Documentary production alumnus to screen short at film festival

Langara documentary production grad Joella Cabalu on location filming Nigel Wakita as he demonstrates his skills on a unicycle.
Langara documentary production grad Joella Cabalu on location filming Nigel Wakita as he demonstrates his skills on a unicycle.

Joella Cabalu, a recent graduate of Langara’s documentary film production program, will be screening her short film The Gran Nigel as a part of the Langara Student Film Festival in March.

The student film festival is held in conjunction with the Just Film Festival, also being held on campus on the same weekend. It features documentary short films created by students of the documentary program at Langara.

122 kilometres on a unicycle?

The Gran Nigel is a three-minute short film recounting the story of Nigel Wakita, a performer and instructor at the Vancouver Circus School. He decided to participate in the GranFondo, a 122-kilometre bicycle race from Vancouver to Whistler, entirely on a unicycle.

Originally made as a part of an assignment designed to practice students’ interviewing skills, Cabalu said she wanted to challenge herself to interview a complete stranger to better prepare herself for the reality of documentary filmmaking.

“Out there in the real world, I’m going to have to approach people who don’t know me and convince them that my idea or my project is worthy of their involvement,” Cabalu said.

Upon hearing about Wakita’s planned feat during a radio interview while half-asleep, she was inspired to track him down and document his journey.

Cabalu found inspiration at the Vancouver International Women in Film Festival

Cabalu wasn’t always so excited about the prospect of filmmaking. Despite a strong passion for film since she was young, she was convinced that she lacked the personality to be a filmmaker.

In March 2012, Cabalu attended the Vancouver International Women in Film Festival, and watched the feature-length documentary made by Toshimi Ono, also a graduate of Langara’s documentary production program.

Ono was “reserved and had a quiet power about her” and dispelled many  beliefs Cabalu held about the industry.

After a restructuring at her work, Cabalu thought hard about her passions in life and decided to apply to the documentary program the following year.

“Life is too short,” said Cabalu. “You should do something you are happy doing, that you’re passionate about.”

The Langara Student Film Festival will take place on Sunday, March 2 and will feature a total of five films made by students.

Reported by Edmond Lu

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  1. […] the original version of the story as published in the print edition of The Voice here. (Edited by […]

  2. The Voice Online

    […] Dozens of professional films were shown over the course of the weekend-long festival, as well as five from students of Langara’s documentary film program. […]

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