School of Communication, Film & Video, engagement


University Highlands Elementary partners with SFU for "Short Filmmaking Adventures" summer course

August 09, 2019

Students from University Highlands Elementary on Burnaby Mountain visited the studios in the School of Communication at SFU regularly during July as part of their "Short Filmmaking Adventures" summer school course. They made use of the green screen and borrowed equipment such as cameras and sound booms to create short films in just two weeks. 

"The kids had a lot of fun. It was neat to see them go through the whole process," says Burnaby School District teacher Livia Chan.

Chan co-taught the course with University Highlands teacher Trista Cowan for the first time this summer and had help from a Research Assistant hired by SFU, along with a couple of volunteers. 

"If we didn’t have this partnership in place, we would have been limited to the resources available through the district," says Janice Nakatsu, director of instruction at the Burnaby School District. "From the resources such as the lab and green room to the personnel hired to support the program, we felt that the program went well beyond what we would have expected for a program for elementary-aged students. Students and families felt they were given the opportunity to work with state of the art equipment which was very exciting for them."

The course offered students an opportunity to see what is offered at SFU while making connections for future post-secondary education possibilities. 

"We were looking to modernize our offerings and were particularly interested in offering courses that were directly related to the core competencies in the redesigned curriculum," says Nakatsu. "The core competencies of thinking (creative and critical), communication and personal/social skills needed to be a the forefront of the courses that we were looking to develop for Summer Session in Burnaby. I think that the Short Filmmaking Adventures course fit the bill. When I was up at SFU to see the students in action, they were dialoguing, designing and making decisions in teams. From the work I saw, everything they were doing connected directly with the ministry’s competencies."

In just two weeks, the students were introduced to camera angles, storyboarding, narrative, sound, editing, acting, directing, and everything that goes into filmmaking. They worked in groups to create their own original films. "It was a great group of kids, and you could tell they felt really proud of themselves," says Chan. "Our partnership with SFU completely enhanced the student experience. I can't express enough how appreciative Trista and I were to have this partnership with SFU. The course wouldn't have been the same."