Laurier partners with Vancouver film school


Madeline Mcinnis
Madeline Mcinnis

For Wilfrid Laurier University’s film students interested in production, a new opportunity started “rolling” on September 22. A partnership with the Vancouver Film School, one of the best production schools in North America, was launched.

The new Vancouver Film School pathway is available to Laurier film studies single majors who have completed at least 2.5 credit courses by the end of fall term in their second-year, in good standing. Students will complete their one-year VFS degree during their third-year, returning to Laurier for their fourth-year.

The launch included an information session with Michael Baser, the head of the writing department at Vancouver Film School and Philippa Gates, the program coordinator at Laurier. James Griffin, the President of Vancouver Film School, was also in attendance.

The aim of this program is for students to gain education in hands-on experience of Vancouver Film School, in addition to the theory and history aspects of filmmaking, which Laurier teaches.

“What’s amazing about the Vancouver Film School pathway is that it means students can get their foot in the door of the really booming Vancouver film market,” said Gates. “It’s like this giant networking opportunity, not just actually learning how to use the newest camera equipment.”   

In Vancouver, students can choose from three programs: film production, writing for film and television, or acting for film and television. The credits taken at Vancouver Film School will count as film credits in a Laurier degree, allowing students to complete the two programs in four years instead of five.

Students who have already completed a Vancouver Film School degree can also come to Laurier and proceed directly to second-year classes, counting their degree as their first-year requirements.

“Students already in the film program could do their pitches this year and start at VFS as early as May,” Gates said.

The production option, launched in the 2015-16 school year, has already been met with huge success in the film studies department, as there is an increasing enrolment in film studies.

“This year, the students who predeclared film studies as their major, their numbers increased by ten times. And that’s just with the option,” Gates said. “We’re curious to see what happens as we announce the VFS program.”

The launch was met with enthusiasm from both faculty and students, which was attended by several film majors, including first-year students. In an informal poll conducted by Baser, most students were interested in the formal production program at Vancouver Film School.

The announcement of this partnership also hit the top-ten articles on Academica, a website which analyzes Canadian universities.

This relationship does have room to grow in the future, as Vancouver Film school is renowned for more than writing, acting and production.

“One of the most booming areas of the film industry around the world is in animation and a huge proportion of VFS grads in animation get really great jobs in great films,” Gates explained.

“Because their animation programs are so amazing, I’m hoping that, in future years, we can find a way to collaborate.”

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