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SASKATOONEXPRESS - March 3-9, 2014 - Page 3



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Filmmakers

Terava Groff and Ben Abel-Smith work with teacher Joel Dietrich on the sound stage (Photo by Sandy Hutchinson)

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Evan Hardy’s Media School one of a kind

askatoon’s Evan Hardy their own festival near the end Collegiate is home to a of each semester. unique program. Media The program’s founder and School is designed to provide still a supporter, Ron Berntson, practical training and expericame up with the idea and introence for aspiring filmmakers. duced the first sessions in 2006. “There’s nothing like it in “Ron wanted to introduce Hollywood or New York,” passionate youth of the Saskasaid Joel Dietrich, the school’s toon Public School Division instructor. “We are a one-of-ato film and television. And he kind class in North America.” wanted to inspire them to do Twenty-four students, all their storytelling through video in Grade 11 and representing production. He is now retired, People many schools in Saskatoon, but he has left us with someparticipate each semester. thing on which we can build. They get a solid grounding in producing, We want to do justice to his models and directing, writing, cinematography, audio goals,” said Dietrich. engineering, lighting, art direction and It was easy for Dietrich to get caught editing. They work with semi-professional up in the program. to professional equipment. They have the “I’m a practical and applied arts use of a dedicated media studio and access teacher, with a minor in physics. While I to industry-standard software. was at the University of Saskatchewan, As the course unfolds, students make Twyn Armstrong suggested I take a media productions which are submitted to conclass. I enrolled in a class taught by Jay tests, festivals, television networks and Wilson. It was fun, it was fluid, just to get student broadcast outlets, culminating with my hands on a camera was exciting. And

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that was the beginning of my interest. I was addicted,” he said. “In the second year of my internship, I knew Ron’s program was out there. The two of us were able to develop the course in 2007. We were like a film company, working on a budget from nothing to low, but we learned how to take advantage of the resources. We didn’t have much in lighting and sound. Eventually the students and I built the studio space.” Dietrich taught one year at Centennial Collegiate. When Berntson retired, he appreciated the division’s generous decision to invite him back to Evan Hardy. He has been the steadying influence in the program since September 2009. He is now assisted by Mitch Lysak, whose work comes through the integration of media and English curriculums. “Since joining the program full time, I wanted to see how much we could expand, how we could get better equipment and facilities and be more efficient in everything we managed. And as we advanced, I think we’ve improved our storytelling dramatically.”

For students, the educational rewards are five credits (which are either compulsory credits or full graduation equivalents), plus two Grade 12 credit options. “Media School uses scriptwriting as English expression. Or sound-source recording as a practical physics application. Or the film analysis as an assessment for learning the storytelling craft and the physical methods of creation,” Dietrich said. The students learn to make quality productions. Previous classes have been honoured nationally for their work in Youth Privacy, Eco Canada and MADD Canada contests. A most recent accomplishment has been a film, Diagnosed, which tells the story of a girl diagnosed with breast cancer and the challenges of going through her five acceptance levels. The film won three awards at the Living Skies Student Film Festival, organized by the University of Regina. It was in competition against entries from the university students. (Continued on page 5)

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Saskatoon Express, March 3, 2014  
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