Award winners (left to right) Julia Bicknell

Award winners (left to right) Julia Bicknell

‘Cool experience’ leads to award for local youth

Four White Rock Elementary fine arts program alumni have a renewed interest in filmmaking, thanks to an unexpected honour they received last month.

Taylor Snider, Ashley Elliot-Orsetti, Julia Bicknell, and Liam Johnson won the award for Outstanding Achievement in Early Teen Filmmaking at the 16th EyeLens Film, Video and Animation Festival, presented by the Gulf Islands Film and Television School May 14 at Vancouver’s Rio Theatre.

The four – now students at Earl Marriott Secondary – were recognized for the short comedy video, Rob Or Be Robbed, which they co-wrote, produced and directed a year ago during a special media-intensive program for Grade 7 students of former fine arts teacher Catherine Hanna held at the Galiano Island-based film school.

The video, one of 129 entered into this year’s festival, is viewable on YouTube, where it was recently uploaded with all 2,100 videos produced at the school over its 16-year history.

Clocking in at almost six minutes, it’s a slickly-paced dark comedy about a constantly-bickering couple with financial problems who resort to robbery of a local store to pay their bills.

One of the more absurd touches concocted by the students is the couple’s mode of communication during the robbery. Presumably unable to afford walkie-talkies, they fall back on the time-honoured – but scarcely unnoticeable – device of a string stretched between two tin cans to carry their voices.

While the students said they were surprised at Rob Or Be Robbed being chosen top video in its category – particularly after a Grade 8 year in which they haven’t had time to give it much thought – the win brought back memories of an intense six days of planning, shooting and editing on Galiano Island.

“It was a really cool experience,” Snider said.

All four were used to team work as students and as cast members of Hanna’s notable production of The King and I, they said.

“Because of that experience we related to filmmaking,” said Elliot-Orsetti.

But all four said they were more interested in working behind the camera than appearing in their video.

“We could choose who we wanted as actors from the different groups of students, but we chose our group leaders,” Snider said.

“They were all working at the school as interns,” Elliot-Orsetti added.

Various necessary elements, including one of the school’s teacher’s cars, the school principal’s home, the cafeteria and an island store were pressed into service for the shoot.

They credit Hanna with a piece of advice that helped everything go more smoothly – pre-scripting and storyboarding the video.

“We planned it all before we went there,” said Johnson, who noted that each of them got a chance to direct, operate the camera and do other production chores.

“We all got different jobs and switched them off,” he said.

Even so, the students learned they had affinities for specific parts of the process.

“I really liked filming and directing, putting our touch on what the actors were doing – and they were really easy to work with,” said Snider. Elliot-Orsetti said she liked using the camera best – “You see what you’re getting on screen.”

“My favourite was editing,” said Bicknell.

“I liked using all the technology on the computer for taking clips from different scenes. We had lots of takes for some scenes, and mixed them up a lot, but we had at least two takes of each scene to work with.”

Johnson said he liked something about every part of filmmaking – and would be keen to do more, if there were more opportunities at EMS (currently there is only a camera club at the school, he said). The four also said they would welcome the chance to collaborate on a video again.

“We all had different opinions at some point but we found ways to make it work,” Bicknell said.

“All the ideas came together – we didn’t have any problems.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

An Amica White Rock resident receives the COVID-19 vaccine during a Jan. 15, 2021 clinic. (Tracy Holmes photo)
PHOTOS: South Surrey seniors grateful for ‘freedom’ of COVID-19 vaccine

Vaccination clinics at Fraser Health long-term and assisted-living sites were to wrap up Jan. 15

Surrey Council Chambers. (File photo)
Surrey city councillors complain not enough public input in committees

City has gone ‘exactly the opposite direction,’ Councillor Brenda Locke charges

A Transit Police officer and another driver were injured on Nov. 4 in a traffic crash while the officer was responding to another officers call for help catching a man who escaped custody. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
Police watchdog investigating Surrey crash that injured transit cop, another driver

Crash happened 11 p.m. Nov. 4, at 128th Street and 93rd Avenue in Cedar Hills

Friends and family of murder victim Paul Prestbakmo wore memorial masks outside Surrey Provincial Court Jan. 14, 2021. (From left) Family friend Tyler Whitley, sister Angela Prestbakmo, childhood friend Jimmy Slater, brother Steve Prestbakmo, Semiahmoo First Nation councillor Roxanne Charles and sister Liz Prestbakmo. (Tracy Holmes photo)
Two accused in 2019 South Surrey murder were ‘really angry,’ pacing at party: witness

‘We had this really strong gut feeling that something was really wrong’

Semiahmoo Rock
Record-setting 10 Semiahmoo Rock players selected in B.C. junior lacrosse draft

Kaleb Borg is the highest Rock player selected, going in the second round to the Coquitlam Adanacs

Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the press theatre at the B.C. legislature for an update on COVID-19, Jan. 7, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 spread steady with 509 new cases Friday

Hospitalized and critical care cases decline, nine deaths

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials say country will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon shared a handwritten note his son received on Jan. 13, 2021. (Ravi Kahlon/Twitter)
Proud dad moment: B.C. minister’s son, 10, receives handwritten note for act of kindness

North Delta MLA took to Twitter to share a letter his son received from a new kid at school

Lilly and Poppy, two cats owned by Kalmar Cat Hotel ownder Donna Goodenough, both have cerebellAr hypoplasia, a genetic neurological condition that affects their ability to control their muscles and bones. Photo by Alistair Taylor – Campbell River Mirror
VIDEO: Wobbly Cats a riot of flailing legs and paws but bundles of love and joy to their owner

Woman urges others to not fear adopting cats with disabilities

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada’s top doctor says to avoid non-essential travel as B.C. explores legal options

Premier John Horgan says he is seeking legal advice on whether it can limit interprovincial travel

Martin Luther King Jr. addresses the crowd during the march on Washington, D.C., in August of 1963. Courtesy photo
Government reinforces importance of anti-racism act on Black Shirt Day

B.C. Ministers say education “a powerful tool” in the fight for equity and equality

Most Read