Ryerson RTA Students Raise Awareness for Organ Donation With Production "For Clara"

Written by Nicola Irvin

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          “For Clara” is a film created by a group of students from Ryerson’s RTA School of Media, in association with Lifeline Pictures. “For Clara” is a short drama that focuses on the importance of organ donation. The film follows the story of Andrew, a high school student in need of a heart transplant, and his organ donor, a teenage girl named Clara who was killed in a hit-and-run and how Andrew must come to terms with being alive as a result of someone else’s death. As the story unfolds, Andrew makes contact with his donor’s family and ultimately discovers that he must live his life not only for himself, but for Clara as well.

The film is a fictional piece that draws from real life events. While Andrew is a made up character, he portrays what an organ recipient might really go through. There are programs that allow organ recipients to reach out to their donor’s family, with the donor’s family’s initial consent. We’ve all heard inspirational stories of organ recipients living life to the fullest not only for themselves but for their donor as well. The film aims to raise awareness about the importance of organ donation and its impact on everyone involved.

“For Clara” was produced by Meaghan Seagrave and directed by Kelsey Espensen; the two also co-wrote the script. The rest of the executive team includes casting director Jessie Sauders-Drutz, marketing director Mitch Geddes, audio director Aaron Bechard, production manager Lauren Galatly, and art director Emma Chapman. “It was the first time for many of us in these roles,” says Chapman of her team, made up entirely of fourth year RTA students. “We had all dabbled in these areas but this film was our first opportunity to really take them on as our areas of expertise. One thing that I learned about art directing was the importance of having prop backups. If a character was eating pudding in one shot, I had to bring a million puddings.” On working with her fellow executive teammates, Chapman noted “I found it very interesting to collaborate with the rest of the executive team because we all have our own unique strengths; bringing all of our skills together to create such an important production was awesome.”

The film premiered on April 1st at Toronto’s Royal Theatre. April is Organ Donation Month and the “For Clara” screening event included guest speakers, raffles, and beverages, with all proceeds going to the Trillium Gift of Life Network.