Lights, Action, Revenge

THE REEL SHORTS YOUTH FILMMAKING CHALLENGE

by Eileen Coristine

Over five hundred regional students viewed films at the Reel Shorts Film Festival 2010. Some of the films they saw had been produced that week by kids from St. Joseph’s Catholic High School in Grande Prairie, Hines Creek Composite School, Hythe Regional School, Beaverlodge High School and Valleyview.

Hines Creek’s Justin Knoepfli, star of Ninja Revenge has been to two Reel Shorts Youth Filmmaking Challenges and is hoping to attend again. His role in the 2010 film has also inspired him to consider attending a stunt school in Washington next year. The funny thing is that Justin captured the lead role in the movie because he was the guy who fit into the costume.

For the past six years his teacher, Sherri MacDowall has been bringing groups of students to the Youth Filmmaking Challenge to introduce them to the “most collaborative art form in the world,” as Reel Shorts is described.

“Sherri has been bringing her students to the festival since 2007,” says festival founder, Terry Scerbak, “She’s also been a key factor in developing the Youth Filmmaking Challenge workshops. Sherri always wanted more hands-on opportunities for her students.”

To help provide them with those kinds of opportunities during the rest of the school year, the Hines Creek students have a high school credit course dedicated to filmmaking and state of the art camera, sound and editing equipment. This year Sherri has eight students in her class, and will be able to bring up to eight more along to enter the challenge.

Last year, in order to finance their trip to the festival, the kids produced a commercial and presented it to the County of Clear Hills Council. Council members were so impressed that they provided the necessary funds.

The Youth Filmmaking Challenge workshops are led by Vancouver filmmaker Scott Belyea (formerly of Grande Prairie), Scooter Corckle from Vancouver and Michael Bouree from Grande Prairie. These film professionals guide the production and provide the students with on location training.

Australian actress and filmmaker Alyssa McClelland visited six classes following last year’s festival to provide more support for student films. Not only was she impressed by the students’ films, she was also surprised by the level of discussions about what a life in the arts might be like. “If you pursue a life in the art you may not be rich in money,” she told the students, “but you will be rich in experiences.”

Through their filmmaking class the Hines Creek students have some technical experience, but once they are at the workshop they have an intense and consuming task to complete in a very short time. After a three hour orientation with the workshop leaders production begins.

“The students have to pitch their ideas to the producers and then once the subject is chosen they spend the next two and a half days filming,” Sherri explains.

“First we looked at all the places and costumes and props available for us at Muskoseepi Park,’ Justin says. “Then we came up with ideas about what we could do there.” Since there is no formal script and the scenes are filmed out of sequence, the film evolves as it is shot.

Ninja Revenge, at eight minutes, is the Hines Creek students’ longest (and according to Sherri, their best) film to date. Although there is a brief synopsis: a young man must learn the ancient ways of combat to avenge his fallen sister, the title really tells it all.

After two days of intensive filming the students returned home. Ninja Revenge was edited and sent on to them later. Although the Challenge films are shown at the end of the Reel Shorts Festival, the Hines Creek kids have never stayed for that viewing. Instead, Sherri holds a “Premier” and invites the school community. There is a red carpet and “champagne” and the stars, directors and film and sound crews get to see what they’ve collectively created.

“Attending the festival blew my expectations,” Justin says. “It’s given me a great respect for all the people who make films.” Ninja Revenge can be viewed online at YouTube. The fifth Grande Prairie Live Theatre Reel Shorts Film Festival will be held May 4-8, 2011. “The festival celebrates short films and the filmmakers who make them by screening gems of storytelling brilliance from around the world, across Canada, and here in the Peace Region,” says Terry Scerbak. “We entertain audiences, and inspire, teach, and showcase Peace Region filmmakers, thus helping to develop a filmmaking community in the Peace Region.”

For more information on the festival see www.reelshorts.ca.


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How to Build an Interactive Arts Scene

by Jody FarrellFor Dan Arberry, what began as a passing statement following his first exhibition in years, has emerged into something of a personal mission. He’s determined to establish a viable, interactive arts scene in the Peace Region, and, if recent turnouts at arts events offer any indication, his own proactive contribution to that end appears to be working.[caption id="attachment_706" align="aligncenter" width="660" caption="Finding Balance Exhibition by Dan Arberry, Fall 2010"]http://www.artofthepeace.ca/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/Finding-Balance-Exhibition-by-Dan-Arberry-Fall-2010.jpg" alt="" width="660" height="253" /> [/caption]In May 2010, Dan blogged about his exhibition, Once Upon a Still Life , which had just opened at the Unique Gallery in Grande Prairie. A blog is one of those wonders of online communication; a collection of personal entries posted on a computer site for others to read and, when inspired, offer comment. Arberry wrote:“My first showing in approximately 5-6 years. In the beginning I didn’t know what to expect. I have been living in Grande Prairie under the rocks and in the shadows for all these years and was scared to see the reception that I would receive. Since last November, when I started producing again, I have slowly submerged myself into the Grande Prairie Art Scene. And some might laugh when I say “art scene”, but the truth is...there is. Perhaps it just isn’t getting the exposure that it deserves. But, I also think that this group of skilled and modest artists sit back and watch...”People agreed; the show was indeed a success. Arberry himself knew that his own online presence, along with a concerted effort to gather and forward timely announcements of his opening to as many Grande Prairie and Peace region residents as possible, was at least partly responsible for the large number of visitors that night. But he was also awed at the vitality of the crowd. People were hungry for art and eager for discourse. “So many elements of the night made it a success,” Arberry blogged. “The people. The laughs. The creative conversations. Emerging talent coming out. And the support that I felt throughout the evening.”Arberry continued to document his feelings and insights on his own webpage, but also made a serious effort to let others know of other upcoming art shows and events. His goal was to build as big and as visible an arts community as possible. He began, he explains, the process of “eating the elephant.”“It’s not something you can do all at once,’’ Arberry elaborates on the metaphor that aptly illustrates his long-term plan to effectively expand both attendance at the actual shows, and an ongoing, widespread discussion about exhibitions and art. “It requires little bites,” he adds, noting that anything large and lasting usually does.Early information regarding exhibitions had always appeared on the Art of the Peace website and in its newletters, but the society’s board members, including Arberry, were forever tackling the problem of less-than-optimal communication and participation of artists and art lovers throughout the region.[caption id="attachment_705" align="aligncenter" width="660" caption="Dan Arberry reviews the Prairie Ranger Photography exhibition, The Red Carpet"]http://www.artofthepeace.ca/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/Finding-Balance-Exhibition-by-Dan-Arberry-Fall-2010.jpg" alt="" width="660" height="304" /> [/caption]Arberry began gathering his own list of email addresses of anyone remotely linked to the arts in and around the Peace Region, and many from further afield. As months passed, he continued to announce, attend, and blog about exhibitions. He saw a marked increase in attendance. From 20 to 30 participants, exhibitions grew to 60 people or more on opening night. And these included a newer, younger crowd that arts groups had not reached in any sustainable manner before now.July’s official re-opening of Grande Prairie’s Centre for Creative Arts was a big success, with hundreds of all ages attending the all-day outdoor activities, entertainment and ribbon cutting, and indoor exhibitions, including a live (clothed) model drawing class. The fine summer weather and the opening coinciding with Grande Prairie’s annual Street Performers Festival may have helped matters, but the interest was strong.Another big surprise was the standing room only attendance at last September’s Wearable Art Show and exhibition at the Centre for Creative Arts. That entire Arts Days weekend, which featured a variety of activities throughout Alberta, was locally deemed a colossal success. The province-backed festival had funding for posters and ads, but lots of information circulated for free online. Alberta Culture and Community officials were thrilled at the public attendance and participation in and around Grande Prairie.Recent discussions with fellow Art of the Peace board members resulted in Arberry’s creation of a more general arts blog on both the magazine’s website, and its http://www.artofthepeace.ca/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/Finding-Balance-Exhibition-by-Dan-Arberry-Fall-2010.jpg" target="_blank"> Art of the Peace Facebook page , another online tool that allows for more visible and immediate interaction among followers.“I try to write about and go to as many exhibitions as possible. I also invite anyone out there to go, and to share their impressions. Some people are scared to walk into an art exhibition. It can be intimidating. I tell them I’ll go with them.”Small bites like these are how Arberry approaches the elephant-sized task of establishing a larger-than-ever-imagined arts scene in the Peace.Visit Art of the Peace’s online blog at http://www.artofthepeace.ca/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/Finding-Balance-Exhibition-by-Dan-Arberry-Fall-2010.jpg" artofthepeace.ca , and become a friend of http://www.artofthepeace.ca/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/Finding-Balance-Exhibition-by-Dan-Arberry-Fall-2010.jpg" target="_blank"> Art of the Peace on Facebook .
7 years ago

How to Build an Interactive Arts Scene

by Jody FarrellFor Dan Arberry, what began as a passing statement following his first exhibition in years, has emerged into something of a personal mission. He’s determined to establish a viable, interactive arts scene in the Peace Region, and, if recent turnouts at arts events offer any indication, his own proactive contribution to that end appears to be working.[caption id="attachment_706" align="aligncenter" width="660" caption="Finding Balance Exhibition by Dan Arberry, Fall 2010"]http://www.artofthepeace.ca/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/Finding-Balance-Exhibition-by-Dan-Arberry-Fall-2010.jpg" alt="" width="660" height="253" /> [/caption]In May 2010, Dan blogged about his exhibition, Once Upon a Still Life , which had just opened at the Unique Gallery in Grande Prairie. A blog is one of those wonders of online communication; a collection of personal entries posted on a computer site for others to read and, when inspired, offer comment. Arberry wrote:“My first showing in approximately 5-6 years. In the beginning I didn’t know what to expect. I have been living in Grande Prairie under the rocks and in the shadows for all these years and was scared to see the reception that I would receive. Since last November, when I started producing again, I have slowly submerged myself into the Grande Prairie Art Scene. And some might laugh when I say “art scene”, but the truth is...there is. Perhaps it just isn’t getting the exposure that it deserves. But, I also think that this group of skilled and modest artists sit back and watch...”People agreed; the show was indeed a success. Arberry himself knew that his own online presence, along with a concerted effort to gather and forward timely announcements of his opening to as many Grande Prairie and Peace region residents as possible, was at least partly responsible for the large number of visitors that night. But he was also awed at the vitality of the crowd. People were hungry for art and eager for discourse. “So many elements of the night made it a success,” Arberry blogged. “The people. The laughs. The creative conversations. Emerging talent coming out. And the support that I felt throughout the evening.”Arberry continued to document his feelings and insights on his own webpage, but also made a serious effort to let others know of other upcoming art shows and events. His goal was to build as big and as visible an arts community as possible. He began, he explains, the process of “eating the elephant.”“It’s not something you can do all at once,’’ Arberry elaborates on the metaphor that aptly illustrates his long-term plan to effectively expand both attendance at the actual shows, and an ongoing, widespread discussion about exhibitions and art. “It requires little bites,” he adds, noting that anything large and lasting usually does.Early information regarding exhibitions had always appeared on the Art of the Peace website and in its newletters, but the society’s board members, including Arberry, were forever tackling the problem of less-than-optimal communication and participation of artists and art lovers throughout the region.[caption id="attachment_705" align="aligncenter" width="660" caption="Dan Arberry reviews the Prairie Ranger Photography exhibition, The Red Carpet"]http://www.artofthepeace.ca/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/Finding-Balance-Exhibition-by-Dan-Arberry-Fall-2010.jpg" alt="" width="660" height="304" /> [/caption]Arberry began gathering his own list of email addresses of anyone remotely linked to the arts in and around the Peace Region, and many from further afield. As months passed, he continued to announce, attend, and blog about exhibitions. He saw a marked increase in attendance. From 20 to 30 participants, exhibitions grew to 60 people or more on opening night. And these included a newer, younger crowd that arts groups had not reached in any sustainable manner before now.July’s official re-opening of Grande Prairie’s Centre for Creative Arts was a big success, with hundreds of all ages attending the all-day outdoor activities, entertainment and ribbon cutting, and indoor exhibitions, including a live (clothed) model drawing class. The fine summer weather and the opening coinciding with Grande Prairie’s annual Street Performers Festival may have helped matters, but the interest was strong.Another big surprise was the standing room only attendance at last September’s Wearable Art Show and exhibition at the Centre for Creative Arts. That entire Arts Days weekend, which featured a variety of activities throughout Alberta, was locally deemed a colossal success. The province-backed festival had funding for posters and ads, but lots of information circulated for free online. Alberta Culture and Community officials were thrilled at the public attendance and participation in and around Grande Prairie.Recent discussions with fellow Art of the Peace board members resulted in Arberry’s creation of a more general arts blog on both the magazine’s website, and its http://www.artofthepeace.ca/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/Finding-Balance-Exhibition-by-Dan-Arberry-Fall-2010.jpg" target="_blank"> Art of the Peace Facebook page , another online tool that allows for more visible and immediate interaction among followers.“I try to write about and go to as many exhibitions as possible. I also invite anyone out there to go, and to share their impressions. Some people are scared to walk into an art exhibition. It can be intimidating. I tell them I’ll go with them.”Small bites like these are how Arberry approaches the elephant-sized task of establishing a larger-than-ever-imagined arts scene in the Peace.Visit Art of the Peace’s online blog at http://www.artofthepeace.ca/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/Finding-Balance-Exhibition-by-Dan-Arberry-Fall-2010.jpg" artofthepeace.ca , and become a friend of http://www.artofthepeace.ca/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/Finding-Balance-Exhibition-by-Dan-Arberry-Fall-2010.jpg" target="_blank"> Art of the Peace on Facebook .
7 years ago

How to Build an Interactive Arts Scene

by Jody FarrellFor Dan Arberry, what began as a passing statement following his first exhibition in years, has emerged into something of a personal mission. He’s determined to establish a viable, interactive arts scene in the Peace Region, and, if recent turnouts at arts events offer any indication, his own proactive contribution to that end appears to be working.[caption id="attachment_706" align="aligncenter" width="660" caption="Finding Balance Exhibition by Dan Arberry, Fall 2010"]http://www.artofthepeace.ca/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/Finding-Balance-Exhibition-by-Dan-Arberry-Fall-2010.jpg" alt="" width="660" height="253" /> [/caption]In May 2010, Dan blogged about his exhibition, Once Upon a Still Life , which had just opened at the Unique Gallery in Grande Prairie. A blog is one of those wonders of online communication; a collection of personal entries posted on a computer site for others to read and, when inspired, offer comment. Arberry wrote:“My first showing in approximately 5-6 years. In the beginning I didn’t know what to expect. I have been living in Grande Prairie under the rocks and in the shadows for all these years and was scared to see the reception that I would receive. Since last November, when I started producing again, I have slowly submerged myself into the Grande Prairie Art Scene. And some might laugh when I say “art scene”, but the truth is...there is. Perhaps it just isn’t getting the exposure that it deserves. But, I also think that this group of skilled and modest artists sit back and watch...”People agreed; the show was indeed a success. Arberry himself knew that his own online presence, along with a concerted effort to gather and forward timely announcements of his opening to as many Grande Prairie and Peace region residents as possible, was at least partly responsible for the large number of visitors that night. But he was also awed at the vitality of the crowd. People were hungry for art and eager for discourse. “So many elements of the night made it a success,” Arberry blogged. “The people. The laughs. The creative conversations. Emerging talent coming out. And the support that I felt throughout the evening.”Arberry continued to document his feelings and insights on his own webpage, but also made a serious effort to let others know of other upcoming art shows and events. His goal was to build as big and as visible an arts community as possible. He began, he explains, the process of “eating the elephant.”“It’s not something you can do all at once,’’ Arberry elaborates on the metaphor that aptly illustrates his long-term plan to effectively expand both attendance at the actual shows, and an ongoing, widespread discussion about exhibitions and art. “It requires little bites,” he adds, noting that anything large and lasting usually does.Early information regarding exhibitions had always appeared on the Art of the Peace website and in its newletters, but the society’s board members, including Arberry, were forever tackling the problem of less-than-optimal communication and participation of artists and art lovers throughout the region.[caption id="attachment_705" align="aligncenter" width="660" caption="Dan Arberry reviews the Prairie Ranger Photography exhibition, The Red Carpet"]http://www.artofthepeace.ca/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/Finding-Balance-Exhibition-by-Dan-Arberry-Fall-2010.jpg" alt="" width="660" height="304" /> [/caption]Arberry began gathering his own list of email addresses of anyone remotely linked to the arts in and around the Peace Region, and many from further afield. As months passed, he continued to announce, attend, and blog about exhibitions. He saw a marked increase in attendance. From 20 to 30 participants, exhibitions grew to 60 people or more on opening night. And these included a newer, younger crowd that arts groups had not reached in any sustainable manner before now.July’s official re-opening of Grande Prairie’s Centre for Creative Arts was a big success, with hundreds of all ages attending the all-day outdoor activities, entertainment and ribbon cutting, and indoor exhibitions, including a live (clothed) model drawing class. The fine summer weather and the opening coinciding with Grande Prairie’s annual Street Performers Festival may have helped matters, but the interest was strong.Another big surprise was the standing room only attendance at last September’s Wearable Art Show and exhibition at the Centre for Creative Arts. That entire Arts Days weekend, which featured a variety of activities throughout Alberta, was locally deemed a colossal success. The province-backed festival had funding for posters and ads, but lots of information circulated for free online. Alberta Culture and Community officials were thrilled at the public attendance and participation in and around Grande Prairie.Recent discussions with fellow Art of the Peace board members resulted in Arberry’s creation of a more general arts blog on both the magazine’s website, and its http://www.artofthepeace.ca/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/Finding-Balance-Exhibition-by-Dan-Arberry-Fall-2010.jpg" target="_blank"> Art of the Peace Facebook page , another online tool that allows for more visible and immediate interaction among followers.“I try to write about and go to as many exhibitions as possible. I also invite anyone out there to go, and to share their impressions. Some people are scared to walk into an art exhibition. It can be intimidating. I tell them I’ll go with them.”Small bites like these are how Arberry approaches the elephant-sized task of establishing a larger-than-ever-imagined arts scene in the Peace.Visit Art of the Peace’s online blog at http://www.artofthepeace.ca/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/Finding-Balance-Exhibition-by-Dan-Arberry-Fall-2010.jpg" artofthepeace.ca , and become a friend of http://www.artofthepeace.ca/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/Finding-Balance-Exhibition-by-Dan-Arberry-Fall-2010.jpg" target="_blank"> Art of the Peace on Facebook .
7 years ago