Now in its third year, the NUTV Greenlite Arts Festival provides a fun way to engage in environmentally-friendly initiatives within Calgary’s creative community.
It runs March 25 to April 3, in time with March’s worldwide Earth Day events, and is host to several “green art movement” events and challenges. There is a photography competition, enviro-themed documentary screenings and a 48 hour eco film challenge, all of which are open to the public.
NUTV (New University Television) is located at the University of Calgary on the third floor of MacEwan hall. For a cheap membership of $10 for all students, $15 for alumni and $30 for community, members have access to its TV station and video production facility.
“Our mandate is to provide access to media literacy and training for students and community members,” says NUTV’s executive director Taylor Ross, who job-shares the position with Dominique Keller.
Members can learn how to operate cameras, how to report and can do pieces that are of interest to them as well as partake in live productions and live shoots.
Ross welcomed me in her NUTV office. On speakerphone, Deanna Cameron Dubuque – NUTV’s publicity and promotions director – joined us.
The 48 hour eco film challenge happens during March 22 to March 24 of the festival.
“[Prior to] the Greenlite Arts Festival, we run three workshops. We try to empower people on skills that will come handy during the 48 hour film challenge,” says Ross.
Previous workshops have been on make-up and special effects, a film industry networking night, and, on March 8, there will be a workshop on screenwriting and acting free to NUTV members or for a small non-member fee of five dollars.
Last year, Dubuque said the challenge had 12 teams of four people each. Teams are roughly split in half between university students and teams from outside campus, including high school teams and more seasoned filmmakers, says Ross. Anyone can sign up their team for free.
There are about 200 direct festival participants as a whole, Dubuque reveals, and the audience level is an estimated 30,000 during the festival.
Teams have tackled the environmental theme quirkily in the past.
“One year, most [films] were apocalyptic environmental films,” says Dubuque.
Teams are assigned a prop and a line of dialogue that can be traded with other teams at kick off. Both are to be used in their films in any way deemed appropriate.
“Some people use [their prop] as a cameo appearance and others centre it around their whole film,” shares Ross.
Common objects, such as plants, have been assigned as props before, while lines of dialogue usually come from movies such as Aliens’ tagline: “In space, no one can hear you scream.”
James Wu, a film lover and previous participant, who is coming back for this year’s challenge, says he does everything but shower during the 48 hour challenge.
“Last year, I slept six hours,” he reveals in an email.
“Greenlite has a place for you to crash overnight, they keep you fed with an endless supply of food [and] it’s free. NUTV staff, volunteers, peers are around to assist with any step of the filmmaking pipeline. You could quite literally enter knowing nothing about filming and walk away next evening with a new set of skills,” says Wu.
Wu says he got to meet like-minded people and was “forced to explore the strangest nooks and crannies of the U of C” since participants are obliged to stay on university grounds at all times during the challenge.
The festival wraps up with a Best in Show Gala where films of the challenge are screened and awards are handed out for both the film challenge and the photography competition. On top of “best use of prop and line of dialogue,” the winning film team gets the opportunity to donate money to a charity. According to Dubuque, last year’s money was donated to the World Food Programme.
Completed films from the challenge can be found online on nutv.ca and NUTV’s YouTube channel. The films are screened one week after the Best in Show Gala on HD screens in MacEwan Student Centre and at other Canadian campuses with television stations that wish to participate.
The Greenlite Arts Festival runs from March 25 to April 3. Specifically, the 48 hour film challenge will take place before the festival, from March 22 to 24. For more information, visit nutv.ca/greenlite/48-hour-eco-film-challenge.
By Claire Miglionico