Capilano University named a finalist for PIEoneer Awards 2022

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Tag(s): Fine & Applied Arts

Photo of David Draad and Spencer McCoach, two student participants of the Global Coproduction Film Project with VIA University College in Denmark. The project is a finalist for the Progressive education delivery award which will be presented at the PIEoneer Awards 2022 in September in London, U.K.

Capilano University School of Motion Picture Arts has been shortlisted as a finalist for the PIEoneer Awards 2022 in the Progressive education delivery award category for its recent Global Coproduction Film Project. The PIEoneer Awards is an international program by Professionals in International Education (PIE) to celebrate innovation and achievement in global education. Awards will be presented in London, United Kingdom, on September 9, 2022.

As a finalist, CapU’s film project is honoured for its work in pushing the boundaries of what education is and can be in the context of global education and engagement. The Film Project was CapU’s first foray into offering students Collaborative Online International Learning or Virtual Exchange (COIL-VE) experiences. 

Progressive education finalist thin banner image

With study abroad programs around the world on hiatus in 2020, CapU and its international exchange partner, VIA University College in Aarhus, Denmark, instead planned for virtual global coproduction film projects. CapU’s Michael Thoma, Chair, School of Motion Picture Arts, and Rune Lünell at from VIA University College in Denmark served as lead faculty on the project. Together, they supported students in working through challenges and seeing opportunities instead of barriers to film creation and production through a lens of global sustainability.  

Now known as Arms Across the Atlantic, the film project initially brought together 10 students from CapU and 10 students from VIA. Working in production groups, the students created either a Cinemagraph or a sustainability-themed short film, with an option to incorporate Screenlife—a new film format where the film takes place over a computer screen, tablet or smartphone. During the post-production stage, close to 20 additional CapU and VIA students joined the project as cast and crew.

“We faced all kinds of challenges on the Global Coproduction Film Project, not least of which was the time difference between Denmark and Vancouver, where we often had meetings very early in the morning here and at dinner time there,” said Thoma, “Then there was the challenge of creating stories that incorporated the two locations and the theme of global sustainability, working together with film crews in two locations, and the post challenges where the digital formats weren’t always in sync. I think we all learned a lot about facing challenges on communicating as part of the global community.”

Earlier this year the film project served as the foundation for the first Global Sustainability Short Film Alliance (GSSFA): Symposium and Screening held at CapU on March 29, 2022 and broadcast livestream to include a global audience. CapU is one of the first members of the GSSFA, an initiative to promote sustainability-themed short film production by higher education institutions, and subsequently spread sustainable ideas around the world.

“This initiative is a great example of how two partners from across the world can come together through online learning," said Chris Bottrill, PhD, Director, International at Capilano University. "It has brought together faculty and students to work on projects of mutual interest that address global problems. During the pandemic we have become highly proficient at online education and we will utilize these newly developed skills to create further opportunities for our students to work with others around the globe. We are thrilled that “Arms Across the Atlantic” has been recognized as a finalist for the prestigious PIEoneer Awards,”

Two of the film project’s short films (“Thinking of Tomorrow” and “Across the Sea”) also screened at the Common Futures Festival at VIA University College on May 6, 2022. 

The film project successfully demonstrated the value of COIL-VE experiences for CapU students going forward. Starting in spring 2023, it is expected 455 CapU students will have the opportunity to participate from home in virtual exchange projects with students and faculty at institutions from around the world.

CapU is now accepting expressions of interest from students interested in participating in the next similar project slated for spring 2023. 


Submitted by: Communications