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Premier Award

November 3, 2022


The Video Production Program of Argyle Alternative High School won the Premier Award for School Board Innovation at the 47th Annual Manitoba School Board Association Convention in downtown Winnipeg on March 17, 2011. The following is a description of the program:

The video production program began in the fall of 2002. Developed by teacher John Barrett and his colleague Dave Berg, the program consists of three half credit School Initiated Courses. The program provides students with an introduction to creative theory, techniques and process of video production. Throughout the three levels, students are provided opportunities to develop problem solving and leadership skills, demonstrate cross-curricular learning, network with professionals working in Winnipeg’s growing film industry and find their voice through creative expression. Students acquire skills to help develop ideas for videos, learn the fundamentals of operating a digital video camera, edit work using computer software, design and propose projects and an emphasis on pre-production elements (scripting, storyboarding, casting), production elements (directing, camera, lighting) and on post-production, production, and post-production elements. It was through this process that the inspiration to remake Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men” was born.

Throughout the years, the program has evolved and become well known within Winnipeg’s Arts Community. Students work directly with local performers, directors, technical experts (lighting, sound, camera), stage construction, costume and set designers. This experience is invaluable for student success and understanding of career opportunities. The video production is a modern adaptation of John Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men”. The rights to produce the project were received from the estate of Elaine Steinbeck after hearing Argyle’s concept and their detailed 22-page treatment before final approval was given. The main concept of the feature film is that, rather than migrant farm workers of the Great Depression, George and Lennie are displaced Aboriginal teenagers who have left the desolation of their remote northern community and are drifing across the more populated areas of the country, the cities along the Canadian-American border, looking for work. They are not dreaming of their own farm, as George and Lennie in the original story, instead, the heroes’ dream of getting their own place in the bush up north, where they can live off the land by hunting, fishing and trapping, as did their ancestors. The main action of the story takes place today, in a rooming house in Winnipeg, rather than a farm in California.

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