A unique production written, directed and performed entirely by University of Saskatchewan students, Paper Airplanes finally made its big screen debut at the Broadway Theatre on April 1 after much local and national media hype.
This original web series was created using a team-based manufacturing model and chronicles the stories of four groups of university students as they attempt to navigate their way through the baffling and often terrifying maze that is adult life.
Paper Airplanes was initially created as a project for the media studies course “Creating for the 21st Century Screen” offered through the Digital Culture and New Media minor at the U of S. The team members were Thomas Bazin, Jacqueline Block, Andrew Hartman, Sarah Grummett, Dalton Mainil, Paul Panko, Christian Singh, Christina Sitkowski, Tyler Spink, Brandon Spink and Devin Wesnoski.
This dynamic group of 11 students collaborated on a 90-page script in which each individual took on a minimum of four production roles including directing, screenwriting, advertising and filming. This resulted in a creative and youthful presentation made and marketed exclusively for current and previous survivors of university life.
Despite the fact that many members of the project are new to the world of filmmaking, the series has received an overwhelming amount of positive feedback in the artistic and journalistic communities. In addition to an interview with Global Saskatoon and an article in the StarPhoenix, the series has received attention from major Canadian news publications such as the Vancouver Sun and the Ottawa Citizen.
The Broadway Theatre, known and loved for its support of aspiring independent artists, was the ideal venue for the fresh-faced filmmakers to share their work in Saskatoon.
“A lot of us had never made a movie before, especially not a feature-length film,” production manager Andrew Hartman said. “Now we’re going to be watching this on a theatre screen and that’s just mind-blowing.”
The cast of Paper Airplanes is made up of a collection of upper-year drama students who contribute to an absorbing performance that is highly relatable to those pursuing post-secondary education. The actors capture the ups and downs of academic and social life in a realistic way, attempting to shed some light on the often dark struggles common to young-adults.
“It has a lot of tear-wrenching moments, but it also has a lot of belly-laughter moments,” Hartman said. “We like to call it a dramedy.”
Paper Airplanes is not just film series; it represents an opportunity for talented young actors, writers and filmmakers to showcase their ideas in a fresh and innovative manner. Giving students the chance to participate in unique artistic projects such as this allows them to polish their skills in preparation for future career plans — perhaps even inspiring them to consider taking an entirely new path.
“Before this class I never intended to pursue film,” Hartman said. “But now I know it is something I want to do.”
It was well worth the trip to Broadway Avenue to support such a devoted and gifted group of students and share in the experience of seeing their months of hard work come to life. The laughter and heartache portrayed in Paper Airplanes is sure to charm both current university students and alumni.
The entire web series will be released for free online viewing at vimeo.com/channels/paperairplanesseries.