Okanagan Film Fundamentals Bootcamp Provides Hands-On Training for Film Industry Careers

The Okanagan Film Commission (OFC) is a non-profit society dedicated to the development and support of the film and visual arts industry in the Okanagan and Boundary regions. In September 2022, the OFC hosted a milestone event, the Take2: Okanagan Film Fundamentals Bootcamp. ETSI-BC was delighted to support the project with funding through its Innovating and Advancing Key Sectors funding stream.

The OFC, since its establishment in 1990, has been a cornerstone of the regional film industry. Offering location scouting, tech surveys, and liaison services, the organization has also built an extensive locations photo library and a crew database, which has seen increasing demand. In 2021 alone, the region attracted 33 film projects. As the industry expanded, the need for experienced crew members — both technical staff and actors — became a pressing issue.

To address this demand and raise awareness of local employment opportunities in the film industry, the OFC organized the Take2: Okanagan Film Fundamentals Bootcamp. This innovative training program, held from September 23-25, 2022, was designed to attract new interest in film industry roles and provide much-needed training to the local workforce.

Local Productions Benefit from Local Talent

Producers often source their crew from outside the Okanagan Region due to the limited availability of trained personnel. Take2 aimed to change this trend. The bootcamp, which attracted 173 attendees, offered participants the unique opportunity to learn about the various departments and protocols of film production in a hands-on manner under the guidance of industry professionals.

The event made significant strides towards increasing participation from underrepresented groups, specifically Indigenous people, and women. The OFC partnered with the Westbank First Nation to host the event and to create opportunities for band members and Indigenous participants valley-wide.

Throughout the bootcamp, participants received education, training, and resources from the industry’s top professionals, acting as department heads. Set up as a proper film set, the bootcamp gave participants the chance to work with real tools, equipment, and actors. The group came together each day for breakfast and lunch. Students took in theory and practical in a condensed form, so they could be ready for Day 3.

The event culminated in a full day of filming (on three different locations), providing students with a real-world experience of the rhythms of a film set, its timelines, and momentum. The short film produced was a locally-written piece, featuring actors trained through a similar bootcamp process hosted at Penticton’s Tempest Theatre & Film Society.

Job Ready Training

The Okanagan Film Commissioner, Jon Summerland, was very pleased with how it all turned out. “You know, you can go to film school and take all kinds of technical training, but you will never learn as much as your first day on set, and that’s what Take 2 was all about. It was a really unique way to give people a big picture view of the entire process and it brought industry and community together in a fun and engaging way. People began working in the industry directly afterwards – so that is a success for them and for those productions as well.”  See the action from the bootcamp here.

One student wrote “I participated in the film bootcamp and can’t tell you how great it was. The bootcamp film program was a brilliant idea. I was so impressed with the whole concept! The great people that volunteered their time were ahh-mazing! I am so grateful to have been able to attend. Also, the price was well worth it!! It was an invaluable experience! Thank you to all the GREAT and kind professionals who participated!”

Following the event, Christina Kasperczyk, who was Director of Photography for the Bootcamp, reported back that a student reached out and let her know he was now working as a Production Assistant on his first film gig. Christina was excited to share his update and her thoughts: “They hired him again on another job and would consider having him on board at some point to train him to be part of the camera department. He was always interested in film, but I believe participating in Take 2 gave him motivation to push himself forward. I see this as part of a win for the Film Commission on moving forward on such an endeavour.”

Offering a short form intensive bootcamp such as Take2 was an impactful way to give a participant insight into career opportunities before investing in more fulsome training. From the ETSI-BC perspective, it helped support an important industry sector in the region while also helping create new local jobs. Looking forward to the future of the Okanagan’s film industry, the successful Take2 Bootcamp serves as a reminder that diversity, inclusion, and capacity-building are not only fundamental to the industry’s growth but also vital for its sustainability and success.  

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