From the Heartland Film Festival to the Prestigious Sundance Ignite Program: Carol Nguyen Continues to Soar


Two-time Heartland Film Festival High School Film Competition winner, Carol Nguyen, selected for the prestigious 2018 Sundance Ignite Fellowship

Carol Nguyen is not your average teenage filmmaker. At 19, Carol has not only directed eight award-winning short films that have screened at over 60 film festivals worldwide, but she has also proven to be a strong leader within the film community. She has participated in special guest panels at the Gramado Film Festival and the Toronto International Film Festival, and she served as a High School Film Competition jury member at the 2017 Heartland Film Festival.

The Heartland Film staff could not be more proud to call Nguyen a distinguished Heartland Film Festival alumna. In 2015, Carol took home the $3,000 Summer White Lynch Memorial Grand Prize within the High School Film Competition for her film “This Home is Not Empty,” a personal piece that explores the idea of the lies that we tell ourselves through a metaphorical lens. The 2015 Heartland Film Festival was Carol’s third time at the Festival; she previously won the Grand Prize for her film “Uprooted” in 2013 and was a finalist in 2014 for her film “How Do You Pronounce Pho?”

Still from Nguyen's 2015 Grand Prize-winning film "This Home is Not Empty"

Still from Nguyen’s 2015 Grand Prize-winning film “This Home is Not Empty”

“Heartland was the first festival I ever submitted to and the first festival I’d been a part of. I was welcomed with open arms and introduced to the beautiful world of festivals,” said Carol Nguyen. “I never thought I’d be attending Sundance, especially at 19. I’m just so proud to be a part of the Heartland family and share my journey as I continue to grow. Hopefully I will get to return to Heartland in the future!”

2017 has been an incredibly exciting year for Nguyen’s blossoming film career. In late July, Carol was named an ambassador for the “Share Her Journey” campaign at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). Share Her Journey is TIFF’s new five-year campaign that pairs industry professionals with women interested in starting their film careers both behind and in front of the camera. Through the program, TIFF hopes to advocate diversity of gender identity, sexual orientation, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and physical and cognitive ability within gender equity initiatives while also hosting residency programs, speakers series, and extensive resources for aspiring female creators. As an ambassador, Carol will serve as a mentor to aspiring young women looking to develop filmmaking skills, become more media literate and advance their media careers.

Earlier this week, the Sundance Institute announced Carol as one of their 2018 Sundance Ignite Fellows. As a Sundance Ignite Fellow, Nguyen and 14 other young filmmakers from around the globe will be able to attend the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, receive mentorship and guidance from Sundance Institute alumni, and gain exclusive access to workshops, internships, and work opportunities at Sundance Institute’s world-renowned Labs and programs. Sundance Institute, the nonprofit wing of the Sundance Film Festival, has supported a number of esteemed projects including the Truly Moving Picture Award-winning films “Boyhood” and “Life, Animated,” and the 2016 Heartland Film Festival Finalist “Sonita.”

In addition to her involvement with TIFF’s “Share Her Journey” campaign and Sundance Ignite, 2018 is bound to be another exciting year for Carol as she continues to pursue her passion for filmmaking at Concordia University in Montreal, QC.


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