Community Papers

Coquitlam students tackle youth hunger in video

Students in teacher Jon Hamlin's TV and Film class at Pinetree secondary school are putting their talents and passion together to create compelling videos that promote special causes.

And one video, made to support the food banks run by Share Family and Community Services, is garnering a lot of attention.

The 30-second black-and-white spot reminds viewers that children under the age of 18 represent 43% of food bank users, and Share executive director Martin Wyant, says the poignant message made by Pinetree students is told in a compelling way. Share plans to show the video at its upcoming Imagine gala and has already posted the YouTube video on its website.

The video, not yet viral with about 237 views, has still got people talking.

Last Friday, the video's creators — students Hanna Parmar, Olivia Gutenberg, Kishan Sall and Hamlin, their teacher — were interviewed by DJ David Cannon for Port Moody independent radio station CKPM.

Hamlin said it's important for the students to use their film and video skills to produce things other than entertainment because video is a strong medium for persuading people to take action. In addition to making videos for organizations such as Hope for Freedom Society, which runs recovery houses and supports homeless people, the Make a Wish Foundation and Hockey Fights Cancer, the students in his class also produce a 20-minute news cast for the school every two weeks.

"It's been a really cool tool to bring the school together," Hamlin said.


There are about 28 to 30 students in his class and all have a range of experience and interest in TV and film-making. Grade 12 students Sall, who filmed the Share video, and Gutenberg and Parmar, who acted in the production, aren't planning film careers but say they enjoy the class and were pleased their 30-second spot made an impression on people.

"It was an effective but simple message," said Parmar, who has volunteered for Share in the past. She said a lot of people forget that children are among the main consumers of food from the food bank.

In the video, Gutenberg and Parmar sit down to lunch at the school cafeteria. One pulls out a lunch bag full of food while the other has a plastic snack bag with a few crackers. The girls say they combined their two lunches to make the point that some have plenty while others have none, and hunger is an issue that often goes unnoticed, especially in a relatively affluent community like the Tri-Cities.

"It was my idea to exaggerate the fact that I didn't have anything," Gutenberg said. Parmar, meanwhile, said she her role was to portray a regular person with a full lunch who doesn't see anything amiss. "I tried to make it seem really natural," Parmar said.

The students, including Sall, said they brainstormed the idea and in the end the video came together easily.

"I didn't expect it would have the effect that it did," Sall said.

The students hope the video will inspire more people to give to the Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam and Port Moody food banks through Share and encourage younger people to use their video-creation talents for positive change.




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