Students at Albert Campbell Collegiate Institute
On Tuesday May 8th, REEL CANADA arrived at Albert Campbell Collegiate Institute to find a super cool DJ playing hot tunes in the cafeteria as a group of kids busily tested a Skype connection.
Soon enough, nearly 250 ESL students descended upon the cafeteria and sat attentively as REEL CANADA’s facilitator, Judith Cockman, explained to them what they were about to see. Judith talked about the films, about the program, and about what she wanted them to look out for so that they could have a discussion afterwards.
Albert Campbell Collegiate Institute student DJ
We’d been warned by our lead teacher that the ESL students were a pretty shy, quiet bunch, so Judith was trying extra hard to prepare them for sharing their thoughts after the screening.
The short CHILI & CHEESE got quite a few knowing laughs from the audience. The film is about a humorous altercation between a convenience store owner (who used to be a doctor in his home country) and a particularly cheeky customer.
Afterwards, the students watched DOUBLE HAPPINESS, Mina Shum’s film about a young woman trying to juggle her Canadian identity with her family’s traditional Chinese heritage. Albert Campbell has a very large population of ESL students of Chinese origin, most of whom found the film very funny and probably pretty familiar. They definitely caught all the Cantonese jokes that the rest of us may have missed!
Canadian filmmaker Mina Shum answers questions via Skype about her film Double Happiness
After the film, we connected to director Mina Shum in Vancouver via Skype, and gave the students a chance to talk with her and ask questions. In spite of the teacher’s warnings that nobody was likely to say a word during the Q&A, at least seven or eight brave souls spoke into the microphone (much to the shock and delight of the staff who were in the room with us).
REEL CANADA exposes young people to Canadian culture, and brings shy kids out of their shells! Go team.