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by Isabel Mosseler
Mathieu Séguin, son of Omer Séguin and Gisèle Courchesne-Séguin of Field, is reaching for his dream. The graduate of Franco-Cité has been accepted to the American Film Institute (AFI), the most prestigious film school in the world. The West Nipissing native is the only Canadian to make the cut. Out of thousands of applicants from around the world, only 100 were chosen for interviews, and only 28 were finally selected. “It’s a huge opportunity! Amazing!” raves Séguin.
Last year, the WN Chamber of Commerce released a short video called West Nipissing – Quelle Surprise!, by Mathieu Séguin. Two films he chose as part of his presentation portfolio to AFI were filmed in West Nipissing – a short movie about the derelict École Ste-Marie in Field, and Bullet Headed, which won second place at the Cinefest film festival.
“A good portion of applicants are from Europe, China, Asian countries – lots of international competition,” Séguin explains. “I applied in January. …Both of the films I showed them were shot in West Nipissing at my parents’ farm. …Once I submitted my portfolio, I had to have a narrative statement – 1000 to 3000 words - about the history of motion pictures and what I wanted to achieve. … I was selected (…), flew down to LA mid April for my interview.” And then the news came – he was accepted.
So what’s the fuss? Séguin is driven to excel in his chosen art, and this elite school is like going to Harvard, with the best teachers in the profession. “If I relate it to any other film school, it’s more like a conservatory,” he describes. “They teach the art of cinema, motion pictures and imagery – understanding the foundation of an image. …It is an institute created by the federal government of the United States to preserve the arts.”
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West Nipissing’s Mathieu Séguin is one of just 28 applicants worldwide admitted to the American Film Institute, but he needs the community’s help to get there.