Haru’s New Year: From Pitch to Production

Alice Shin’s journey from the drawing board to the big screen


Are you an aspiring filmmaker who has the next big idea or vision for a movie? Here’s a story that will kickstart your journey to turning your dream into a reality! Meet Alice Shin, a Korean filmmaker who recently moved to Canada. Alice’s short film Haru’s New Year is in competition at this year’s Forest City Film Festival, and it began as a pitch idea at the FCFF Pitch Fest last year.

The story begins with Alice’s move to Canada. After studying film at Nihon University and working in Japan and Korea for several years, Alice decided it was time to move to Toronto. Initially, she faced difficulty in the industry with the language barrier, as English is her third language. However, she quickly realized the surrounding arts community was more than eager to help after seeing her passion for filmmaking.

“Local communities are really important.” said Alice, when asked about how she adjusted to the Canadian film scene. Alice attended many film workshops and community events, and found the FCFF Pitch Fest through them.

From there, Alice developed the storyline of Haru, a young Japanese schoolgirl, and her life as an immigrant in Toronto. The heartwarming tale is one of the many reasons why Alice stood out at the 2017 FCFF Pitch Fest. She derived inspiration for the movie from her own experience as an immigrant, as it touches on true universal themes of loneliness and compassion.

“It is my personal story but I believe everyone feels loneliness especially in their teenage period. I want the audience to feel it doesn’t take much effort to make outsiders feel welcomed or involved.” she said.

Working off a small budget, Alice worked hard to turn her pitch into a film. Through reaching out and obtaining the support of the Toronto Arts Council, Ontario Arts Council and Canada Council for Arts, Alice was able to create her debut Canadian short film.

“Artistic communities always try to help each other even if there’s no money” she added.


Sign up for the 2018 Forest City Film Festival to watch Alice’s beautiful short film. Haru’s New Year will be screened twice during the five day festival from Oct 24-28. Information on tickets and venues can be found here.  

If you have an idea you’d like to see turn into a reality, check out FCFF’s Youth Film Festival and Pitch Fest. The deadline to sign up for the Pitch Fest is September 30!

Keep up with us on social media to get updates on more films and events like this! You can find us through the hashtag #ForestCityFF or on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Wu Xiao