It was a long two years of hard work and effort, but the L.V. Rogers students and mentors working on The Change Agents (formally known as Project Turquoise Snowflake) have finished their major motion picture.
Earlier this month the first screening of the community project was shown to cast and crew. It was the first time the final product had been shown to an audience of any kind.
“It was thrilling to show the final product to the community of people who brought this picture to life. Some hadn’t seen any of it yet, so it was amazing to see their responses,” said Robyn Sheppard the film’s writer/director.
The screening marks a milestone for the group who worked tirelessly on producing the movie. What sets the film apart though, is the student involvement throughout the whole process.
“The vision was to bring a group of youth together, students of L.V. Rogers from Grade 9 to Grade 12, who were interested in learning about film,” said Sheppard who teaches English and drama at LVR. “To offer them an experiential course where they would learn how to be a cohesive film crew with the help of extraordinary professional mentors from the community.”
The project went through multiple stages over its two year development. Beginning with a pre-production stage for the first six months that was geared to train the students how to professionally work on a film set. In this phase the students, alongside their mentors, filmed six scenes from various genres to hone their skills as a production crew.
Next came the finalizing of the script, that has a central theme of climate change and the task three young youth take to bring awareness of this current problem. Casting called out to local actors to audition for roles in the film. The movie needed people of all ages to play characters, and the turnout for the casting calls delivered.
Once the roles where cast the filming began. Each department working on the film had at least one student and one community mentor. Allowing the students to learn and have someone to guide them along the way.
The days of shooting were often long, especially during the summer schedule. This was the busiest time, and the team faced many challenges along the way. All of these struggles were met with determination from the crew and they were able to finish the shoots relatively on schedule.
“I’m a firm believer that if you set intentions, and you are unyielding in your desire to see that intention realized, then small miracles happen that have to happen in order for the project to continue,” explained Sheppard.
Last fall the team finished the shooting with the final pick-ups (the filming of scenes that didn’t have enough footage of what the editor wanted). Over the next months the editor worked on the film alongside the composer, director and producers to put the movie together.
“There was such a great team of people to chisel away at the story to make it work,” said Sheppard. “Honestly I knew we could do it and I’m pleased with what we have. It’s at a quality that I wanted and I’m proud of it. I don’t think we could have done much more. I think we put our hearts and souls into this story and we got an authentic and real piece. I’m so proud of the students and so thankful to everyone who shared their expertise.
“Truthfully, Sarah Hayward, the producer, really kept this project going when things were challenging. Her never waning energy has brought us over the finish line. Of course, others too have been right there, but Sarah’s been on this film day and night for many months now.”
The Change Agents has been entered in both the Toronto and Vancouver film festivals, and the public screening of the film in Nelson will be held in the fall.