British Columbia

Vancouver Short Film Festival has entry from 9-year-old director

At only nine years of age, Maia Costea has more than a dozen films and a handful of award nominations under her belt as an actor. At this year's Vancouver Short Film Festival, she is making her directorial debut.

Maia Costea has entered her short film, Behind The Rocks

Maia Costea has entered her directorial debut in the Vancouver Short Film Festival. She is only nine years old. (Liam Britten/CBC)

As an actor, Maia Costea has more than a dozen films and a handful of award nominations under her belt.

Not bad for being nine years old.

And on the weekend, she was recognized for her work behind the camera when her directorial debut, the fantasy and science fiction film, Behind The Rocks, was featured at this weekend's Vancouver Short Film Festival.

"I'm very honoured short film was picked … And I think my short film is very good but I don't know how the other short films will be," she told On The Coast host Stephen Quinn during an interview Friday shortly before the festival.

Behind The Rocks is a film about a girl who finds a magic rock that transports her to another world. She brings her friends to that world, where they find touching other rocks in that world give them superpowers.

A family affair

The film came out of a class for young filmmakers that Maia took. She says she wanted to prove to her teachers that she could make a movie on her own, so she wrote the script, directed it, acted in it, edited the rough cut and even made special effects with the help of her mother, Lettie Costea.

"I actually had no idea what I was doing, but I watched YouTube videos … and it worked," Lettie said. "It turned out much better than I expected!"

And while Lettie got a lesson in special effects making the movie, Maia got a lesson about how hard being a director is.

"It's very hard at some points, but it's also very fun to be the boss of the movie," Maia said. "The hard parts are … you have lots of pressure on you to make the movie good."

"It's just fun to make the movies and be in the movies and just to be part of the movies. It's fun."

Just a hobby for now

While the short film festival is a big deal for her, Maia is also up for a Young Artist Award in Hollywood for her lead performance in the Canadian short film The Candy Girl — which also has a strong family connection.

"She came up with the idea for that film. It was produced by me and directed by her brother," Lettie said.

Maia came up with the idea when she took her extra Halloween candy to school and pretended to be "the candy dealer," giving her friends all the candy. That sparked an idea of a principal trying to bust an underground candy ring at a school.

Maia says she's already working on her next film, called Cake, about a girl who dreams of cake, with the line between her dreams and her reality blurred.

But surprisingly, Maia says she doesn't want to work in film as a career.

"I think this won't be a living of mine, but a hobby," she said. "It's just something I would kinda do for fun."

Maia Costea and her mother Lettie Costea (not pictured) visited with On the Coast host Stephen Quinn to talk about her directorial debut, Behind The Rocks. (Liam Britten/CBC)

To hear the full story, click the audio labelled: Meet the youngest director at this year's Vancouver Short Film Festival


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