Passion for film drives Poliquin
Do you remember when the family video camera was a rare and valuable piece of bulky equipment brought out of its protective case to record little more than holidays and birthdays? Fast-forward a decade or more and video cameras, found in everything from cell phones to laptops, are a common and well-used technology that we can no longer imagine living without.
Like most of his generation, 24-year-old John Poliquin (JP) (BFA ’08) grew up using digital media to capture the everyday moments of his life. Unlike his peers, however, this up and coming music video director took it to another level, building a creative and promising career using the common technology.
“In high school I was into skateboarding and my friends and I were always making videos for that. I also took graphic design and was into flash animation and Photoshop. I designed a lot of posters for plays and parties, but it was just for fun. I really wasn’t thinking about new media as a career,” recalls Poliquin. “Then my mom read about the New Media program at the University of Lethbridge in Macleans magazine.”
After recommending the program to a friend, Poliquin visited her on campus, saw the facilities and enrolled himself.
Although Poliquin’s initial intent was to focus on graphic design, he fell in love with film production during his second semester at the U of L. As a child, he’d acted in several commercials and spent time on set with a childhood actor friend. Taking Terry Gallie’s film production course reminded Poliquin of how much he loved the energy and activity on a film set.
“After my first assignment in film production, I was so excited with it that I realized I really liked the aesthetic of film and working in that medium. I also really liked learning about effects and about how I could bring my design
experience into that,” says Poliquin. “The New Media program at the U of L is really good. I know a lot of other directors that went to film school but I am really glad that I have a full university degree. It is so much broader in terms of the media we learned. The fact that I have different skill sets that a lot of people in my field don’t, that I have experience with sound design and editing and graphic design and web editing, it just makes it a lot easier for me to market myself and not be pigeonholed into one thing.”
Following his first year at the University, Poliquin spoke to Gallie and got some advice about how to work in the film industry. He returned home to Vancouver and began working with a production assistant on the sets of The Fog and RV. He continued to spend subsequent summers immersed in the Vancouver film industry, sampling everything from camera assistant and assistant director to working in wardrobe.
Poliquin also brought his passion for film back to campus. He and his friends founded the University’s Student Film Festival in 2007, premiering the film, Inside Charlie, which they had written and produced. He pulled all-nighters in the new media lab and even had to hide from a security guard once in order to keep working after hours – although he would not recommend doing that today!
Since his graduation in 2008, Poliquin has amassed quite a body of work directing music videos, and is beginning to break into commercial directing and fashion photography.
“I love being a director, writing the ideas and following it through to the editing. It is nice to be able to look back at your portfolio and see these different creations,” says Poliquin. “My next goal is to move to New York City; I want to try it out while I am still in my twenties. My goal is to eventually direct high concept commercials, music videos, maybe a feature film or TV episode once a year, and then do fashion photography and editing on the side.”
GET THE FACTS
• Poliquin has directed more than 30 music videos.
• He was nominated for music video directing awards for: ill Scarlett featuring Kardinal Offishall (Much Music Video awards); Paper Lions, Tim Chaisson, Morning Fold (East Coast Music Association Awards and Music PEI Awards); Hey Ocean (Leo Awards).
• His film, Inside Charlie, was nominated for Best Short Film at the Calgary International Film Festival.
• To check out some of his work go to: www.johnpoliquin.com.
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