Media releases

  • Brock partners with Weengushk for film certificate program

    6 April 2016
    Brock University — Communications & Public Affairs

    A new partnership between Brock University and Weengushk Film Institute is opening doors for students studying on Manitoulin Island.

    Starting in September, Brock is offering a certificate in film production that will be taught at Weengushk.

    “A lot of the students may want to go on to university and this is a first entry point,” said Scott Henderson, chair of Brock’s Department of Communication, Pop Culture and Film “They’ll have credits under their belt.”

    The eight-month program provides training and instruction taught by industry professionals.

    “It’s a really hands-on program. You learn how to make short films from screenwriting all the way up to marketing,” said Weengushk senior manager Nano Debassige.

    Debassige said the affiliation with Brock is a great opportunity for students.

    “It opens another avenue to higher education for our students,” he said.

    Jill Brindle, chair of the Board of Directors at the Weengushk Film Institute, said the approach of the Lab 1 certificate film program is sensitive to the needs of individuals coming from under-served communities.

    Consideration for acceptance into the program is given to students who wish to explore artistic expression in media arts, including those students who may not meet mainstream requirements or have gaps in their education, she said.

    “This certificate program is designed to help open doors for students, enabling them to pursue further university education, to develop themselves as artists, and bring applicable skills to the work force,” Brindle said.

    Part of the goal, Henderson said, is to introduce students from the North and indigenous students to university life.

    “For all first year students, the academic transition is tricky and for indigenous students, especially from the North, it’s also a tricky social situation,” he said, noting many indigenous youth live in small communities and Brock has a student body of over 18,000. “I see this as a bridge. It’s a chance to start getting those academic courses and credits and looking towards coming here. It creates a nice transition.”

    Debassige said Weengushk has a transition and support program that helps individuals coming from remote locations adapt to urban living.

    Henderson said the program is an adaptation of the institute’s existing Lab 1: Short Film program. Completion of the program will earn students five Brock credits.

    Debassige said students in the program work with industry professionals and the networking opportunities often result in jobs for students. Weengushk, founded by Shirley Cheechoo in 2002, is an artist-focused centre for capacity building in the media arts for both indigenous youth and persons of diversity.

    Henderson first learned about the institute several years ago at Cinefest in Sudbury, when he met students who were training there. He was immediately impressed by their work and knowledge.

    When Cheechoo became the Chancellor of Brock University, Henderson approached her about creating an opportunity for students to train at the institute in a collaborative production environment.

    The film production certificate program and a spring film production course at Weengushk are the result.

    Cheechoo said through the Brock-Weengushk Lab 1 partnership, Brock is working towards recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

    “Brock is being invited into the indigenous community,” she said. “I am very excited that we will be making history at Brock.”

    For more information or for assistance arranging interviews:
    * Dan Dakin, Media Relations Officer, Brock University, 905-688-5550 x5353 or 905-347-1970

    Categories: Media releases

  • New video game program a huge draw for students

    30 March 2016
    Brock University — Communications & Public Affairs

    Before the start button on the new GAME program has been pressed, it’s already on pace for a high score.

    The video game program, a partnership between Brock University and Niagara College, had seven times the number of applicants than available spaces for the first term starting in September 2016.

    Brock Professor Michael Winter, GAME program director, said 366 people applied for the unique degree/diploma program, which has spots for 50 students.

    “These are good numbers, especially because we are offering this for the first time,” he said.

    The program is one-of-a-kind in Canada — offering students the opportunity to earn a university degree and an advanced college diploma in four years.

    Students can choose their stream at Brock – a BA in game design or BSc in game programming. At the same time, they will be working towards an advanced college diploma.

    “If you were to do that in sequence, it would take seven years,” Winter said. “Each year, they have courses here at Brock and at Niagara College. They have access to both locations for the price of one.”

    He said artists and programmers are needed to make high-quality, cutting-edge games.

    “They are different streams with different courses but they have a number of classes together,” he said.

    Over the course of the program, students will team up and create original games starting in the second year. In their fourth year, the best games will be presented at Level Up, a renowned industry showcase held in Toronto.

    Linda Roote, Associate Dean in Niagara College’s School of Media Studies, said the partnership program has been in the works for nearly a decade.

    “It’s really the first time that a college and university are offering a gaming program that runs concurrently,” she said. “We hope that students are going to benefit from the theory side at Brock and the application side at Niagara College.”

    Roote said bringing students together from the game design and programming sides will result in well-rounded graduates ready to work in the booming field of gaming.

    “They work together and that models the industry,” she said. “We’ll have games that are beautiful and high functioning.”

    Roote and Winter said the technology being invested in labs at both schools will be state-of-the-art and students will be using leading edge software and game engines.

    Winter said there are jobs in the gaming industry, which has grown bigger than the film and music industries.

    He added students will also have employment opportunities in a variety of other sectors from multimedia and general programming to web development and special effects.


    For more information or for assistance arranging interviews:
    * Dan Dakin, Media Relations Officer, Brock University,
    905-688-5550 x5353 or 905-347-1970

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    Categories: Media releases