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Young Okotoks filmmakers win national gold

After placing in provincials, Foothills Composite High School students Christofer Kapiniak and Hogan Holditch won gold in the Skills Canada National competition in video production.
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Video production students Hogan Holditch (left) and Christofer Kapiniak in their classroom on June 6. (Photo submitted)

Two Okotoks students were recognized at the national level for their filmmaking skills.

After having placed at the Skills Canada Alberta competition, Christofer Kapiniak and Hogan Holditch went on to win gold in the Skills Canada National competition in video production, announced on May 28.

Conflicting engagements kept Holditch from watching the awards live, but he heard the good news from teacher Benjamin Stevens.

“When I got the phone call from Stevens I was excited — honestly it could have gone either way,” said Holditch.

“It’s different when you’re looking at a national competition, especially a two-day one.

“We knew our pieces were good, especially after our first day we knew we had a good shot at it if we did well.”

Kapiniak was equally delighted at the news.

“I actually heard from Hogan, and I freaked out, like ‘I can’t believe this is happening to me,’” said Kapiniak, adding he was initially intimidated by their competition, but overcame the fear.

“We hadn’t actually seen any of their videos, so we didn’t know what to expect from them. It kind of scared us a little bit, but we definitely had high hopes that we could make a video of the same quality as we did in provincials.”

Awards aside, the process gave the two important experience, Holditch said.

“I think it's really good experience to work on those timelines of deadlines and just on a work ethic front it helps you plan everything,” he said. “But also it gives you good experience on your resume, winning a national competition like that.”

The students were tasked to create two videos over two days, which Kapiniak said presented its own challenges.

“The video making process was really good, but the first day was a bit hectic — I had to do two talent shows during that time and also complete a filming project,” Kapiniak said.

Their teacher credited their success to effort.

“I think it’s a testament to a lot of hard work, the kids always have to put in a quality project, especially competing at that level,” said Stevens.

"They’re all talented kids, they all obviously know how to tell a story when they get to this level and how to do it well with the technology they have at their fingertips.”

He said Foothills Composite’s advanced program likely gave his students a head start.

“Where we maybe get a bit of an edge is the practical hands-on approach the program takes where we’re always producing content,” Stevens said.

“So, you pitch a project and build it to a spec, and the more you’re able to get constructive feedback and critique from your peers and myself on those projects, the more hopefully we’re able to refine our message and technical ability to craft a story that delivers what we saw in our original vision as a filmmaker.”

The first was to create a video on how COVID-19 affected the filmmakers’ view of what’s normal.

“We definitely wanted to show what was normal to me and Hogan specifically,” Kapiniak said.  “Hogan really likes sports and really missed the opportunities of going to events and seeing games, and I missed a lot of opportunities like concerts and seeing live music."

On the second day they had to take an everyday object and use it in an unconventional way.

“Hogan brought up the idea of ‘What if we use eggs?'” Kapiniak said. “The next thing I see him running out the door to Shoppers Drug Mart and comes back with a carton of eggs 10 minutes later.”

They tried to create a satirical take on old-school advertising.

“(It was) kind of an infomercial with a host, so we used eggs as that infomercial-esque item that we want to over-exaggerate, oversell, and basically think like it is needed instead of something you can just buy," Kapiniak said.

“Our video portrayed that really well — we were able to get a lot of schoolmates to help us out filming and they were pretty supportive of it too, although everyone’s reaction to it was ‘Why are you guys carrying eggs around?’”

Brent Calver

About the Author: Brent Calver

Award-winning photojournalist for the Okotoks Western Wheel and
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