The Canadian Screen Awards are Canada’s version of the Oscars – except widen the range of programming to include TV, news, and digital media in addition to film.

We’re proud to share that two Arts Umbrella alumni are among those nominated at this year’s awards from the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television.

Afflicted, a found-footage thriller, is one of three films nominated for Achievement in Visual Effects. Alumnus Jason Dowdeswell worked as executive producer on the feature and alumnus Zach Lipovsky is credited as co-producer and special effects supervisor.

“The film blends a lot of fantastical elements with the real world very seamlessly,” says Zach. “This nomination says a lot about all the people who worked on this tiny Canadian film to make it feel real.”

The film is a gripping vampire tale that filmmakers Derek Lee and Clif Prowse co-wrote and co-directed. They also acted in the film’s lead roles. Shooting took place in Barcelona, Paris, Italy, and Vancouver. And the European locations in particular make the film’s eye-widening supernatural scenes all the more intriguing.

“I made the film with three friends of mine I grew up making movies with. Getting to travel the world with them, shooting a movie was very fun,” adds Zach.

Afflicted went on to premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), and now it also counts two Canadian Screen Awards nominations to its credit (it’s also nominated for Achievement in Editing).

“My experience at Arts Umbrella helped shape my whole career,” Jason Dowdeswell told us last fall. “The opportunity to explore my true interest at a young age in a professional setting helped pave the way to my artistic future.”

Arts Umbrella extends our congratulations to Jason and Zach on the nomination and crosses our fingers for the awards ceremony – happening at Toronto’s Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts on Sunday March 1, 2015. The Achievement in Visual Effects Award will be presented in the pre-broadcast show.