DePaul student film ‘Lucy’ wins BAFTA


Lucy from CDM DePaul video collection on Vimeo.

Zoe Lubeck, a DePaul University graduate student, won the Special Jury Prize at the Student British Academy of Filming and Television Arts (BAFTA) awards this June. 

Her film “Lucy” had its premiere run at Chicago’s International Film Festival, where it took the prize.

Many films enter this festival and the competition. Lubeck admits it was an overwhelming, but proud moment.

“Lucy was in competition with huge, super budget, super professional shorts,” she said. “I was honored just to be considered amongst the other films.”

Lucy was the name of Lubeck’s first pet dog. Lubeck always had a special place in her heart for animals and when she got Lucy as a present it was the happiest moment of her life.

“I was eight when I first got Lucy,” Lubeck says. “She was the most important thing in the world and I’d never wanted something so much, so when I did you couldn’t find a happier kid anywhere.”

Lucy was more than just a pet to Lubeck. She served as her companion that went through everything and anything with her.

“Lucy was with me through the bad times of adolescence, the ups and downs of high school and college,” she said.

The film illustrates the work that Lubeck had to put in as a child to get something she really wanted, knowing how hard it is to convince parents to get a pet.

The film traces back to when Lubeck was eight years old praying on the side of her bed to Santa Claus for a dog. The trajectory of the film takes us to the end of Lucy’s story, where we find out that the dog passes away.

Lubeck’s family calls “Lucy”  ‘the little film that could’ because it was a film that found its way through film competitions on a low budget.

When Lubeck had the film idea she didn’t have money to make it, leaving her with no other option but to proceed with no budget.

She didn’t have the time or money to animate the film, but illustration quickly solved that issue and she used DePaul as a resource by borrowing cameras and other materials.

Another challenge was figuring out how to get the rights to the cover she used in her film.

“I had to think of workarounds,” she said. “In the end all the parts came together in a lovely, scrappy way.”

The film captures the innocent intentions that come along with childhood and memorializes Lucy, but it was also an opportunity for Lubeck to collaborate.

“One purpose of the film was to collaborate with people I’ve been wanting to work with,” she said. “My good friend Miden Wood‘s images brought the story to life and my brother Charlie worked music.”

Lubeck started her career by doing DIY short films in Chicago apartments, but with time she grew fond of being in charge of the camera.

“We had no permits, no set crews, or budgets,” she said. “It was bare bones in the best way.”

Lubeck chose filmmaking as a career because of the power visual language has in telling a story. Her father is a photographer, which inspired her to get behind the camera at a very young age.

Currently, Lubeck is a director of photography (DP) and is one year into her masters in fine arts at DePaul’s Digital Cinema School.

She is the DP for “King Rat”, which is a feature film set to premiere this fall. Along with that, she is in the pre-production  phase of “On the Beach”, a feature to be shot in Greece next fall.

Her bar is set high for her next projects and she is working towards them day by day by focusing on her classes and directing her thesis film.

“There’s something magical in capturing moving images,” she said. “The most rewarding thing is being part of making something that has an effect on an emotional audience.”