, Ontario. I go to Branksome Hall. My family and I moved to Toronto from Cleveland, Ohio for my father's job. Toronto has been great for me because I have access to more film resources. At BH, I lead the BH Film Club. As the film club head, I have led our team in the creation of school-focused projects for the theatre department. When Covid canceled many BH clubs, I moved Film Club online and started a watch and discussion-based club focused on classic films. Pre-Covid, I was also active at Liaison of Independent Filmmakers of Toronto (LIFT), taking courses and expanding my knowledge of film production.
In 10th grade, I recognized that most of the film camps and courses that I attended were filled with male students. I was the only girl. I wanted to create a community for young female filmmakers. That year, I started the Reel Girls Film Festival. The Reel Girls Film Festival is the first-ever all-girls international student film festival. It is devoted entirely to encouraging and supporting young female filmmakers. The 2020 Reel Girls Film Festival received submissions from over 400 young women in 40 different countries. The panel of all-female judges included positive female role models from within the industry, that each took time to speak and encourage the Reel Girls Filmmakers. In its second year, Reel Girls added a non-profit. Now, if the festival sells t-shirts or charges a late fee, the non-profit can donate that money back to camps and organizations that teach young women and girls how to make films. Filmmaking is an expensive hobby and we are proud to be able to give to organizations that bring the equipment and teachers to communities that may not otherwise have access to it. This year, The Reel Girls Film Festival is in its 3rd year, Covid is winding down (fingers crossed) and hopefully, lots of films were made. I am very excited to see how the festival grows.
Even though I am busy with school and the festival, I still make my own films. I am fortunate to go to a school with Filmmaking Course. I am enrolled in HL Film at Branksome. This has been very helpful during Covid since I do not have access to my regular filmmaking groups.
I have been interested in telling stories for some time. When I was in elementary school, I spent much of my free time writing plays for my friends and me to act out. It was much easier to write than to organize friends when I was 9 but - eventually, with help from my babysitter, I bought one of my creations to life. (Watch it here) I have been hooked on filmmaking ever since!
During the school year (before Covid), I volunteer with local hospices (Philip Aziz and Great Lakes Caring) to create Life Story films for their clients. I call this my Living Histories Project. I think it is important to give people an opportunity to tell their stories. When I am not busy with school or filmmaking, I like to play the piano, swim, run and hang out with my friends. Of course, Movie Night is my favorite family activity. I hope you have enjoyed my website.