A dozen Surrey students had to make a one-minute film from start to finish in a new summer school course created through a partnership between the Surrey School District and Simon Fraser University.
The four-week film program had students from Kwantlen Park Secondary, going into grades 10 through 12 this September, working at both the high school and SFU Surrey for the collaborative summer school course.
Neder Dhillon, Surrey Schools acting assistant superintendent, said the district and SFU had been talking about hosting a joint workshop through the university’s Faculty of Communication, Art and Technology for about a year and a half before the course was decided on.
“We talked about how neat it would be to offer a summer learning opportunity between the district and SFU — FCAT, specifically — where this came from was in our conversations we talked about the number of students in Surrey who look to summer learning as a real possibility to extend their learning throughout the summer, to try something different that will give them a really positive learning experience,” said Dhillon.
Through the discussions, Dhillon said Kwantlen Park was the first choice because it’s located so close to SFU. Then the district, Dhillon said, reached out to the high school’s principal who suggested electronics teacher Adam Drake to run the pilot course.
Drake said there was a “huge amount of drive” from the students.
“Because this is summer school, and because it’s not remedial summer school, every kid here is a volunteer. They all want to do this. They’re not coming back because they failed it,” he said.
Drake said the course was open to anyone.
“Basically, there was no technical requirement. They didn’t have to prove anything, other than an interest and willingness to give up their July to go to summer school,” he said.
Working with a teaching assistant from SFU, Drake said he spent the first week going over how to use the movie-making program, how to create storyboards, how to design shots and use the equipment. Then, Drake said, he gave the students a challenge of creating a one-minute movie from start to finish.
“We got them all up to the point where we think they could make a movie,” he said. “They’ve got to do the whole thing. They’ve got to script it, storyboard it, they’ve got to recruit their actors, they’ve got to prepare their props and they’ve got to scout out their locations.
“But as you can imagine, one minute is actually a real challenge. It’s really hard work because you’ve got to condense. You’ve got to tell your story in exactly 60 seconds.”
A group of @EcoleKwantlen students is screening the short films 📽️ they made during a first-ever summer school program at @sfusurrey: https://t.co/pruWFDgvVt Screening is this Friday (July 26, 10am) & is FREE! #sd36learn #SurreyBC @SD36Summer pic.twitter.com/JW7OqWIGp0
— Surrey Schools (@Surrey_Schools) July 25, 2019
At the end of the four-week course, the students presented their films in a showcase to district staff, families and SFU faculty.
Drake said he also created “little Oscars” for the students, in award categories such as best film and best director.
Dhillon, who attended the showcase, said it was “powerful” to see the one-minute films.
“It’s so powerful through short one-minute films or videos to see the skills students developed and then see what they’re able to create through those skills.”
Asked if the district is thinking of offering the program again, Dhillon said, “This has been such a positive experience all around that I think were all excitedly talking about possibilities moving forward.”