Laura Psotka (far left) on the set of a local production. Photo provided by Laura Psotka.
Jeremy Davis has spent over a year picking up film work locally.
“I really liked storytelling,” said Davis, a camera operator and photographer in Regina.
“Honestly, when I was a kid, I didn’t have a lot of stuff to do. I lived on a reserve. So I just kind of went off into the bush and came up with fantasies to pass the time.
“So I guess it was just a love for story, a love for the art and craft of it, and film was just a natural fit.”
Despite the lack of a film industry in the province, Davis decided to attend the University of Regina and graduated with a degree in film production in June 2020.
According to the university website, the U of R boasts “the only film production degree program between Vancouver and Western Ontario.”
U of R film graduates have had less opportunity to work in the industry since the film tax credit was removed in 2012. Despite this, program enrollment remains consistent with graduating classes of roughly 20 students each year.
“It was close. It made sense,” said Davis. “I still lived in Regina. All my friends were here. It had a film program.
“I wasn’t aware of the condition of the film industry in Saskatchewan at the time when I decided to go to film school.”
Davis graduated several months into the pandemic and was hired by a local theatre company, SaskExpress. Without the ability to perform live, they needed someone to record videos to continue their online programming.
“I really didn’t know what I was getting into, I was getting paid 12 bucks an hour,” said Davis.
With SaskExpress Davis went on tour, did a feature length film and worked on a commercial for the Regina Public Library.
“And in between all that occasionally I got a couple jobs on actual film sets,” said Davis.
Davis shares his photography on his instagram account: https://www.instagram.com/p/CWuhxZTrvQm/
Laura Psotka is a current film production student with plans to graduate next April.
“I liked the arts,” said Psotka. “I’ve always liked the arts. I know we live kind of in a more industrial province. But I really didn’t want to fall into anything industrial… I wanted to be involved in creating.”
Psotka said she chose the U of R “because it was the closest and all things considered, it’s the cheapest, because if I were to move out of province the lodging would be so much more expensive. Like I’m living at home.”
During the day Psotka stocks shelves at Superstore but dreams of becoming a foley artist. A foley artist is someone who fabricates sound for film in post-production, like the crunching of leaves or a set of keys jangling.
“I do get called for film jobs throughout the year,” said Psotka. “This past weekend I was in Saskatoon because I was doing location sound for a short film project.”
The project she worked on is an upcoming short film titled Ringworm, shot in Saskatoon by Saskatchewan filmmakers.
Psotka think that although the industry in the province is lacking, it makes sense to keep the film production program at the university.
“A lot of the like industrial work in offices requires some sort of like, visual audio component like advertising or commercials or some sort of something like that,” said Psotka. “It would just be nice to have it more like more actual film work here.”