Media artists are needed more than ever during COVID

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Images:  Heather Cleveland, Stephan Reilly, Gabriela Vanden. Used with permission.

A couple of weeks ago we did an interview with a classical musician who told us how important the online environment is to musicians. With live performances cancelled, the online world is the only way for them to reach their audiences. Today we hear from a director of photography in the film world who says that musicians are keeping film makers busy.

And before that we take a dive into the world of video gaming. We wanted to include video game designers in this series because, first of all, it's an example of an industry that hasn't been hard hit by the pandemic. With so many people at home, the video gaming industry is booming. 

Stephan Reilly is a professional game designer, semi-professional writer and a self described completely amateur human trying his best to pay rent and make cool stuff. He is originally from Ontario, but has relocated to Halifax.  Follow along with his shenanigans on Twitter @StephanReilly.

Heather Cleveland is a game designer at HB Studios. She spent four years earning her bachelors in game design at Sheridan College in Ontario. After graduating in the spring of 2020 she packed up her life and moved to Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, and entered the video game industry as it shifted to remote work. She's been working from home since the beginning of pandemic. An interesting side note -- she started her job after the pandemic started, so she's never met some of her colleagues in person because nobody is going in to the office. She says she wouldn't recognize some of them if she ran into them in the grocery store.

And for the final interview, host Victoria Fenner caught up with Gabriela Vanden by phone while she was waiting for a train in Churchill, Manitoba, back on November 19. Gabriela tell us what she was doing way up there and why she was waiting for the train to take her back to Toronto. And also how she's been able to use COVID downtime for some reflection, rest and recharging.  She's created some innovative projects too.

Gabriela is a Venezuelan/Canadian cinematographer based in Toronto Canada. With a background in visual arts, she uses her intuitive esthetic sense to elevate the narrative of the projects she works on, whether that be documentary or fiction films. Volcano (2019) directed by Karen Moore and shot by Gabriela was selected and premiered at TIFF. Her work has screened at Hot Docs Canadian International Film Festival, Images festival and has been distributed by CBC, NFB, and TV5.  Her talent has led to opportunities outside of Canada, including the U.S., South America, Europe and Asia.

Her cinematography thesis The Rambler (2016) was selected to screen at CAMERIMAGE and won her an internship shadowing Phedon Papamicheal ASC GSC on Alexander Payne's Downsizing where she worked as a camera trainee on the Norway division of the 73-day shoot. She graduated from York University with a bachelor of fine Arts in honours film production. 

Images:  Heather Cleveland, Stephan Reilly, Gabriela Vanden. Used with permission.

Music theme for the series:  reNovation by airtone. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. 


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