Braunte PetricFilm student Braunte Petric is excited to see her work Defender among the 10 finalists in TVO’s Short Doc Contest.

Student documentary shortlisted for prize

Braunte Petric hasn’t even begun her graduate studies in filmmaking and she’s already making her mark — TV Ontario has named her work Defender among the 10 finalists in its Short Doc Contest.

The film is an interview with Windsor Law professor Julie Macfarlane, founder of the National Self-Represented Litigants Project, which advocates for access to justice.

Petric first became aware of the project as an intern during her undergraduate studies in communication, media, and film, which she completed this spring. This semester, she has begun pursuit of an MFA in film studies.

“My film is about bringing awareness to the world of law,” she says. “Unless you are suing someone, have been sued, or know someone involved in a lawsuit, you would have no knowledge of how our court system is changing.”

While people struggle to afford legal representation, Petric notes Macfarlane is fighting for them.

“She is an amazing interviewee,” says Petric. “I really enjoyed making a powerful story about this group advocating for others.”

She was “overwhelmed” to learn her piece was selected to the top 10 and shares credit with cinematographer Armend Bajrami.

“No matter what, even if our entry doesn’t win, it will always be on the TVO website,” Petric says. “I’m so grateful it has even made it this far.”

Judges will award first, second, and third prizes, but the public will determine the People’s Choice winner. Voting is open through Sept. 16; watch all entries and cast a ballot on the contest website.