Campus Life

Common Chord up for awards

All the hard work University of Lethbridge New Media professor Deric Olsen and his team put into the locally produced feature length film Common Chord has paid off. The film has garnered seven nominations for the Alberta Media Production Industry Association (AMPIA) Awards and has inked a worldwide distribution deal with Koan Inc.

Director and Department of New Media professor Deric Olsen is among those nominated for AMPIA awards.

“This project has been a lot of hard work for a lot of people and we couldn’t be more proud,” says Olsen, who earned nominations for Best Dramatic Production (over 30 minutes), Best Director, Best Editor and Best Screenwriter (drama over 30 minutes). He shares the nomination for best dramatic production with George Gallant and the best screenwriter nomination with Trevor Carroll.

Other nominees included Jason Cermak, for Best Performance by an Alberta Actor, Jim McNally, for Best Cinematographer (drama over 30 minutes) and Thyro Sharell, for Best Original Musical Score. The announcement of the winners will be made on April 12, 2014 at a gala ceremony in Calgary, with Olsen in attendance.

“There are a lot of truly excellent films being made in Alberta, as cliché as it sounds, and it is indeed an honour to be nominated. It's rewarding to have your work recognized amongst some of the best in the industry,” he says.

Common Chord has just completed a successful six months of touring North American film festivals.

Common Chord has just completed a successful six months of touring North American film festivals, starting with the world premiere in September at the 2013 Calgary International Film Festival. Other venues included: Kingdomwood Christian Film Festival in Atlanta, GA; Hamilton Film Festival in Ontario; Alexandria Film Festival in Virginia; Flathead Lake International Cinemafest in Polson, MT; LDS Film Festival in Orem, UT; and the Picture This . . . Film Festival in Calgary, Alta.

“At all the festivals, the positive response from audiences, festival programmers and juries has been overwhelming,” says Olsen. “The story and the characters really resonate with audiences, and they come away feeling good. I'm so proud of the performances in the film, they're so authentic. As a director, you can't hope for a better result than that."

Common Chord garnered plenty of interest from potential distributors. Olsen and Gallant are delighted to announce their partnership with Koan Inc. ( to distribute Common Chord worldwide.

“Koan has a strong, well-established reputation as a distributor of award-winning feature films in a variety of genres,” says Olsen. “Their commitment to quality family entertainment reflects the themes and values of our film – so it is a very good fit. We're really looking forward to working with them to get the film out to the public.”

Local audiences have the opportunity to view Common Chord from April 4 through April 10 at the Movie Mill.