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Film featurette

Senior spend her free time directing and producing short films
Standing+in+the+center+of+Times+Square%2C+senior+Ella+Knowinski+and+sister+Ava+Konwinski+shoot+video+for+her+short+film+%E2%80%9CThe+Village+Book.%E2%80%9D+After+battling+the+loud+noise+and+herds+of+people%2C+the+sisters+finally+got+the+right+shot+after+spending+hours+filming.+%E2%80%9CFilming+is+extremely+hard+in+a+place+like+New+York+City%2C%E2%80%9D+Ella+Konwinski+said.++%E2%80%9CBut+I+knew+I+wanted+to+film+there+for+the+aesthetic.%E2%80%9D
Ella Konwinski
Standing in the center of Times Square, senior Ella Knowinski and sister Ava Konwinski shoot video for her short film “The Village Book.” After battling the loud noise and herds of people, the sisters finally got the right shot after spending hours filming. “Filming is extremely hard in a place like New York City,” Ella Konwinski said. “But I knew I wanted to film there for the aesthetic.”

The Hollywood film industry has long received scrutiny for its lack of diversity. Historically women have been snubbed in major male dominated directing and producing categories at film award ceremonies, such as the Golden Globes and Oscars. However, senior Ella Konwinski is determined to reshape this narrative by blazing a trail into the future of filmography and directing. 

Since her directorial debut as the student director of the theater department’s production of “Clue,” Konwinski has grown tremendously.

“My experience as the student director for “Clue” really opened my horizons to directing,” Konwinski said. “Since then I have wanted to create a piece of my own. Of course, it’s very difficult to be successful in this field, especially as a woman, but my goal is to one day receive an OSCAR for what I have achieved.”

Having mastered the intricacies of direction and production, Konwinski embarked on her journey to create her first self-directed, self-produced film titled “The Village Book.”

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“I began developing my screenplay for The Village Book in April 2023,” Konwinski said. “Then my sister and I traveled to New York City in mid June to start filming. We filmed for a total of eight hours over a two-day schedule, along with about three more hours of extra shooting we had to finish up in Omaha. Then, since I wanted to use Premier Pro to edit, I had to wait for school to start to use the program on journalism computers.”

Konwinski’s sister, Ava, played a crucial role in her film journey, not just as a sibling but also as the star of “The Village Book.”

“I love working with Ella not just because she’s my sister, but because I love being able to bring all of her ideas to life,” sister Ava Konwinski said. “However it is definitely a lot more work than it seems. We spend hours outside just trying to get the right shot, and it’s especially hard in a city that is so loud and busy.”

After spending hours editing clips, videos and compilations together, Ella Konwinski completed her short film and shared it on her YouTube Channel, “Ella K Media.” Eager to garner recognition for her work and kickstart her future career, she submitted her short film for the University of Nebraska Lincoln emerging arts application.

During the annual Thespian Festival, Ella Konwinski participated in breakout sessions focused on filmography and directing, collaborating with fellow students in the theater program. These sessions not only provided a platform for creative expression, but also offered valuable insights and critiques from accomplished filmmakers.

“At the state thespian festival I was able to collaborate with Ella on what we love, film,” senior Zianya Salgado said. “I spent most of my time running around with the crew to catch shots for the short film “First Glance”. We also took that time to write the script/plan and develop our ideas. It took us a total of 8 hours creating the short film.”

Devoting their skills and passion to the collective production, the team achieved remarkable recognition, ultimately leading to the screening of their film in theaters across Omaha.

“It’s so surreal that a film I was able to co-direct was already showing at a public theater, ” Konwinski said. “Once, when my family and I were at the movies, during the credits, my dad leaned over to me and said “One day your name is gonna be up there. [in the credits]” that just brought me so much excitement for what my future holds.”

As Ella Konwinski persistently pursues her filmmaking career, she consistently hones her craft, acquiring new skills and knowledge with the ultimate aspiration of standing on stage one day, delivering an acceptance speech for Best Director.

This story was originally published on The Catalyst on February 6, 2024.