Today it’s easy to buy a digital camcorder, make a short film
in one take, post it on YouTube in one afternoon and easily find
1,000—maybe even 1,000,000—people to watch it. So what’s
going to push you to the number one spot in an industry where
every budding moviemaker has access to such a huge potential
audience? A compelling story is always crucial, but equally important for
newcomers is knowing how to build a career as a moviemaker. To excel at the
techniques as well as the art of moviemaking requires more than a camera
and the Internet; you need an unparalleled education in the craft, too.

Zoom in on the Vancouver Film School.
For 20 years, VFS has succeeded in giving
students who want to work harder and
more creatively than ever before the technical
expertise, artistic license and professional
skills to produce award-winning films
and make truly valuable peer and industry
connections along the way. Like VFS,
MovieMaker has also built its reputation by
supporting emerging moviemakers, which
is why the magazine has paired with VFS to
give one aspiring auteur a full scholarship to
the one-year Film program.


“Our curriculum at VFS sets out to give
students as many opportunities as possible
to learn how to make 10-minute films,”
says David Hauka, head of film production
at VFS. “With 20 years of experience, VFS
does that very well. Students learn everything
from interpretation to method and
how take ideas from first pitch to post-production.”

Hauka is not only a passionate educator,
but a veteran of the industry as well, with
over 20 years of experience as a director and
producer. He has worked on productions for
Miramax, Disney, Universal, ABC, CBS and
MGM and offers his students a full platter
of lessons from the trade, as well as a real
taste of the culture and how to realistically
get work done in a competitive industry.
Each year, VFS students produce nearly
1,000 productions. “This is a proudly international
campus,” says Hauka. “Our students
come from all over the world to make
films in English, French, Farsi, Japanese,
Punjabi… and these projects in turn support
local actors who work primarily in
these languages.”

What draws students from all over the
globe to VFS is its reputation for having a
faculty of committed artists who provide an
intense learning environment. Taking full
advantage of the school’s fully-loaded facilities,
featuring the latest digital video cameras
and editing suites, the curriculum provides
every student with ample opportunity to test
out their ideas on set. “The instructor shoot,”
for example, is one moviemaking exercise
where students rotate in key crew positions to
produce a short film under the mentorship of
VFS instructors. But this is only one of many
hands-on lessons that prepares students for
their final project, when they take the helm
and direct their very own short film.

To ensure that every student is given an
ideal balance of valuable theory combined
with a rigorous and realistic production
schedule, the instructors at VFS are all
leading professionals in their industries.
Hauka’s faculty of more than 30 people
are all either veterans or prodigies of an
industry that only cares about one thing:
Creativity. The VFS faculty includes awardwinning
writers, directors and producers of
features for the likes of Touchstone, HBO,
MTV and many others.

Film is a truly collaborative process, and in the Film program there are plenty of
opportunities to connect with artists from
all of the programs VFS covers. Students
routinely invite writers, 3D effects animators,
sound designers, actors, makeup artists
and digital designers to add their skills
to the mix. This open access to enthusiastic
students from other disciplines ensures that
VFS film students consistently create highquality,
emotionally-charged and technically-
impressive productions. The result is that
VFS grads have gone on to high-profile positions
in some of the most important entertainment
companies in the world.

The final project starts in the screenwriting
course, where moviemakers deliver a
first draft for development. After a careful
script workshop, the casting process begins.
The principles of visual storytelling are then
applied to storyboarding and blocking with
actors, and as students direct their films,
lighting and cinematography, as well as a
study of studio and exterior shots, inform
their decisions and processes along the way.
“Cinematography is the cornerstone of our
department,” Hauka is quick to assert. “We
teach on digital video and film so students
understand both formats.”

While the instructors are all top-shelf and
the gear is industry-standard, it’s being surrounded
by other likeminded and driven
risk-takers that inspires such consistently
strong work. Every student completes a short
film while at VFS—which is your ultimate
calling card to a career in entertainment.

So whether their films appear on YouTube
or premiere at Cannes, students are all
encouraged to embark on at VFS and discover
their own unique voice as moviemakers.
At VFS, it’s your own direction, your
own images, your own ideas. In one year,
everyone graduates qualified to make their
own creative decisions in life. MM