by Shivangi Sikri
The 2020 global pandemic has severely impacted the lives and livelihoods of people in the theatre and film industry. However, during these difficult times, we have also witnessed the exceptional resilience of artists. Theatrical performances are now available for streaming, international audiences can access local film festivals, and production companies are bouncing back from a complete shutdown. UBC Theatre and Film is proud to note that our students have been instrumental in driving this change on a local and global scale.
Meet Anna Chiyeko Shannon (she/her)
BFA Film Production Alumna (2020)
Anna Chiyeko Shannon is a Toronto-born and Vancouver-based filmmaker. In March 2020, she was reaching the end of her Film Production degree at UBC and preparing to enter the film industry.
“The pandemic hit everyone in very different and personal ways. In my case, it made me realize how often I overworked myself. In my final year, I had committed to directing, producing, and editing three films. The pandemic was like a wake-up call to re-evaluate my priorities.”
The film industry had gone into a total lockdown during the early stages of the pandemic and those few months gave Anna the time and space she needed to work on herself and learn to say no. She became dedicated to putting her wellbeing before work. Since she wasn’t able to see her friends for a long time, she practiced getting comfortable in her own skin and in her home.
After a much needed break, Anna began work as the second assistant editor role at Front Street Pictures. She was grateful to have been recommended for the role by the UBC Film Production program. Unlike many editors at the time, she did not work remotely. Instead, she adapted to the pandemic by becoming nocturnal. She took the night shift and was often the only person in the office at the time. She would receive the physical hard drives with the daily production footage, and process them for her editing team who expected her work the following morning.
“My advice for anyone coming out of a film degree is to take advantage of the people you know within the program and elsewhere. Networking is everything. The more your name gets around, the more likely you are to be hired. Keep going.”
A year later, Anna is still thriving at Front Street Pictures. She now prioritizes having a good work-life balance and recently had a relaxing weekend getaway. She has a few freelance and passion projects in the pipeline. As an editor, director, and writer, she is drawn to creating invigorating stories that challenge the world’s status quo.
At a time that has been marked with hardship and loss, it is important to remember that we also have reason to hope. Read more about how students in Theatre and Film have adapted their art in the face of a pandemic.