Students learn the craft of filmmaking at GSS

Sanne van der Ros’ Grade 9 class may be well on their way to a career in the exciting film industry after producing some of their own films.

Sanne van der Ros’ Grade 9 class may be well on their way to a career in the exciting film industry after producing some of their own films.

Perhaps somewhere within the bustling hallways of the Golden Secondary School (GSS) is the next great Hollywood director/producer. The reason for this is that, as of just recently, their eyes have been opened up to a whole new world, the wide world of film.

The idea of bringing film production to GSS came from the film savvy mind of local filmmaker, Simon D’Amours and his production company, World Wild Media.

“I came up with the idea of bringing film production to students due to the fact that I thoroughly enjoying working with both film and children. I also believe that children today own the media, so they must learn as much as they can about it. Children today can do whatever they want,” Filmmaker/Instructor, Simon D’Amours said.

With not only his experience in film and the media, Simon also brought with him his fluency in the French language. This was especially intriguing for the staff at GSS due to the fact that Simon could not only teach the students  the craft of filmmaking, but also do so entirely in French.

In fact 16 short films, ranging from one to five minutes in length, were produced in total, all of which were done so utilizing the student’s knowledge of the French language. Two separate classes participated in the program, one being a Grade 9 French as a second language class, the other a French Immersion class.

“I was very excited for the students to have this opportunity to work with Simon. Not only is the filmmaking a great new skill for them to be learning, it is also a great vehicle for learning French. Also, all of the students are already very much involved in technology, so filmmaking fits right into their learning of how to use technology in other ways. I think it will give them confidence to do anything they want in the future,” Grade 9 French Teacher, Sanne van der Ros said of the program her class was eagerly involved in.

Today’s technology is certainly mind-blowing, and it is also something that our youth are keen on both learning and working with. So, when Simon presented each small group of students with their own I-Pod or I-Phone, they relished in the idea.

“I had 10 I-Pods/I-Phones that I distributed to each small group of students. That is what they made their entire films on. They shoot with the phones, edited on the phones, and saved all their work on the devices. They are amazing, multi-purpose devices. And the students knew exactly how they worked,” D’Amours explained.

Of the 16 total films produced, the ideas and creative styles for each project were individual to each group. The films ranged from topics revolving around cooking, basketball, everyday life for a student, a mock Aspirin commercial, and many more extremely creative ideas; the creativeness of the kids bubbled off the projection screen like a shaken can of soda.

At the end of the project, the students agreedwith their teacher and filmmaking mentor that it was a great learning experience. It is the type of experience that one day may decide a future career path for these young filmmakers.

“Simon was great! He is a nice guy and is really funny. We couldn’t have done it without him,” one potential future film director said.

“It is way different than most classes we have. It was an awesome way to learn how to make movies and learn French at the same time,” another student excitedly explained.

With the Golden Film Festival right around the corner (March 19th at the Golden Rec Plex), D’Amours’ plan is to enter six of the films into the “under 19” category of the festival. And who knows what can come of that for these young film producers?

To hear how the students felt about the filmmaking project, check out student interviews on Simon’s website at: