media release

Filmmaking grad shines with In Transit

September 27, 2012

Daniel Pierce, 778.320.8789,
Carol Thorbes, PAMR, 778.782.3035,

Flickr photo:  

Simon Fraser University film professor Colin Browne has warm memories of advising budding filmmaker Daniel Pierce on his graduating film in the School for the Contemporary Arts

“It’s wonderful to witness the work of a student like Daniel in his fourth year,” says Browne. “You can already get a sense of the artistic maturity he's moving toward; his heart is open to seeing and experiencing the world’s human dramas.”

Pierce’s bachelor of fine arts degree submission, In Transit, which is laden with special effects and complex characters, has been screened at major film festivals in Montreal, Vancouver and Seattle.

The 13-minute film draws the viewer into the lives of eight passengers who tell stories about their trials and tribulations while sharing a rainy night bus ride in Vancouver.

Pierce, born in Richmond Hill, Ontario, shot the film in a studio using a junkyard transit bus and the “poor man's process” a low-tech method of simulating characters interacting in a moving vehicle at night.

The Vancouver resident rigged hoses around the windows to make the rain and raised projection screens outside all the windows to create the illusion of the twinkling city passing by. He had someone on the roof of the bus rocking it back and forth. The rest of the illusion was filled out using the sounds of an old Vancouver trolley bus recorded in 2008.

“I really enjoy playing with the illusions that we as filmmakers create while trying to portray reality,” says Pierce, who grew up on Stoney Creek, Ontario. “I strive to make well-researched, well-developed honest cinema that reflects the complexity of the world we live in,” he adds.

“I’m not advocating any particular point of view, just trying to get people to think and ask more questions about what is going on the in world.”

Watch In Transit at And view an extended trailer for The Hollow Tree, Pierce’s documentary about the restoration of Vancouver's fabled Hollow Tree in Stanley Park, at

Simon Fraser University is Canada's top-ranked comprehensive university and one of the top 50 universities in the world under 50 years old. With campuses in Vancouver, Burnaby and Surrey, B.C., SFU engages actively with the community in its research and teaching, delivers almost 150 programs to more than 30,000 students, and has more than 120,000 alumni in 130 countries.

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"Simon Fraser University: Engaging Students. Engaging Research. Engaging Communities"

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