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The film department at Capilano University has yet to call “action” on its first fall term inside the new $30-million Nat and Flora Bosa Centre for Film and Animation, but already enrolment numbers are up.
“I haven’t even really looked at the applications yet, but we’re getting them from all across Canada,” Cap U film centre director Bill Thumm tells The Outlook while wandering the state-of-the-art centre’s high-ceilinged studios and hi-tech editing suites. “And we’ve always had some international presence but the number of queries we’ve had from international students is greater now. We’ve had students from Japan, Korea, Germany and the United States.”
And it’s no wonder the North Van university’s movie-making department has seen a bump in enrolment, given the addition of several new courses and a new two-year digital visual effects degree program, facilitated by the move into the expanded centre earlier this year.
Most of the department’s students still come from B.C., Alberta and Ontario, Thumm says, and on graduation, most go back to wherever they came from, including the international students.
“There’s no doubt that the tax cuts have pushed people and the industry back to Ontario,” Thumm says, referring to the considerably high tax breaks the Ontario government now gives film and video-game makers, luring many formerly B.C.-based companies east. “Though, we’ve had just a huge uptake in our animation and visual effects programs.”
With 69,000 square feet of indoor studio, design, editing, viewing and office space, the new Bosa centre is unlike any university film facility in the country, Thumm says. Boasting a 205-seat, THX-certified 3D theatre, costume design studios, multiple animation labs, editing suites and a studio backlot that will soon feature a permanent city environment on the edge of the Lynn Canyon wilds, Cap U. appears committed to remaining on the cutting edge of the modern film industry for the long haul.
The Bosa centre’s construction was one of 39 recent projects at B.C. post-secondary institutions that made up the Knowledge Infrastructure Program, a joint federal-provincial investment designed to renew infrastructure at post-secondary schools across the province while also providing local jobs for communities.
“We are deeply appreciative of the contributions made by the federal and provincial governments, as well as the generous financial support received from the Bosa family,” Cap U president and vice-chancellor, Kris Bulcroft, said at the centre’s opening in February. “It is especially rewarding to see our vision of creating a new generation of creative, entrepreneurial filmmakers move forward through the meaningful assistance and leadership of so many.”
Cap U has been a major player for many years in building B.C.’s film and animation industries and the Bosa centre is now considered one of the top film and animation teaching facilities in North America.
“This is an industry that employs 35,000 people and injects more than $2 billion annually into the provincial economy,” said North Shore Studios and Mammoth Studios president Peter Leitch at the Bosa opening. “Capilano University’s film and animation programs produce skilled graduates capable of strengthening the industry’s growth, and the Bosa Centre will ensure that students and industry workers alike are provided with the necessary tools for creating excellence in their productions.”