Capturing real-world experiences on film

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Tag(s): Alumni, Fine & Applied Arts

Film students Harrison Green, Qwilleran Lake and Owen Pinchin created the film profile on Spectrum Skateparks

It’s a win-win-win collaboration: Capilano University School of Motion Picture Arts students team up with the North Vancouver Chamber of Commerce’s Business Excellence Awards to tell local business success stories and garner recognition for their filmmaking work.

The awards and gala dates back almost two decades, and is an important recognition for the North Shore professional community, showcasing business leaders and enterprises across six award categories.

The highlight of the November gala is the showing of the short films that capture the calling and character of each nominated business in their specific category.

“Prior to 2008, an outside company would film each of the nominee companies,” says Misha Wilson, the Chamber’s Membership Manager.  “But with the wonderful film school at Capilano University, we decided that, instead of utilizing a company, why don’t we collaborate with the University to promote local talent?”

For the past eight years, Capilano students—in teams of three to four—have been paired with Business Excellence Awards Finalists. They then have six to eight weeks to plan and produce the films to be shown at the gala during the awards ceremony.

“The businesses love it,” says Misha. “It’s definitely the highlight of the evening. You get to see an insight into businesses you might not have known existed on the North Shore.” The films are also hosted on the North Vancouver Chamber of Commerce YouTube channel, where the businesses are able to download and use the films for promotional purposes.

Real-world lessons

“There’s a lot of personal and professional development for the students, even before the cameras roll,” says Andrea Klipp, a School of Motion Picture Arts instructor.

“It was definitely one of the first times we connected with people outside the school—the way we interviewed them was more documentary style,” says Samantha Huang, who directed a profile on AIM Language Learning, winner in the Innovation category for 2015.

“They really listened to our recommendations,” says AIM Language Learning’s Wendy Maxwell, noting the Capilano University students’ eagerness to convey the businesses accurately.

“There was a lot of communicating with someone outside school,” notes Harrison Green, who contributed to the profile for Spectrum Skateparks, a finalist in the Innovation category for 2015.

Spectrum Skateparks’s Jim Barnum says the students were timely and focused on their task.

“They had a great combination of organization, ‘getting it done,’ and personality,” says Jim.  “Overall I was very pleased with the results.”

Harrison says the experience provided valuable lessons, including the importance of clarifying the time constraints and purpose of a project with a client from the outset.

Lindsay Hitchcock, a producer of a profile on Business Person of the Year finalist Reen Collins of Motion Wear, valued going through the workflow of running a small business—all the steps of filming, editing and making sure the North Vancouver Chamber is happy with the work.

“I can take that experience with me, especially for client-based promotional videos,” Lindsay says, noting that she and many of her colleagues hope to find employment working on promotional videos during the summer.

A gala moment

With more than 300 guests in attendance at the gala, the films’ screening definitely garnered exposure—and excitement— for the aspiring filmmakers.

“It was my first time going into such a big gala, seeing our films on the big screen,” says Samantha. “Even if you didn’t win, you still felt proud.”

Pamela Buck, the Chamber’s Events Manager, says the pride was universal. “We are all the same community—North Shore businesses, North Shore students, North Shore University, North Shore Chamber. It’s all part of the community partnership.”

All of the 2015 films can be seen at on the North Vancouver Chamber of Commerce’s YouTube Channel.

Submitted by: Communications & Marketing