Annika Servin '18 (Film and Animation; Photojournalism) was a co-winner in the Documentary category of the 2019 CILECT North America Best Film Award competition for her thesis documentary film, "Swan Was Here."
CILECT is the International Association of Film and Television Schools (Centre International de Liaison des Ecole de Cinéma et de Télévision), which has more than 170 full member educational institutions from 60-plus countries. The competition included entries from the 25 member film schools in the U.S. and Canada that comprise CILECT’s North America sub-region.
“Swan Was Here” is a documentary film focused on Jim Swan, a homeless man living in Rochester, N.Y. The documentary film chronicles his struggles with the effects of his wife’s disease and his own mental health as he begins to transition into permanent housing.
Servin met Swan in college while she was involved in a Christian homeless ministry, Streets For Christ, and got to know him for about a year before approaching him about being the subject of her thesis documentary film.
“I knew Jim had a positive attitude and outlook on life despite his circumstances and health issues of his wife, and I wanted to put a friendly face to homelessness, as so often that population goes overlooked and even oppressed,” Servin said. “… I hope that I was able to change a few people's minds on how they view homelessness and homeless people as a whole.”
Today, Servin fully uses the education she received as a Film and Animation and Photojournalism double-major at RIT. She works at Appleton, Wisc.-based social media marketing company BConnected, LLC., creating photo and video content for businesses. She also photographs weddings and births.
“I absolutely loved my experience at RIT,” Servin said. “I feel that having a video background and knowing how to tell stories and gain trust from the people you are filming based on my photojournalism classes allowed me to be much more well-rounded as a storyteller. My classes made me feel confident that I could walk on to any film set and be an asset.”
A screenshot of the subject from the documentary film "Swan Was Here"