The Best Contest Ever!
I enter myself and my kids into so many contests hoping that we will WIN…but alas, we never do. Until last summer that is! I had been reading through Island Parent Magazine looking for summer camp ideas for our 3 kids and happened across an ad for Gulf Islands Film & Television School. This ad caught my eye for two reasons: 1. my eldest son Nolan is planning to pursue a career in the arts and has a particular interest in film and 2. I love me a Contest! The ad outlined a contest whereby the winner would be given a scholarship to attend a week-long film class in the summer.
Well, this was perfect! I sharpened my pencil (figuratively speaking) and got the application/contest entry in as soon as I possibly could. Now I love entering contests and each time I do, I genuinely believe I am going to win, (which I never do) so when I don’t win I am genuinely surprised and disappointed.
But this time I did win! The victory dance was good enough to give my poor kids nightmares for weeks;-)
We received notification that Nolan had been awarded a partial scholarship to attend a summer course with G.I.F.T.S. and he was thrilled. Terrified but thrilled. He was nervous about not being good enough, about how the instructors might take one look at him and suggest he go into accounting instead of acting, etc. But, from the moment he won the scholarship, the school was incredibly helpful and supportive. They answered our questions, addressed our concerns, helped us sort through which class was best, helped us figure out the rest of the costs involved and generally made us feel good about sending our 15 year old son away for a week. Top notch client service.
Once there, as Nolan told us afterward, the experience was incredible from the get-go. Nolan was given hands on experience in film production, (both on and off-screen) he was encouraged to take risks while being acknowledged for his ideas and input. The level of professionalism was astounding (his words). Nolan was impressed with how far across the country people had come in order to take these courses and this really opened his eyes in terms of realizing what incredible talent we have right here in BC.
Nolan had so many positive things to say about his experience; everything from the location (beautiful) the food (perfect and lots of it) the other students (inspiring and fun) to the instructors (incredible). His plan is to return to G.I.F.T.S this summer and take more courses.
For our family G.I.F.T.S. truly was a gift. I am SO glad I had my copy of Island Parent that day and am so grateful that we finally won a contest. We highly recommend the Gulf Island Film & Television School to anyone; it truly is an incredible program run by outstanding professionals.
My son was one of the lucky recipients of the runner up prize for The Gulf Island Film School contest through Island Magazine last summer (2012), I had never heard of the school until a teacher at his school told him about the contest. He came home that afternoon he was very excited to tell me about this school and the contest that was running. He had never been away from home over night for camp before and he was nervous to be away for a week. I asked him if he really wanted to go and he responded “If I win then I will go because I think that the experience will be worth it”. So I entered him in the contest and a couple weeks later G.I.F.T.S contacted us because he had won the runner up prize. All he talked about was the camp leading up to the departure date, he was so thrilled because he makes and edits short films as a hobby.
The day finally arrive to leave for the camp, as we headed to the ferries, you could see both the excitement and the anxiety he was feeling. Once he arrived and settled in, he forgot all about the nerves, there was plenty of children his age and the equipment he was going to be using was on a scale he had never experienced before. Over the course of the week he immersed himself in; script writing, acting, directing, scouting locations and editing the film with his team members. He had so much fun he forgot that he missed us! It wasn’t just making the movie that he loved, it was the team work, the mentors he had and the friendships he made while he was there. He raved about the school for months afterwards! In fact he still talks about it and he has already asked if he can go back this summer. He is even considering going for two weeks instead of one this time! As a parent I am so thrilled that he had such a positive experience because those are the memories that he will treasure forever.
At the film screening I was blown away with films that the kids made, there was a lot of talent in that room and it wouldn’t surprise me if some of the kids go onto to make an award winning film career for themselves. I am looking forward to the 2013 film screening because I know that it will be amazing!
GIFTS!!! Great acronym for a fantastic place! I experienced GIFTS magic with my 12 year old son and 15 other students for a French Immersion film making camp in May of 2012.
First off, the staff are amazing. George and Karen are friendly, hardworking and accommodating. There were difficulties posed by the school strike but GIFTS did much more than bend over backwards for us, they did backflips to ensure that we could overcome our problems and get there. I am very grateful! The young men that worked with the kids on the scripts, casting, filming, etc. were patient, fun, knowledgeable and very nice. The night nanny/assistant not only watched over the kids, but offered creative activities for them in the evenings when the work was done for the day. He was a lot of fun!
The island location is lovely! The camp setup is ideal and the staff was great about getting the kids to appropriate locations and guiding their scriptwriting with the surrounding area in mind. I loved the café-style kitchen/eating area and the large deck between the boys and girls rooms. There is a lovely beach a short walk away as well. It is a quiet spot with lots of cool bird life and serene wooded areas. We enjoyed our time there!
Tim cooked for us and the meals were great! It was a nice balance between healthy meals and nice treats! He is very calm and organized. We felt well fed and nurtured under his care. I liked that the kids were expected to help with dishes and cleanup. These are important opportunities for our kids to understand the importance of contributing to a community.
I think what I liked best about our week was the way the groups end up intermingling. The kids were asked what movie genre they were most interested in doing and then were grouped accordingly. It is a very creative process but also involves a lot of technical know-how as well. The kids work on their script and movie and editing in a group, but then are cast in the other group productions. The costume/prop selections are a great mingling process and then just the day to day meals, trips to filming locations and other interaction occur with the whole group. I sat in on some of the film viewing they did of portions of popular movies that illustrated the creative process details they were teaching and I won’t look at movies the same way as I did before.
In our case the French Immersion aspect was great! There were times when covering important safety or proper handling of the cameras they covered things in English – this was not a problem. By the end the kids had written, discussed, read and memorized, acted, edited and generally interacted in French. It was a great way to cover the language from many angles.
On the Ferry on the way home the kids were discussing how much they wanted to return soon to GIFTS and I am sure they are all recommending the program to friends. The excitement continued when the movie discs were viewed. Their creations were very entertaining and interesting. They were proud of the end product!
Thanks GIFTS for a truly memorable experience and the new skills these students came away with.
Jessie Lee Elementary School, Surrey BC
June 24, 2010
To Whom It May Concern:
I am pleased to write a letter of recognition for the film program on Galiano Island. I had the opportunity to bring my grade 7 Fine Arts class to an Intensive Media course for 6 days in May. I had researched ideas for a unique experience for my students for their graduating year. After hearing wonderful feedback about the GIFTS program I made contact with George, the director of the GIFTS program. From our first exchange I was impressed with his commitment to provide a rich and authentic filming experience for my students. They supplied a very detailed agenda for our planned camping experience, which included a full day workshop led by a professional scriptwriter in our school prior to our departure. My students left to Galiano with scripts in hand. Each day was filled with workshops, activities and guided instruction.
Our entire stay at GIFTS was beautifully executed. The mentors who worked with the students were outstanding. My students developed meaningful relationships with each mentor who was able to share incredible knowledge of how to develop, film and edit films with my students. They were very capable with handling a variety of students’ needs, showing each one, attention, humour, and compassion while encouraging every student to attain success.
My students now speak of viewing film with a critical eye. They are interesting in exploring their developing skills as film makers and a number of students plan to return to GIFTS for the summer program.
As an educator I was highly impressed with the structure to their program and their expertise. This was truly a life changing experience for my students. Each reported incredibly positive feedback of their film making adventure. The setting is lovely, the food is incredible and the program allows each student to be part of all aspects of creating their film. We held a highly successful film viewing night for families and friend upon our return to White Rock. I certainly would return to GIFTS with another group of students and would highly recommend this program to other educators.
Grade 7 Teacher
White Rock Elementary School
August 25th, 2010
Re: White Rock Elementary Trip to G.I.F.T.S.
I am writing to thank you for the wonderful experience we all had in May 2010 when we brought the grade 7 Fine Arts class from White Rock Elementary to your facility. The childrenÂ have all returned home with wonderful memories of their time on Galiano and stories that they will be sharing with friends for years.
At the end of the school year I asked the students to write down what their most memorable experiences were during their 7 years at White Rock Elementary and over a third of the classÂ listed the trip to G.I.F.T.S. as one of their favourites. As a chaperone for the trip I found everything to be well organized and very comfortable in a rustic way. Having 4 chaperones with our group made everything easy for us and given the level of enthusiasm of our students, this was a good balance. I knew in advance the sleeping arrangements and what facilities were available and we came prepared to rough it a bit, but everything went so smoothly, the food was superb, and the staff so amazing, that the whole experience was memorable for all the right reasons.
I would recommend a trip to G.I.F.T.S. for any school class like ours. It was an experience that I, and the students, will treasure for the rest of our lives.
My Experience at Gifts
By Isaac Giuricich
In grade 7 our class went to The Gulf Islands Film and Television School. When we got there we were all so impressed with the school. We had the best time on a field trip ever! The food is really excellent, and the people are very nice and helpful. We learned how to write a script, use the cameras with sound and lighting, and how to edit our films and they turned out great. We had such an awesome experience at GIFTS that I decided to go back a second time to take another course. I loved it so much that I interned there, It has completely changed my life. The Gulf Islands Film and Television School is the place to be!