SCA News

Posted on 31 Jul 2014 in

- SCA make room for youth filmmakers this summer

The Summer Visions Film Institute is an award-winning digital filmmaking program with streams for youth 11-13 and 14-19, and this year the young filmmaker are using lab spaces and editing suites at SCA to create collaborative short films. The students are also making good use of the whole building and surrounding neighbourhood as a set for filming. Formed into production teams participates write, shoot, and edit short digital videos that are screened in an awards gala ceremony in September.




The program, now in its 15th year is produced by the Education Department at The Cinematheque and Dream Big Productions at Templeton Secondary. We talked to Liz Schulze, the Education Manager at The Cinematheque to find out more about the program and how it happened that SCA donated the space. 

FIND OUT MORE about the program

What skills do the young filmmakers learn at Summer Visions?

Participants learn a wide variety of skills at Summer Visions: everything from the technical skills of camera operation, sound recording and video editing to the collaborative skills of screenwriting, story editing, and working to make creative and technical decisions as a team. Our focus is on helping young people to understand not only how to make short films, but more importantly to understand that everything they put on any screen - big or small - communicates messages and ideas. We want them to learn the language of visual and multi-media storytelling, and to use this language to communicate their own original ideas and stories.

Structured as a peer-mentorship program, what are the backgrounds of your key instructors?

Our instructional staff are all young filmmakers who are excited to share their skills with other young people who share their passion for film and filmmaking. Most are Summer Visions alumni, starting as participants and then rising to become mentors, instructors and even program coordinators, while some others are current or former film students, most from SFU School for the Contemporary Arts. This year we have five SFU students or alumni on staff, about 1/3 of our team!

We live in a media saturated society. Are the instructors surprised by how savvy the young filmmakers are about telling stories via film?

Young filmmakers are often very savvy about telling visual stories, and our mentors are young filmmakers themselves who share our participants' love of media! Our challenge is that it takes one set of skills to understand media, and another set of skills to become a fluent communicator in such a complicated language as film. We find that so often our filmmakers know what they want to say, and connect easily to standard movie storytelling modes, but need support to find original, innovative and new ways to share their ideas. It's our role to help them in this process, moving beyond clichés and into fun, experimental and expressive stories, images and soundscapes.

You take a collaborative approach that mirrors the film industry. Why is this key to the success of the program?

Collaboration is everything to Summer Visions! Feedback from peers and mentors, working together through stress and joy, and the sense of accomplishment that comes from creating something from nothing with a group of people you didn't even know before the program began: these are the things that our participants tell us they love, and ultimately they help young filmmakers learn how the professional world works.

Previous year’s films have been programmed in professional festivals such as Reel2Real and IGN!TE – what has that experience been like for the filmmakers?

It's been really great to have our filmmakers get their work recognized by festivals, and to gain the experience of watching their films on the big screen with a room full of strangers. We've been thrilled that work produced at our program is doing so well, and the filmmakers have been proud and honoured to be included.

Have students in the program gone on to study filmmaking after high school to make a career in film?

Many Summer Visions participants have gone on to universities after high school to make careers in film. Our alumni have gone to Capilano University, Concordia University, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver Film School, and even the Canadian Film Centre, and work in film industries across North America.

How vital was it to receive the offer of donated space from SCA?

This year, with the labour dispute/school lock-out, we were faced with cancelling the program for the first time in 15 years. By mid-June, we had over 100 participants registered, many emails from eager (and sometimes almost desperate) parents and participants asking about how the program was going to run, and we didn't quite know. We are so incredibly grateful for the opportunity to continue this program, and the donated space from the SFU School for the Contemporary Arts was crucial! Not are the facilities amazing and perfect for our needs, but the entire staff have been welcoming, generous and have extended us every courtesy and kindness. We cannot say thank you enough, and our participants and their families have also shared their gratitude.  

Posted on 14 Jul 2014 in

- James O’Callaghan shares John Weinzweig Grand Prize

SCA graduates feature on SOCAN Foundation Awards list for Young Composers

Remy Siu and James O'Callaghan (photo by Aaron Siverston)

Last week, the SOCAN Foundation announced 17 recipients of the 23rd Annual SOCAN Foundation Awards for Young Composers that included two SCA grads.

Congratulations James O'Callaghan and Remy Siu!

The prestigious awards recognize Canadian composers 30 years of age and under for specific musical works in five categories of concert music. With 193 entries and awards totalling $29,250, the grand prize was given jointly to SCA graduate James O’Callaghan and fellow Montreal-based composer Symon Henry.

The competition was judged anonymously by a jury of three prominent composers: Dr. Rodney Sharman of Vancouver (who has served as composer-in-residence with the Victoria Symphony, National Youth Orchestra of Canada and Vancouver Symphony Orchestra), Dr. James Harley (associate professor in the Faculty of Music at the University of Guelph, and a multiple award winner in his own right), and Monique Jean of Montreal (who specializes in electroacoustic music and sound installations).

“The electronic elements in James O’Callaghan’s Isomorphia make use of a number of environment sounds,” says Harley. “This work shows real imagination.”

Isomorphia was nominated earlier this year for a Juno Award in the Classical Composition of the Year category. What’s next for James? He is working on several exciting new projects in Montreal.

Vancouver-based composer Remy Siu, also a SCA grad, received second prize honours for the Pierre Mercure Award.

Posted on 09 Jul 2014 in

- Pushing the boundaries of film

SCA grads redefine the travelogue

This summer, SCA film grads Devan Scott, Daniel Jeffery and Will Ross embark on their first feature length production, We Three Heathens, currently filming on location in France. 

SFU Vancouver spoke with Devan Scott regarding the trio’s upcoming adventure, and how the unconventionality of the SFU Film program inspired them to take the same approach to their filmmaking.

Scott, who directed Paradiso, a TIFF 2013 Official Selection, credits the flexible and collaborative nature of SFU Film with helping the group develop their identities as young filmmakers.

"[SFU Film] provided a thorough education, over the course of four years, of film theory and practice, introducing us to new concepts in a way that helped us build our artistic identities from the ground-up; we were given great freedom and encouraged by the faculty to experiment with our films and push the boundaries of our comfort zone; and, perhaps most importantly, it fostered creative relationships which gave us the ability for us and our peers to learn from one another," he notes.

"These factors all contributed to us pushing toward a very independent mode of filmmaking, divorced from the usual trapping of the 'film industry'."

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