Carbon Arc Profile: Hillary West

Hello, faithful Carbon Arc patrons! This is a semi-regular feature on the Writer-in-Residence blog, profiles of the good people working behind the scenes to bring you the best in international and independent cinema.


Hillary West is a student in NSCC’s Screen Arts program and an aspiring filmmaker. She has been spending her summer working with Carbon Arc (while trying to catch as many concerts as she can).

I put five questions to Hillary, and she kindly responded:

What was the first movie you saw that got you interested in making films? 

The first movie would have to be Back to the Future. It’s my favourite movie of all time, I feel like I notice something new to appreciate each time I see it. It’s incredibly fun to watch as well as being impressive in both originality and its special effects. I want to have an impact on people with my work in the same way that it had on me.

I’m also heavily inspired by television. Making films is the ultimate goal, but being a show-runner is a close second. I watched a lot of film and TV growing up (not my parents’ fault, I just never slept much), and really enjoyed connecting to characters whose lives I felt a part of, and being entertained. 

Tell us a little about the experience of studying film at NSCC. 

Applying to NSCC was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. My instructors are amazing and I’m learning about everything the film industry encompasses. The program is a mix of business-related aspects of making films, writing, shooting, and editing. I don’t know if that even does the program justice because it feels so much more than that. I highly recommend it to anybody who is interested in film and wants a hands-on experience that truly prepares them for the field.

I’ve also formed strong friendships with some of the best people who I look forward to working with for a very long time. 

What kinds of films do you plan on making?

I don’t know that I plan on focusing on a set genre or type of film. Ideally, I want to be making films that are different from one another so that I can experiment and learn from each project. 

What has been your favourite film at Carbon Arc since you started volunteering, and why?

My favourite movie that I’ve seen at Carbon Arc would have to Miguel Gomes’ Tabu (2012). It was shot so beautifully and it further ingrained the song “Be My Baby” into my psyche!


It’s hard to choose between that and Xavier Dolan’s Laurence Anyways (2012), which was also striking. I picked Tabu because it was my first experience at the cinema and it was really exciting to be watching a film so different from what I was used to being available to me in Halifax.


What kind of work have you been doing as the Carbon Arc Summer Intern?  

As you would expect I’ve been doing a lot of typical summer student work like archiving Carbon Arc print ads, but it’s been fun to get my hands on all of it. The biggest thing I’ve been a part of was the planning of the 6th annual Animation With Love Film Festival. This year the festival is going to be extended to three days as opposed to one day as its been every other year. It’s been fun and eye-opening planning things from the beginning stages—I’m excited to see the end result. EVERYBODY should come enjoy it: December 2, 3, and 4.