Leading international filmmakers will serve as multicultural mentors for UBC film students thanks to a $1 million donation from Canadian communications and media company Rogers Communications. The gift is a highlight of the UBC Film Production Program’s 40th anniversary events being held May 5-8.
The new UBC Rogers Communications Multicultural Film Production Project will bring one globally recognized filmmaker to UBC annually as the Phil Lind Multicultural Artist in Residence – named after UBC alumnus Philip B. Lind, Vice Chairman of Rogers Communications.
The Artist in Residence will work with students in the program as well as with students wanting to learn more about filmmaking in other UBC programs. The gift also creates an annual public research forum on multiculturalism and diversity in film.
“Creative leaders in today’s film industry need a strong understanding of diverse perspectives, cultures and techniques – and that’s what this generous gift will support,” says Prof. Sharon McGowan, chair of UBC’s Film Production Program, noting that the inaugural residency begins in January 2011 and will be announced in the fall of 2010.
The donation comes as UBC’s Film Production Program and its 350 alumni celebrate the program’s 40th anniversary with The Big Picture, a four-day series of events that includes public film screening series, a gala celebration, the production of a historical documentary on the program and the launch of a new annual scholarship fund for undergraduate students.
From May 5-7, Pacific Cinémathèque will run award-winning films by graduates including Mina Shum’s “Double Happiness,” Gwen Haworth’s “She’s A Boy I Knew” and Bruce Sweeney’s “Betty and Vera Go Lawn Bowling.” Filmmakers will be present to discuss their work and achievements with film historian and critic David Spaner, curator of the seven-film series.
The Big Picture will culminate with a May 8 gala, attended by a number of award-winning alumni including Shum, Sweeney, writer/director Lynne Stopkewich (Kissed), Genie Award-winning cinematographer Gregory Middleton (Passchendaele), Brightlight Pictures producer Stephen Hegyes, Paperny Films partner Cal Shumiatcher, Larry Kent, John Pozer, Dylan Akio Smith and Karethe Linaae. The event will feature red carpet student-paparazzi, an editing competition between digital and 16-millimetre technology, screenings of student films past and present, live music and DJs.
“The Big Picture brings together the very best that UBC Film has to offer, with hundreds of alumni, students and industry partners celebrating one of the most important film programs in Canada,” says Film Production Alumni Association (FPPA) President Sidney Chiu. “The FPAA will continue to support the program and its bright future as long as we can.”
Proceeds from the gala will go towards the creation of a new $30,000 Film Production Scholarship Endowment Fund, which will be awarded annually to an undergraduate student entering their final year of film production study at UBC.
The documentary film component of The Big Picture highlights the history of the UBC Film Program. A preliminary version of the film will be screened at the gala, where additional filming will take place.
For more information, visit www.ubcfilmalumni.org.
Background on the UBC Film Production Program:
The UBC Film Production Program began in 1969 with a handful of film workshops offered to students from the Department of Theatre at UBC. From these workshops grew today’s renowned program which has more than 350 alumni, many of whom are leaders in Canada’s film and television industries.
The program has launched the careers of successful alumni who have received numerous awards for their work including Oscar and BAFTA nominated editor Julian Clarke (District 9). Alumni have screened their work at film festivals around the world including Cannes, Berlinale, SXSW, Sundance, Toronto, IDFA and Hot Docs.
2006 marked a turning point in the history of the UBC Film Production Program, arguably one of the most successful programs in Canada. Lacking funds and champions, in July 2006 admission to the Program was suspended indefinitely. Under the leadership of a group of recent graduates, alumni and students rallied and together they revived and revitalized the program. The UBC Film Production Alumni Association was created and has been working to create events, mentorship opportunities and strong alumni involvement in the program.
Achievements of the program since then include:
- A new building to house the program – renovated and spacious
- A revised and revitalized BFA, Diploma and MFA curriculum
- Expansion of the BFA/Diploma Program from two years to three years
- Expansion of the BFA/Diploma student body from 30 to 60
- A new Faculty position specializing in the area of fiction directing
- Professional mentorship program through the UBC Film Production Alumni Association
- Professional internships for students with the Vancouver film and television industry
- Additional equipment and services from the local film industry
- An educational partnership with Emily Carr University
The program now serves more than 70 students and offers both undergraduate and graduate degrees.