Powell River Digital Film School students win significant award

Emergency Brake, an animated short on climate change, is making waves

An animated film on global climate change produced by Powell River Digital Film School has taken a prestigious award at a film festival in Seattle.

At the Tuesday, November 5, City of Powell River committee of the whole meeting, film school instructor Tony Papa appeared as a delegation, along with some of the students who were involved in the production of the film, to outline the four-minute short film called Emergency Brake.

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“We had a very exciting year and that’s why we’re here,” said Papa. “Every year we do a five-month program and at the end, and the middle and the beginning, there are films that are done.”

In one of the sectors of the film school, students learn animation, and this year, Emergency Brake, which was produced by the students, is making “incredible waves across the country,” said Papa.

The film has gone to 12 film festivals. Papa said Emergency Brake was reviewed by Kids First, which is a prominent organization.

Papa read a review of the film that stated: “Oh, my! Best video submission by students. Beautifully executed. Brilliant narration by Greta Thunberg. This should be seen by every school child in the world, as well as by our leaders in politics, education and spirituality. Thank you for your extraordinary work. Highly recommended for ages three to 18, plus adults. Five out of five stars.”

Papa said that was the first thing he came across in terms of feedback on Emergency Brake. The second was from a highly regarded festival in Seattle he has wanted to attend for years, called the National Film Festival for Talented Youth.

The students were nominated in the animated film category and Papa was able to attend the awards ceremony, “hoping for the best.”

Brooks students won the jury award for best animation. Papa said the festival is worldwide and there are thousands of entries.

“It was really an honour to win that award,” said Papa.

He said when these films are being screened at the festival, they are viewed by a number of different organizations. One of them was an online magazine called NowThis, which is a progressive, social media-focused and youth-oriented news organization. It is the number-one video news brand in social media today, according to Papa and has a global viewership of more than 20 million subscribers.

“They chose to pick up this film and distribute it to more than 20 million people on their channel,” said Papa. “It was quite an accomplishment by this group for their work to be picked up and now reside on this popular news organization.”

Papa then screened the film for those in attendance.

After the screening, he said the production of an animated film takes tenacity and the students were reaping the award of that.

Councillor Jim Palm asked about how the students were able to get the narration from climate activist Greta Thunberg. Papa said the speech was taken from the internet and edited for length and pace for the film.

Palm, a teacher a Brooks, said he was very proud of the students’ accomplishments and what they had been able to capture the world’s attention with.

“It’s very timely; it’s very well done,” added Palm. “It’s a good wake-up call and we hear your generation speaking very loud and clear.”

Committee chair George Doubt said he was incredibly impressed with the work that has been done.

“You hear a lot about what are the youth doing today and what is happening with the education system,” added Doubt. “To see a product like this come out of Powell River, the young people of our community, is impressive and inspiring.”

Copyright © Powell River Peak


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