Documentary by Vanier students screening at Vancouver film festival

A documentary created by G.P. Vanier students will be screened next month at the Vancouver International Film Festival.

Instructions for a Bad Day has been selected to appear in a youth segment that features short films from around the world. After the festival, the film will be included in a year-long international tour.

Vanier technology teacher Shannon Foreman and some of the students involved in the project will be in Vancouver to attend one of two screenings.

Created in response to local youth suicides, the six-minute film follows a high school student who is burdened by a particularly bad day.

Poet Shane Koyczan and Cumberland music producer Corwin Fox also contributed to the project.

The idea started when senior students approached Vanier vice-principal Murray McRae, who asked Foreman if she could help with the video.

After seeing his performance at the Sid, the students asked Koyczan by e-mail if he would be interested in lending his voice to the film. Koyczan accepted and spent two weeks helping in December.

Fox produced the score, which included professional and student musicians, members of the public and the three local high school choirs.

The symbolic backpacks in the film were made at Highland Secondary. A couple of animators also shared their talents, as did a woman from Home Depot who helped make the backpacks.

Senior students from Highland, Isfeld and Vanier also created a documentary dubbed Conquering Silence, which looks at the process of making Instructions for a Bad Day, and at the finding of a community in the wake of teen suicides. Students wrote, scripted, filmed and story-boarded the entire project in two weeks before spring break.

Instructions for a Bad Day will be shown Oct. 9 and 10 at the festival.

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