Prior to Cannes International Film Festival. I learned that a filmmaker named Akash Sherman, age 20, was joining me with Kirk Cooper’s Film Market Access film program to find distribution for his feature film, The Rocket List. Looking at the number of projects he has already completed sparked my interest in Canadian filmmaking and the success of young filmmakers like Sherman were finding within the industry. After knowing Sherman for a short six days, I can confidently say that he has a promising future in the filmmaking world. Taking a closer look into his work with members Timothy Choy and Zachary Vydra at Lonely Tom Productions – their company founded in Edmonton, Alberta – I learned of the great amount of detail and outreach they required to reach the young market of future audiences. Yes, he is here to seek distribution for his first feature film, and yes he is here to develop professional connections for future projects, but after talking with Sherman over the duration of our stay here in Cannes, I feel there is a passion and excitement that radiates off his imaginative storytelling that draws you in from beginning to end.
After watching The Rocket List I found Sherman taking storytelling to the next level. Casting real friends for the roles in The Rocket List poured heart and soul into the overall message of friendship and purpose that goes beyond the genre of science fiction. Lonely Tom Productions should be seen as the gateway to the future of filmmaking. They take a modern approach to growing their brand and reaching audiences by utilizing their resources in Edmonton, reaching audiences through social media, and making appearances to news networks takes a modern approach to growing a brand and reach young audiences. The Rocket List in particular is about a road trip about friendship and extends into the sci fi elements of an apocalypse. Involving two different themes of storytelling shows how Sherman is pushing the limits of genre filmmaking by making his own voice heard within the industry.
At the age of 16 Sherman wrote and directed the short film For Them, For You, which earned the Best of Fest and Best Narrative awards at the Future of Cinema Film Festival in Interlochen, Michigan. The following year, Sherman and his close friends earned a Jury Award at the Edmonton International Film Festival with their short film A Teaching Game. For me, never before meeting a filmmaker this young in the Canadian film industry, I’d say that his awards, involvement, and personality are reflective of a bright future.
The Cannes International Film Festival, founded in 1946, is known as one of the first international markets that went beyond Hollywood to find rich content in movie making from foreign filmmakers. After experiencing Cannes this past week, I have recognized the necessity of this festival as it provides new ways to grow the market and rewards innovation in filmmaking. Young filmmakers like Akash Sherman are the filmmakers who are going to push this growth for new content and storytelling. They also represent their countries as they traverse the international market, bettering their nation’s image in the process. From the outreach strategies to the modern take on established genres, Sherman proves that there is opportunity for young filmmakers to emerge from Canada.
Still finding his place as a filmmaker in the industry, Sherman’s trip to Cannes is a perfect example of where efforts are being made for Canadian filmmaking to continue creating films that will improve their success in the filmmaking world.
CLICK BELOW FOR MY EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH AKASH SHERMAN AT THE CANNES INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2015!