June/July 2009

Say it for mining, say it on camera

Creativity and vision are feted at the SYTYKM contest awards

By M. Kerawala


Keith Laplume with the trusty camcorder that won him $5,000

Seeking to get young people interested in the mining industry, the Ontario Mining Association (OMA) conducted a high school video contest called So You Think You Know Mining (SYTYKM). Participants were asked to represent the benefits of mining through short, two- to three-minute films. In addition to getting them to think of the industry’s social, economic and technological benefits, the contest aimed to help contestants develop script-writing, editing, direction and production skills.

The popular contest culminated in a grand awards ceremony at CIM’s Mining in Society show on May 10, 2009. The top prize of $5,000 for the Best Overall Video was bagged by 17-year-old Keith Laplume of St. Peter’s Secondary School, Barrie, Ontario. Laplume, who proudly identifies himself as, “a veteran of many video contests,” is no stranger to award-winning film production. “I won an Ontario-wide Workplace Safety and Insurance Board video contest last year, and placed second in an anti-smoking video contest for my local health unit. This past December, a short-film I made won me awards for Best Director and Best Picture in my school’s film festival,” Laplume reported.

Laplume’s entry, A Rock Solid Look at Mining, starred his siblings, John and Sharon, and was made with the help of his friend Timothy. Featuring the sort of edgy music, dramatic titling and fast cuts that are the staple of big-budget action movies, the video was also edited by Laplume. Recalling the production process, Laplume said, “My entire video was accomplished using my camcorder and home computer. With free open source video software, more people than ever can create stunning visuals. This is not to say that creating low-budget productions is easy, but rather to acknowledge that with some hard work and imagination, one can accomplish one’s vision.”

In keeping with the tradition of all award-winning filmmakers, the young visionary added, “I would like to acknowledge the efforts of my associate producer, Timothy Armstrong, and the acting skills of my brother John and my sister Sharon. Furthermore, I owe thanks to my parents for tolerating the crazy productions I put together and for being accommodating enough to let me build sets in their backyard, garage and even their living room.”

The $2,500 award for Best Directing went to Brad Jennings of Holy Cross Catholic Secondary School, Strathroy, Ontario. A chip off the old block, Jennings said, “I have always liked video work. It’s a passion of mine. My dad’s in the business too; he’s a cameraman.” Jennings’ entry, Let’s Talk Mining, would certainly do his dad proud. Conceived, produced, directed and edited entirely by Jennings, the video, inspired by  the Rick Mercer Report, offers a news report-style overview of the many benefits of mining. Jennings thanked his teachers Mr. Mrnik and Mr. Bawa for their support and encouragement.

Three other $2,500 awards were given for Best Original Screenplay, Best Original Score and Best Comedy. They were won by Meaghan Butler of the South Secondary School, London; DJ Nichol of H.B. Secondary School, London; and Jeremy Kozelj of St. Paul Secondary School, Mississauga, respectively.

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