From one short film to the next

Film­maker Leah Rifkin on her pas­sion for work­ing be­hind the scenes

Richmond Hill Post - - Currents | Local Graduates - by Darcy Stre­it­en­feld

Leah Rifkin learned how to strike the bal­ance of work and play at a young age.

Langstaff Sec­ondary School was full of ex­tracur­ric­u­lar op­por­tu­ni­ties, and this in­trepid ado­les­cent took full ad­van­tage by throw­ing her­self into the drama de­part­ment.

“Plays were a big part of my life,” Rifkin says.

And even though, she was a bit of a self-pro­claimed “study nerd,” she re­mained so­cial.

“For a long time I wanted to act, but then I re­al­ized that I pre­ferred the be­hind-the-scenes stuff more, and that I wasn’t as pas­sion­ate about act­ing,” says Rifkin.

In co-direct­ing both fall and spring plays in Grade 12, she learned that her real pas­sion was to di­rect films.

Through­out her years at Langstaff Sec­ondary School, Rifkin knew she wanted to score a schol­ar­ship.

She ended up do­ing just that when she re­ceived a Queen El­iz­a­beth II Di­a­mond Ju­bilee Schol­ar­ship and ap­plied it to the ra­dio and tele­vi­sion arts pro­gram at Ry­er­son Uni­ver­sity.

The small size of the ra­dio and tele­vi­sion arts pro­gram al­lowed for easy net­work­ing and col­lab­o­ra­tion, that would not be pos­si­ble with big­ger pro­grams.

“We did a bit of ev­ery­thing, which helped me stream­line my pref­er­ences,” she says.

Rifkin be­gan cre­at­ing her own con­tent and reg­is­tered her busi­ness, Scar­let Lens Pro­duc­tions, in her sec­ond year at Ry­er­son Uni­ver­sity.

It was through that busi­ness that she would cre­ate her first web short, A Crowded Mind, which can still be found on YouTube.

It was af­ter her fourth and fi­nal year, how­ever, that she re­ally dug into her own film work. She cre­ated the web se­ries Out

of Frame, which won best in “edu­tain­ment” at the 2014 Miami Web Fes­ti­val and best in ed­u­ca­tion at the 2015 Buf­fer Fes­ti­val (an an­nual show­case of YouTube video pre­mieres) in Toronto.

She also wrote a book, Be­yond The Di­rec­tor’s Chair, that high­lights lead­er­ships skills for as­pir­ing di­rec­tors.

Re­cently Rifkin had the op­por­tu­nity to at­tend MIPCOM, an event in Cannes, France where con­tent mak­ers con­verge from across the globe to net­work and pitch ideas. It was there that Rifkin was able to ex­pand her net­work.

In fact, she’s headed to the Bu­san Con­tents Mar­ket in South Korea this month, to fur­ther de­velop her con­nec­tions in the Asian mar­ket, and she’s cur­rently de­vel­op­ing spe­cial­ized web se­ries con­tent with a com­pany in Colom­bia.

Lots of ex­cit­ing de­vel­op­ments are com­ing for Rifkin and Scar­let Lens Pro­duc­tions. Her short film Din­ner with

Ber­nice was an of­fi­cial se­lec­tion at the 2018 Toronto Shorts In­ter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val. And a sec­ond short film, A Last

Wish, will be sub­mit­ted to the 2018 Toronto In­ter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val this year.

Need­less to say, Rifkin and Scar­let Lens Pro­duc­tions are bound for some ex­cit­ing fu­ture projects.

Some of those projects even in­clude de­vel­op­ing tele­vi­sion and get­ting in­volved with the new fron­tier of in­ter­ac­tive film.

When asked what ad­vice Rifkin has for the fu­ture generation of film­mak­ers, she says, “Live your Plan A. That’s my life’s motto. You’re here in this life­time to do some­thing amaz­ing, so don’t even think about your Plan B. Just live your Plan A.”

Rifkin started her pro­duc­tion com­pany while still in uni­ver­sity

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