Will Thompson is a Grade 10 student at Highland Secondary School. Photo by Scott Strasser.

Highland student captures top spot at Island-wide short film competition

Grade 10 student Will Thompson won the competition for his short film Change

A Grade 10 student from Highland Secondary School recently captured first place at the Victoria Film Festival’s annual FilmCAN competition.

Fifteen-year-old Highland student Will Thompson took the top spot in the competition’s senior category (Grade 9–12) this year.

The FilmCAN competition seeks to get young people interested in filmmaking. The annual contest is open to K-12 students on Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands.

Thompson won the senior category this year for his short film Change. The three-minute film shows clips of Thompson skiing at Whistler Blackcomb, while his voiceover begs the question of how the sport might one day be threatened by climate change.

“[The video was] about my passion, which is skiing, and how it can be taken away by climate change. And how the future can change just like that, from the environment and different weather systems,” he said.

This year, there were over a dozen FilmCAN entries from across Vancouver Island. Thompson — whose video was the only submission from the Comox Valley — said he was surprised that he ultimately won the competition.

“I thought it was a good film, but I thought since [the contest] was for the whole Island, there’d be better people there,” he said.

Thompson became interested in videography a few years ago after watching ski movies. He taught himself various shooting and editing techniques by watching YouTube tutorials.

Once he had the basics down, he started posting videos of himself skiing on his YouTube channel.

“I used my dad’s old camera and just played around with all the settings,” he said. “I started making edits of me skiing on a GoPro. Then I got an actual camera and made more professional-style videos.”

Thompson said he hopes to continue pursuing filmmaking in the future, and suggested that he might one day apply for film school at the University of British Columbia.

“That’d be the best place for me,” he said. “I could see if I could take it even further and make travel videos. Travel the world and video my adventures — that’d be really cool.”

His prizes for winning include a one-year membership to Adobe Creative Cloud valued at $790, full tuition to any six-day course at the Gulf Island Film & Television School, and a video camera courtesy of LalliCare Pharmacy.

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