documentary

The team behind 'Giving A Voice to the Voiceless," a documentary about a Saskatoon supported living and homeless shelter. (CBC)

Four students in Evan Hardy Collegiate's Media School program have made an award-winning documentary called 'Giving A Voice to the Voiceless.' 

The short film follows the story of four people who live in The Lighthouse, a supported living and homeless shelter in Saskatoon's downtown.

The students say they have learned a lot about homelessness through making the film.

"I am one of those people who does shy away from people in that situation," said student filmmaker Harley Price. "But learning from what they have said and their past experiences, I have a completely different light of the people and their situations."

The Media School program has been running at Evan Hardy since 2006. Students take an entire semester of film studies, learning how to script, shoot and edit short films.

Most of the time, the program's students create short films, and rarely make documentaries.

"It's amazing. Absolutely amazing," said Media School lead teacher Joel Dietrich. "I'm so proud of what they were able to produce, and the message that they got across--it's not easy to get people's stories out."

Every year, the program screens its films at a special gala evening at the Broadway Theatre, judged by industry professionals and hundreds of audience members.

This year, 'Giving A Voice to the Voiceless' received the Top Grand Prize award as well as the Fan Favourite award.

"After the film was over, everything was just silent," said student co-producer Mark O'Reilly. "And that's what you want to hear [after] a film like this. Just silence."

The students said they were surprised to see how open their subjects were during filming.

"They were more than willing to share their stories with us, and open themselves up to us, which was really wonderful," said student co-producer Jenna Kachur.

Meanwhile, the documentary's subjects say they're very happy with the finished project.

"For The Lighthouse itself, we need the attention," said Lighthouse resident Andrew 'Bear' Hammond. "We need to get rid of the stigma that's involved with the place, just everything about it."