Rhonda’s Party, Mimespeak, win in NSI online short film fest

Ashley McKenzie’s Rhonda’s Party and Tracy D. Smith’s Mimespeak are winners in the latest round of the NSI Online Short Film Festival.

McKenzie won the $1,250 A&E Short Filmmakers Award and the $2,500 Shaw Media Fearless Female Director Award, while Smith nabbed the $750 Bite Comedy Award.

Rhonda’s Party is written by Christine Comeau and produced by Nelson MacDonald, while Mimespeak is written by Tyler Burton Smith and produced by Mercedes Colon and Samantha DeGagne.

Jury member Magali Simard said that Rhonda’s Party is “a fully achieved short narrative film” with “a perceptive take on aging, loneliness and ultimately, friendship,” while fellow jury member Ryan Hanson said Mimespeak “is a hilarious look at corporate malaise.”

Separately, the NSI announced last week that William F. White International signed a multi-year deal with its Drama Prize program.

WFW will be the program’s exclusive lighting and grip production equipment and technical services sponsor through 2016.

“Whites is a big international company and they’ve contributed to some of the most beloved films and television series of our generation. Yet they take the time to mentor, support and advise emerging talent like our NSI Drama Prize students,” said NSI CEO John Gill in a statement.

“Working with NSI on this program and providing state-of-the-art equipment and technical expertise to the teams is a great way of giving back to the industry,” said Paul Bronfman, chairman and CEO of Comweb Group and William F. White International Inc. in his own statement.

The NSI Drama Prize provides up to four teams of emerging Canadian filmmakers with a year of support and training in writing, directing and producing a short film.

Pictured, left: Holly Marchuk (NSI Drama Prize), Elise Swerhone (NSI Drama Prize Program Manager), Dion Telesky (NSI Drama Prize), Paul Bronfman (Chairman/CEO of Comweb Group and William F. White International Inc.), Melissa Kajpust (NSI Director of Programming), Steve Morrisson (General Manager, William F. White International Inc., Winnipeg), Cory Quinn (NSI Drama Prize)