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Independent filmmaker uses talent, persistence to make movies
Making a film may be quite a bit easier than it used to; special effects can be created solely by using a computer. Editing can be completed at a workstation as opposed to in a laboratory where reels of film are spliced together.
In some ways, the advent of technology has given filmmakers limitless opportunities for creativity. The fact remains that creating a film requires thousands of hand movements and hundreds of clicks that, if you have limited mobility, can cause problems.
But don’t tell Andrew Pilkington that those circumstances are a roadblock to making a movie. Andrew, who is 21 and a student at University of Rhode Island, is not only studying filmmaking, but he’s completing his first feature-length film and growing his film company called Ruby Andromeda Productions, PLLC.
“I’ve always known that I wanted to be a filmmaker,” said Andrew, who describes his case of Cerebral Palsy as moderate, with spasticity. “I always knew that I wound find a way to do this.”
Andrew does not have full use of his fingers, arms or legs. To input commands into his computer and to edit his films he uses his nose and his right foot.
It’s a long process for a busy college student, but because filmmaking is Andrew’s dream, it’s a worthwhile endeavor.
“What’s great about this simple technology is it gives people with disabilities an opportunity to compete in today’s workforce and completely assimilate into today’s society. It really breaks down that wall that used to be for people with disabilities. Now they have productive lives and they get to contribute to society to survive. I’m really thankful for that.”
– Andrew Pilkington
“What’s great about this simple technology is it gives people with disabilities an opportunity to compete in today’s workforce and completely assimilate into today’s society,” Andrew said. “It really breaks down that wall that used to be for people with disabilities. Now they have productive lives and they get to contribute to society to survive. I’m really thankful for that.”
“It’s a great job,” he said. “My goal is to work full-time as a filmmaker.”
Eye on entertainment
Andrew grew up in Wayland, Mass., the son of Chris and Deborah Pilkington. It was discovered that Andrew had Cerebral Palsy when he was an infant, and he did not develop in the same way as other children his age. He also has a younger sister, Grace, now 16.
While he was growing up, Andrew became fascinated with film and television. He especially enjoyed the television shows produced in the 21st century by Aaron Sorkin, like “The West Wing,” and movies from the end of the 20th century like “Goodfellas,” and “Jurassic Park.” Additionally, he also enjoys horseback riding, which helps him to balance.
By the time he entered Wayland High School, he was learning how to use sophisticated editing software, and exploring opportunities to make his own movies. Andrew attended high school in a mainstream environment where he took the same classes as other students did, but completed his work a little differently from his peers.
As Andrew was exploring his options, his family and his teachers were supportive of his efforts.
“Everyone thought it was a great idea,” he said.
Since he graduated from high school, Andrew has worked hard on expanding his aspirations of becoming an independent filmmaker. He has written several of his own scripts. Many of his small projects can be found on YouTube or Vimeo.
In 2010, he entered the film and media program at the Harrington School of Communication and Media at the University of Rhode Island. In 2010, not satisfied to sit back and build his skills purely through attending classes, Andrew founded his own film company, Ruby Andromeda Productions, PLLC of which he acts as its president.
So far, he has completed three short films and one feature-length film. He said he hopes the company will eventually lead him to Hollywood and beyond.
“I would like to direct and produce features,” he said. “And, I also want to continue to write.”
Andrew works as a peer advisor at the university and has a part-time position overseeing social media for the Harrington School of Communication and Media. Andrew lives independently at school with the help of an aide and is on track to graduate from the university in 2014. After, he will pursue his goals full-time.
Andrew’s first feature was made in 2012 and although it does not yet have a name the film is described as a political caper.
The plot follows a young, idealistic college student who is elected to the student government at his university.
The student’s aspirations to improve his school catch the attention of its current president. He quickly takes the new senator under his wing and shows him the true nature of school government. As the year progresses, the student gains recognition by completing various tasks and giving valued insights on weighty issues.
But the plot thickens when a rift between the president and the treasurer increase tuition. After witnessing the president participate in some illegal activities, the student is forced to choose between his fondness of the president and his loyalty to the student body.
There is a tough bitter election where both sides are bickering, leaving the student to pick a side. The student chooses to help the new candidate run against his mentor. Enraged by this decision, the president secretly plans to sabotage the student’s goal of getting promoted, which leads to some intriguing conflicts and resolutions.
Currently, Andrew is looking for film festivals and other avenues to promote his movie. He is looking forward to graduating college and devoting his time entirely to film creation.
“I’m having a great time,” he said. “But I have a lot of materials that I’d like to do.”
For more information on Andrew:
To learn how Andrew creates his films, visit Andrew Explains How He Uses Editing Production Hardware.
To learn see a short video about Andrew, visit Andrew Pilkington Awesome Person of the Week.
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