A selection from our huge collection of quotable quotes about GIFTS…
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.
“Your program did wonders for my kid, and I cannot congratulate you enough. We just wanted to thank you for the Computer Animation camp. Francois really had a good time there. He just came back yesterday and I hardly remember seeing him so happy and excited! He is learning some great tools for his future. But mostly he is learning how, if he works hard to develop his talents, important it will be for him to prepare for this profession. How work can almost become a game, and be very successful at it. How valuable his skill can become”
“We are very grateful to you for first of all, coming to his school to introduce GIFTS and the RoadSense Program and secondly, for you and the staff for giving him a fabulous experience at the school. We came to the screening on the last day and we were very impressed with the program and the work the kids had produced. All of the kids were pumped to say the least and Christopher told us it was a life changing experience for him.”
“GIFTS was an amazing experience which I know I will never forget. I am determined to come back next year if not this year. *smile* (I’ll WALK from Winnipeg if I have to and swim if I miss the ferry) ”
“Well, my year is finally slowing down… only one shoot left. This year has really been important for me… I have now established myself as a focus puller in the indie world. Anyway, I wanted to thank you for being the inspiration for my career. I love my job and my passion for the industry started with your program. I’m always happy to get news that GIFTS is doing so well.”
“You have the best “Film & Television” school there is and all my friends know what a great place it is.”
“Ryan’s first words when he arrived home were ‘I’m going back next year.’”
“Dear George, Thank you so much for what has turned out to be one of the most course altering, character strengthening experiences I have had. The process, while infuriating, proved to be intoxicating and I have already started writing my next project!
“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, 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!”
“You’ve probably heard this a lot, but I can’t stop talking about how much fun I had at G.I.F.T.S.! Everyone else feels that way, as well! Give a good “WAZZUP” to all the mentors, there, for me! Thank you again for such a wonderful experience!”
“Dear GIFTS, thank you all for the amazing week at your school. I have never had so much fun, or met so many interesting people. I’d like to thank Kenna for being patient with me and teaching me so much. I’d like to thank George for helping us find our way to Galiano when we missed the ferry (I’d probably still be in the terminal if it wasn’t for you). I’d also like to thank everyone else who helped make our PSA; Fiona, Adam, Terra, Jeoff… the list goes on. I have to say I’m finding it hard to adjust to being back at home. I’m GIFTS sick!”
“To Staff at GIFTS
Hi there! This is Olga who was a winner of the RSVP contest and spent a week at GIFTS. Well, thank you very much for everything! I had a great time at GIFTS and I met some very nice people. I really enjoyed working on road safety PSA’s and I’m very grateful for this opportunity to make a positive difference.
Thank you for sending me the tape with all the videos produced during the week. My parents were very proud of my work and I’m happy I ever did it! I also received a copy of the documentary and it is AWESOME! It will keep my memories of GIFTS alive for a very long time.
And now the good news! When I went to GIFTS I learned a lot and this was an asset when I applied for the Television Production program at BCIT. And guess what? I’m accepted!!! I’m so happy, I still can’t believe this happened! I got accepted on my first try & straight out of high school! So now I’m looking forward to more opportunities to create road safety PSA’s at BCIT.
Anyway, thank you so much for everything and I wish you all the best”
“The intensity of the week is the perfect tool for unleashing the passion and the creativity of many diverse individuals.”
“This week was so amazing that I am writing you this letter to congratulate you on providing a program that is so conducive to learning and creating. I cannot think of a more perfect location. The staff were wonderful and I found as many friends amongst them as amongst the students. Thank you, thank you.”
-Caitlin Padgett, documentary, Rethinking
“Dear George, marcus, Mentors, and everyone involved in and responsible for G.I.F.T.S.
Yesterday I attended the screening of the films made by the young people camping out with you this week. My son, Jesse Thompson was there for the second year. The screening was late, it was hot. Technical glitches etc. Itâ€™s cool with everyone. Something about being on the island I guess.
I want to let you know how impressed I am with the extraordinary work that goes on there. To find talented teachers and mentors who seem to be as charged and thrilled by facilitating creative [camaraderie] and who can also enable a bunch of young people to produce a hard copy of their work in such a short time is not quite believable.
That it happens deep in the woods on a small island in what appears to be a collection of abandoned trailers, shacks and rustic wooden buildings stretches the imagination even further. I’m not sure what other film schools look like but not much like this I think.
I just can’t figure out how you guys get to the finished product from the idea. But that is what makes your school remarkable. Somewhere behind all the technology you have figured out how to access the potential of the students, you’ve figured out how to get at their energy, their vision, their ability to work physically harder than either they or their parents thought possible. And you’ve figured out how to do it quickly!
You all deserve tons of praise and material rewards if that’s what you desire, but you are surely rich in karma points for what you’ve built there.
I know we pay for our children to go to G.I.F.T.S., but what they get out of going there is priceless.
Yours in much appreciation”
P.S. I was absolutely blown away by Head Smadge! What an amazing collaboration! It’s changed my thinking about computers and art not being compatible.
“And what is it with you Canadians, anyway? Is there something in your water supply that makes you such good filmmakers?”
-Jury Selection Committee, Sacramento Festival of Cinema (Youth Jury) after awarding top marks to all four of our entries.
“When we got home, we raved about GIFTS for weeks! Ms. Korman told us to try not to talk about it too much, as we might make the people who didn’t go feel bad.
Alex keeps saying GIFTS was awesome wasn’t? And I keep telling her Yes Alex, I’ve heard about 100 times already!
-Video Legacy Project Queen of Angels
“I found the workshops very clear and interesting. I always walk away feeling like I have wrapped my mind around a new tool/technique, etc. or that I have gained a higher perspective on something.”
“At GIFTS you aren’t learning how to make your dreams come true. You ARE making your dreams come true.”
“I learned EVERYTHING I could ever want to know about the filmmaking process, and I got equal amounts of information on each aspect. It’s intense, thorough and exciting! There is nothing else remotely like it in the world.”
“Valuable insight to the filmmaking process, due to the hands-on experience.”
“Excellent leadership and support, alternative vision of media, allows students space to fail and to experiment and to learn, positive, accepting environment, emphasis on process. GIFTS is a GIFT.”
“This program lets me prepare for a career and express myself at the same time.”
“A place to learn about yourself as much as about the process of movie making.”
“I have refined my career goals based on the experience I gained here, and it will be a memory I’ll hold on forever.”
“A supportive environment to anyone considering a career in film. And I saw Nettie Wild on the street today — we were both purchasing video mailers to get our respective films out to festivals. I couldn’t stop gushing about what a great gifts GIFTS is….Thanks to you all for helping me get un-stuck and out there with a community of film makers and thinkers.”
“I now have new knowledge of processes and tools that will allow me to work faster, smarter and make room for more creativity. It also made me see my dream of documentary production is attainable.”
“GIFTS was a one of a kind filmmaking experience. The whole process was intense! Can’t wait to do it again.”
“This truly was an amazing experience! One that I’ll keep and hold with me always. The atmosphere, people, staff was great. It’s a beautiful place that I’ll for surely recommend to others.”
“This program is an excellent learning opportunity for any aspiring filmmaker.”
“I think this program has opened up a lot of doors for me in terms of my future.”
“Amazing. Had a wicked experience. Digital imagery and fluid beats with mesmerizing music tantalized the wonderful sensation in my aura.”
“Conquered my intimidation of technical aspects of camera and fabulous support and networking in an immersion and gorgeous setting.”
“Gave me energy to go out and do it and to be connected to others who can provide support. Liked the strain and shaping and planning video.”
“It provided inspiration and the confidence I need to throw myself into media.”
“Very instructive, very interesting and finally a real hands on approach to things.”
“I’m very proud how we’re treated, like adults and how we can express something we want.”
“It takes you from start to finish, exposing all the challenges in between empowering me to go on and organize my own project.”
“This program taught me more than I ever imagined I could learn in a week.”
“The most valuable thing that I leave with from here is the feeling of self-worth, pride and excitement that comes with finishing a project everyone has worked so much on.”
“I believe that it’s opened a gateway, a new perspective on my future career.”
“GIFTS is a wild, entertaining, challenging, rewarding week in the wood.”
“A spectacular course that enables its students to express their imagination in every way possible.”
“GIFTS is really great at giving kids guidelines for safety but while giving incredible creative leeway. It’s so neat to see the finished product that comes as a result of that. Thanks!”
“This program confirmed for me that I want to be a filmmaker.”
“I realized now more than ever that I really want to work in film for the rest of my life. I love it.”
“One of the most beautiful and rewarding experiences to date in my life so far.”
“Huge impact on my life. Without GIFTS, my life would have taken a wrong turn.”
“An experience that you should never pass up.”
“A friendly environment where you’re welcome to share your creativity and ideas to great interesting people who will boost your idea a work to expand it.”
“Very thorough introduction to video making concentrated into the shortest possible number of days.”
“An amazing week, and incredibly effective teaching system.”
“Has expanded my knowledge and confidence to consider making my own films.”
“GIFTS enables you to experience life as a filmmaker while you learn techniques that affect you the rest of your life.”
“Essential experience for anyone in media production.”
“I think that GIFTS has broadened my horizons. I now understand the aspect of creating a film, and I love it!”
“At first I was nervous about coming to GIFTS, because I knew little about film, and I knew NOBODY! Yet, after this week I have made many new friends, and I have learned more about film than I ever knew was possible! I intend to return every year I can!
An experience that has to be lived to be believed.”
“A fabulous program that urges you to look within at your creative being!”
“If my life could be seen as a flower growing then this program has provided the sunlight to help me unroll a petal.”
A positive, motivated, educational atmosphere.”
“Helped me further develop skills in filmmaking. More experience to further get me to the level I want to reach.”
“This has been an amazing experience which has shown me how rewarding filmmaking is, and how phenomenal, accepting, patient and fun people can be.”
“It’s taken away hesitation and fear and made me aware and confident of my potential and the possibilities out there.”
“I found this program helped to peel yet another layer off my shell to go even deeper into my true self honor and express it in a wonderful way with amazing people and phenomenal support.”
“It’s a fantastic opportunity to learn, stretch yourself, and be immersed in creative energy and you get to make a film.”
“So much of what I learned this time was personal artistic development. This said, I was able to learn a ton about the conventions and theory behind short drama film.”
“A super intense stimulating and resourceful week with results that are sure to be long lasting.”
“Enjoyed the hands on Let’s just do it method.”
“I recommend GIFTS to anyone who is up for a challenge! This week was so FUN!”
“The hours are long, the work is tough, but MAN IS IT WORTH IT!”
“The most valuable week (in terms of experience) of my life.”
“Thanks for the opportunity to make something that could have an impact on someone’s life and to meet new people at the same time.”
“Life and mind-alteringly absolute must have!”
“I think this program will continue to influence me to work hard towards my goals and help me decide what media field I should pursue my career in.”
“Thank you for the most wonderful week. I learned so much and had a blast doing it!”
“An intensive and personally explosive journey.”
“Giving youth a chance to fulfill their dreams.”
“GIFTS allowed me to explore all the areas of film and T.V. I wanted to learn about and inspired me to pursue a career in film/TV more than I have ever wanted to in the past.”
“This program has had a major impact on my decision to pursue the technical end of film and TV in the future”
“A roller coaster of film experience backgrounded by a kaleidoscope of people which climaxes in the triumphant completion of a short film.”
Dear George and whole GIFTS Crew,
I have been wanting to write this letter for a long time and now it has come to pass. I attended GIFTS twice. The first time was in 2000, I took the week long course and my group produced Takiri, more commonly referred to as the Jesus Movie. Then I came back in 2002 and attended the IMPP program. My group produced The Time is Now, which ended up being like Dawson’s Creek on acid.
Going to GIFTS has changed my life because it gave me the skills to do what I care most about in life and that is storytelling through moviemaking. So I thank you for allowing me the chance to attend. Later in 2002 the Liquor Board of BC called GIFTS and asked them to provide a crew for a training video. The school called Liam Walsh and Liam in turn called Kristi and I. Together, we produced a training video for the Liquor Board. The opportunity gave us some real life experience and gave us more time at the school, (GIFTS), where in turn, we got to do some mentoring of our own. These are some of the first film experiences. Since then, there have been many more. I love to make movies and I feel blessed that I been able to support myself in life by doing what I love. I owe a great deal of this to GIFTS. I thought that the school should know that I am grateful and proud to be an alumni. Thank you for doing what you do. I hope one day to be a teacher at GIFTS but until then these compilations (enclosed) and this letter will have to suffice.
Sincerely with Love,
“Hi, GM here, I recently became aware of the nomination for my film “Lets Play” in Outstanding Achievement in Film – IMPP Program. Firstly thanks for the honor, I cant go on enough about how much my life has changed since leaving GIFTS, I know you are all too busy to bare with that lengthy email, but just know another student from your school is well on their way to something great.
In regards to attending the dinner etc, It should be known that I have since moved to Edmonton Alberta (address below). I am currently collaborating on a feature film to be produced this fall in Edmonton, so look out for that, I will be sure to send any further news on the project as it develops. Good luck with the Festival and Have a great summer GIFTS.”
-GM, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
“My name is AS and I am a film production major at Chapman University in Orange, California. I am contacting you because several years ago I attended your film camp, and as it was one of the defining points in not only my career, but my life, I am hoping to give back. My question is, how would I go about applying for a job at the school for the summer?
If you could provide me with any information about jobs or internships, that would be amazing. I feel that the techniques and knowledge that I learned from GIFTS has helped me achieve greatness in many ways, and has allowed me to pursue film as a career. I know that this experience will stay with me for the rest of my life and I will look back on this as a stepping stone to achieving all of my desires. Thank you again.”
-AS, Fairfield, Iowa
“I just wanted to say thanks for the school. I recently landed my dream job working at a studio in Vancouver. It’s with Shoreline Studios, and I got the job with the skills I picked up at GIFTS.”
“Since completing IMPP at GIFTS:
-built and running my own video production business with a complete production studio.
-screened my first film (Mr Orderly) at the Victoria Independent Film and Video Festival.
-competed in the Cinevic Film Slam and produced a ten minute drama in 48 hours.
-began working as director/cinematographer/editor for a pilot for a television show created by Fezzie Scotland.
-went into production of my documentary “Guts and Blood” (destined to be one of the greatest stories about music ever!)
-completed a promotional video and coordinated a promotional tour for a school you may have heard of.
-completed a promotional video for the Victoria Ska Society of BC (12 min) which screened along with a trailer for my documentary.
-screened Mr Orderly at the Xchanges Gallery here in Victoria.
-received funding from the Filmmakers Assistance Program at the NFB for post-production of my documentary.”
-Bryan J Green: Filmmaker
“I had an amazing experience at the IMPP GIFTS course. Where else can you spend a month living among such beauty, amazing talented artists, and having fun making movies and music. Galiano is an amazingly beautiful island full of talented artistic souls. A truely wonderful adventure I will share with all of my classmates and staff for years to come.”
“Thanks GIFTS! It is about time I updated you on all the happenings since I graduated from the IMPP program nearly one whole year ago. I have been a busy film bee over on Salt Spring and have landed myself a series of paid and volunteer gigs working on other folks films as well as spending time working on my own documentary called Animal Film – on people and animals on Salt Spring Island. Some of the highlights have been:
- For the True West Film production, Roll Over Beethoven: On labour day we traveled by barge (baby grand piano in tow) to a teeny treeless island/rock where 50 extras in formal evening wear listened to an open air Beethoven concert. I was the production assistant for the day (and an extra) the small documentary-style crew filmed from the ground and from a helicopter with a gorgeous new Panasonic HVX200.
- For the Artemis Films production, Instant: By luck and happenchance I bumped into Diana Wilson (GIFTS mentor extraordinaire) on Salt Spring the weekend they were filming her partner Mark’s dramatic film, Instant. I got an hour long crash course in Continuity by a professional Script Supervisor who I stepped in for when she had to leave to go back to Vancouver. Shadowing Mark, who was directing the film, and watching the 20+ all-pro crew at work with all their lights, sound, and super expensivo Viper cam package (the digital camera that shot the first Star Wars) was so damn exciting.
- For myself: Interviewing young farmers about how they emotionally cope with killing the animals they care for. It is an interesting process of building rapport and thinking-on-the-fly directing interviews which are particularly challenging with my young subjects (11-14 years of age). Dana Hicks, my roommate and fellow IMPP alumni, is helping to crew and co-write the documentary.
I have got a bunch of filming gigs using my camera which are also increasing my experience. I could almost make a living filming for community groups on Salt Spring but my heart lies in creative doc and drama work. I am firming up the details to work as an assistant editor with a documentary team for the winter. I still am not ready to make the leap to filming full-time but the past year has been filled with tonnes of amazing experiences. I wanted to send you my thanks as this new page in my life all started with the confidence and practical knowledge I learned at GIFTS.”
“Thank you for faxing those documents. They helped Nathan at his Malaspina College Visual Arts Interview last Saturday. He was accepted into the program starting September. Going to GIFTS for those 2 summers was the best thing he could have done. It really sparked his interest in film. He even said he would love to come and work at GIFTS for more experience. Cheers.”
You can be so very proud of the work you do! Your GIFTS documentary film graduate of quite a few years ago, TOMOE YOSHIHARA, who made GIFTS WRAPPED, will be showing his film SURFING THE WASTE at the INTERNATIONAL DOCUMENTARY FILM FESTIVAL AMSTERDAM next month! Thanks to the great start he got at GIFTS, Tomoe went on to graduate with distinction from the communications department of Concordia University. He was inspired to go there by Velcrow Ripper, who was one of his first teachers. Currently Tomoe is in Whitehorse making a film about youth at risk for acquiring HIV/AIDS.”