Ontario college students faced the longest strike in the province’s history this fall and for both faculty and students, it was a frustrating and uncertain time.
Lara Cordiano, a second-year Film and Television Production (FMTV) student, took advantage of the situation that idled about 500,000 students at 24 colleges and started to shoot an independent documentary in order to help students understand the issues.
“Basically, it documents myself and my classmates discovering what the strike is about and understanding what we’re dealing with. We had no idea what the issues were,” Cordiano said.
The team mobilized to cover the faculty rally at Queen’s Park on Oct. 25 that shut down Bay Street.
“The first day we decided to film I asked Paul Cordiano, our director of photography, to go to the rally and see if we can shoot a documentary out of this,” she said. “Maybe it’s going to be 10 people, maybe it’s going to be a thousand.”
Cordiano said that shooting life on the picket lines and doing the interviews took two weeks. Classmate and camera operator Sam MacDonald said research also took a lot of time.
“You get a new piece of information, then you go home and you do the research, then again and again,” MacDonald said.
“We were trying to get our own information, own grasp on what is going on,” he said. “We didn’t want to shoot the picket, again and again, so we were trying to find new angles, and that became the most challenging part of the entire project.”
The film, called In The Dark: The Longest Strike in Ontario College History, is scheduled to be screened in December.
Michael Glassbourg, FMTV Intake faculty, said he is sure the finished documentary will be worthwhile.
“It was a very useful activity to undertake during these five weeks away from the classroom,” Glassbourg said.
“The students who worked on it are intelligent, mature students who happen to be skillful filmmakers and I look forward to seeing it screened,” he said.
The project not only offered the students the opportunity to practice their skills during the strike, it also provided a release during tense times.