UWinnipeg success stories – spotlight on Film Studies

UWinnipeg success stories – spotlight on Film Studies

shelagh carter

shelagh carter

Professor Shelagh Carter – International exposure

Professor Shelagh Carter is in Dhaka, Bangladesh where her newest film, Is It My Turn, will be screened at the request of Canada’s High Commission.  The experimental dance film was shot inside the Asper Centre for Theatre and Film with UWinnipeg film students handling everything from shooting, camera angles, lighting, sound and post-production. The film, based on the writings of Deborah Schnitzer inspired by Gertrude Stein, screened in competition this past summer in Valencia, Spain where it received a Special Mention and has been an Official Selection and award-winner in numerous film festivals in the U.S., Canada, India and Southeast Asia.

“The digital age has changed everything, with more entrepreneurial film festivals emerging and films crossing borders as never before,” says Carter. “UWinnipeg film students really get a taste of reality, and are as best-prepared as possible to go out there and tell their stories.”

Carter’s first feature film, Passionflower, (released in 2011), boasts an all Manitoba cast and crew and was purchased by Air Canada. It has gone into international distribution, and is now available on iTunes.

John MacDonald

John MacDonald

 John MacDonald – the young Jesse James

John MacDonald is living his dream. The 4th year Honours student is taking a break from studying because he landed a major acting role as a young Jesse James in the Pinkertons, a 22-episode syndicated TV series about the legendary detective agency set in the 1860s Wild West. The series is shot in and around Winnipeg and airs across the U.S.

“It is really unbelievable to me that the planets aligned and I have this role,” says 21-year old John, who took an entrepreneurial approach to chase his dream.  He looked up all the casting directors in Winnipeg and walked around the Exchange District asking if he could get his foot in the door. “A casting director, Carmen Kotyk, allowed me to audition, and I got the part.” John says that when he was a kid, every Friday was pizza and movie night. “This is really always what I wanted to do, act in movies.”

SonyaBallantyne

SonyaBallantyne

Sonya Ballantyne – promising filmmaker

Growing up on reserve in the Grand Rapids First Nation, the only movies Sonya saw were on VHS. The first big screen movie she ever experienced was the Flintstones, at the Gimli Theatre, when she was 10 years old.  Fast forward to 2014, and Sonya is on stage in the same Gimli Theatre receiving the RBC Emerging Filmmaker award at the Gimli Film Festival for her film Crash Site.  She received $10,000 to make her film, which is about an Aboriginal girl who meets a superhero, plus a mentorship with the National Screen Institute.

Sonya graduated from UWinnipeg with a Bachelor of Arts in film in June 2014. “I am really interested in making films with unique stories about women, and Aboriginal people and people of colour.” She is also learning how to be a producer and one day, would love to be a director. “Something big budget,” she says, “like a zombie movie set in Winnipeg!”

She is using her RBC award to create an animation sequence in Crash Site, in collaboration with an artist friend in Montreal.

Film Studies thriving

Studying film is popular at UWinnipeg because the program is practical and is taught by active filmmakers and industry professionals. UWinnipeg now has 13 courses dedicated to various aspects of filmmaking, and a number of theatre courses applicable to filmmakers, such as lighting design. Today about 200 students are registered with seven professors teaching on a full or part-time basis, making it the largest practical university filmmaking program in Manitoba.

The renovated Asper Centre for Theatre and Film, located in the heart of downtown between Colony and Balmoral, has a dedicated film studio and two editing labs. We are fully equipped and use all digital cameras and industry standard software for post-production. Every April, UWinnipeg mounts a juried student film festival which attracts entries from across the country and beyond. Industry professionals review the entrants and honour student filmmakers with awards in up to 11 different categories. UWinnipeg film graduates are working in every aspect of the filmmaking world from making independent movies and editing films for established directors, to working on documentaries, music videos, and TV series across North America. They have exhibited in prestigious film festivals such at Cannes and the Toronto International Film Festivals and a number have won awards and grants.

Find out more about UWinnipeg’s film studies program.

Spotlight On is a regular feature highlighting UWinnipeg’s academic departments. You can read more by following this link.

 

 

 

 

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