'A special community': 19 students from Sisler media program get Vancouver Film School scholarships
'I have no doubt that within 5 years they'll have their own studios,' says teacher at Winnipeg school
Winnipeg's Sisler High School surprised 19 students on Wednesday with the news they'll get full scholarships to attend the Vancouver Film School.
The announcements came Wednesday morning in a heartfelt in-person ceremony at the north Winnipeg high school, where family members — some of whom were previous recipients of the same scholarships themselves — gave the students the good news.
In pre-taped videos played at the event, the family members told the students they'll get full scholarships to go to the post-secondary school, where they'll study filmmaking including animation and design.
Xierra Cansino was among the students who found out they'll get one of the scholarships.
"I couldn't think at the moment. I was very surprised. I didn't see it coming," she said.
Cansino, like the other scholarship recipients, is part of Sisler's Create program, which offers training and experience to students who want to study animation, film, game design, visual effects, graphic design and other digital media. Participants in the program work with mentors from established studios such as Nickelodeon, Ubisoft, and Nelvana.
Cansino says the program has impacted her life in a positive way, and has helped her make life-changing connections.
"I've made some of my closest friends here in the program, and I'm very grateful for it," she said.
"The program is a special community," said Jamie Leduc, the animation teacher and department head with Create.
"They have a special bond with each other. I have no doubt that within five years from now, they'll have their own studio."
While the spotlight Wednesday was on the emerging filmmakers, some of the students took the opportunity to focus on what they hope to do for others through their work.
"I get intensely excited about all types of media," student Kiara Hare said in a statement read at Wednesday's event by Sisler teacher Bernard Alibudbud.
"[If] I am able to contribute to something that invokes those feelings in somebody else, I will be happy."
The funding for the scholarships is provided by the Vancouver Film School and the Schroeder Foundation — a philanthropic organization founded by Walter and Maria Schroeder, who grew up in Winnipeg.
The foundation will cover 60 per cent of the cost for the 19 scholarships, totalling $500,000, with the other 40 per cent covered by the school.
"Without these scholarships, most of these students probably wouldn't even consider studying in this area," Leduc said.
Walter Schroeder said in a press release his foundation is thrilled to invest in the students and set them up for success in the film industry.
Cansino says she looks forward to her time at Vancouver Film School.
Earlier this year, she hosted a panel for Nickelodeon and spoke about Orange Tree Project — a collaboration between Sisler and Nickelodeon to release animated short films.
Her ultimate goal is to work on an animation project that changes someone's life. She cites the hit animated film Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse as her inspiration.
"That movie basically changed my life. And ever since that movie, I've always wanted to work on something exactly like that," she said.
"Whatever it takes."
Watch Wednesday's scholarship ceremony at Sisler High School:
- The story previously stated Bernard Alibudbud is a principal at Sisler. In fact, he is a teacher.Feb 16, 2022 7:43 PM CT