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Richmond student filmmaker wins B.C. awards for RCMP promotional video

Justin Blais first got bitten by the film-making bug in elementary school.
Justin Blais won the Junior PSA/ Promo Video and Top Junior Editing and Technical awards at the BC Student Film Festival this year.

A Grade 10 student at McMath Secondary School has won two awards for a promotional video for the annual RCMP Christmas toy drive that he wrote, directed, and filmed.

Justin Blais, 16, was the recipient of the Junior PSA/ Promo Video and Top Junior Editing and Technical awards at the BC Student Film Festival (BCSFF). The film festival was hosted at the Bosa Centre for Film and Animation at Capilano University back in May.

The short promotional video is a collaboration between Blais and the Richmond RCMP, and it stars two RCMP officers on patrol who get a visit from Santa, played by a community volunteer. Spoiler alert – donuts were heavily featured in the video.

“It's nice to see that the video was recognized and that they enjoyed it. It makes people happy and I'm happy to hear that,” said Blais.

Blais has been producing promotional videos for the annual toy drive for the past three years, and he said he’s grateful for the RCMP’s support.

“Every time I do it with them, I learn something new. And it’s just been so nice that they’re able to really be so supportive with all of these different things we’re trying out,” he said.

The Top Junior Editing and Technical recipient experimented with green screens and special effects in the video, and the RCMP had provided him with an extra green screen and some lights to work with.

“We have no doubt that Justin’s creative efforts have helped increase attention to this worthy cause,” said Adriana O’Malley, media relations officer of the Richmond RCMP.

“Justin volunteered his time to produce this video. He invested a lot of time and effort into it as a way to give back to his community. Richmond RCMP is so pleased to see him recognized for his efforts,” she added.

Receiving support from the Steveston community

This is not the first time Blais has been recognized for his film making. He took home the Best Elementary School Film award at the BCSFF in 2019 with his 10-minute short film, Detective George.

Since then, the Steveston community has been reaching out to Blais for help in creating commercials and short videos.

“The community is really great… I don't know anywhere else where businesses would allow me to make videos for them. So, it's really awesome just to be here,” said Blais.

Blais is sometimes paid in cash, but often in pizza, donuts, and even hamburgers.

“I’m just happy to have the opportunity to practice my craft,” he said.

Blais recently started working part-time social media coordinator for a local organization.

And for those wondering if he got to eat the donuts while working on the video – Blais said that it was definitely a fun part of the process.

“You can’t have a bad donut,” he added.