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January 24, 2013

SAIT Polytechnic, University of Calgary and Whistling Woods International Film School in India Partner on an Audiovisual Co-production

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Film students from Calgary and Mumbai will meet in person for the first time tomorrow as they begin filming an audiovisual co-production — a partnership between SAIT Polytechnic, the University of Calgary and the Whistling Woods International film school in India.

A total of 10 students — five from Mumbai and five from Calgary— have been working via video conference since September to plan and develop the script for the short film that will be produced both in Canada and India over the coming weeks. The Calgary students are all in the joint SAIT Polytechnic and University of Calgary Bachelor of Film Studies program.

“We get to make a movie across continents, which is pretty exciting and monumental,” says Kevin Weir, a second year film student at SAIT Polytechnic. “It’s been extremely rewarding, but also challenging as we try to communicate creative, artistic ideas through long emails.”

The short drama centres around an inter-racial gay couple — one from India and one from Canada — and the challenges faced when the Indian gentleman passes away and his partner feels obligated to return the ashes to his family. 

The crew is filming at locations around Calgary for six days next week, including in the medical training facilities at SAIT. The SAIT students will head to Mumbai in mid-February to finish the filming.

Steve Olson is the Academic Chair for the School of Information and Communications Technologies at SAIT and says in addition to the dramatic piece, students will produce a “Making of…” documentary.

“The documentary would surround the dramatic piece and we’d like to put it together into a complete piece to peddle out to film festivals on an international level,” explains Olson. “This piece is intended to showcase that the collaboration process works and it will hopefully open up the opportunity for something similar every two to three years.”

SAIT and the university got support for the initiative from Alberta Enterprise and Advanced Education, as well as from Matrix Video Communications, William F. White International, Sony Canada, and AJA Video Systems.

The students hope to screen the final production at the end of April. They will begin pitching the show to film festivals on the international stage for the next year.

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