Get Reel: Island student’s video tribute to fly-fishing earns filmmaking award

Campbell River’s Benjamin Bridle celebrates his school district’s unique fishing program

Benji Bridle’s film, Get Reel – A Look into the World of Youth Conservation, won Best Screenplay at the 2021 Vancouver Island Youth Film Festival February 26. Photo contributed

Benji Bridle’s film, Get Reel – A Look into the World of Youth Conservation, won Best Screenplay at the 2021 Vancouver Island Youth Film Festival February 26. Photo contributed

It turns out that the Carihi Fly Fishing program is producing not only avid anglers and knowledgeable conservationists but filmmakers as well.

Grade 11 student Benjamin “Benji” Bridle won Best Screenplay for his video Get Reel at the 2021 Vancouver Island Youth Film Festival on Feb. 26. Bridle took the project on as a challenge. He already is an avid participant in the Campbell River School District’s innovative fly fishing program and was challenged to put together a video for the VIYFF – even though the deadline was days away.

“I gave it my best shot and challenged myself,” Bridle said. “I am super fortunate to be in the class and I have this passion for fishing and conservation and that’s what I wanted to project out to the world (through the film).”

The VIYFF is a film festival for youth aged 15-30 from all over Vancouver Island. Films of all genres are encouraged and a theme for entries is set.

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The Carihi fly-fishing program is actually no longer exclusive to Carihi Secondary where it began. It has been expanded to include all of School District 72 students, meaning the city’s other highschool, Timberline, participates in it as well.

RELATED: Carihi fly fishing program is no more

The program is a blend of fly-fishing, environmental conservation and English Language Arts open for students from Grades 9 to 12. The students are frequently seen out on one of Carihi’s school fieldsin two rows practising their casting. The students then get out on local lake and rivers to put their skills to the test. The program enjoys a lot of support from the community.

Bridle put his film together in 10 days and, of course, it involved getting some of his classmates out on the water as subjects of his camera. Actually, Bridle used his iPhone to shoot the entire film. He then edited it on Apple’s native iMovie video editing app. It was Bridle’s first deliberate attempt at making a film, although he has edited many video clips.

“This was my first thing that I have put together by myself,” he said.

The project was completed in 10 days and the resulting five-minute film waxes poetically about the fly-fishing program, fly-fishing in general and conservation. He expresses a joy of fishing but also the need to take responsibility for the environment.

It is narrated by two people, Bridle himself and program teacher Nic Pisterzi.

Although the resulting script earned him the Best Screenplay award, Bridle said he was mostly focused on putting together video images. For the script he just spoke from the heart about his love for fly-fishing and nature.

“When I walk the banks of the river I am reminded every day of those who came before me and how important it is to protect our waters,” Bridle narrates in the film.

As a teacher, Pisterzi also puts the program into perspective in the film.

“These kids are our future leaders, conservationists, stewards of the water and the land,” Pisterzi says. “I tell them that my greatest hope is they’ll get excited about fishing and they’ll want to take their kids and their great-grandkids out to fish the waters that they so love.”

For Bridle it wasn’t about the writing, it was about the love of fishing. For the filming he used a basic iPhone as well as a drone.

“I haven’t really invested a ton of money into some nice camera gear,” Bridle says, although he’s now got a bit of the filmmaking bug and may look at acquiring some more video-specific gear.

“This is my first film and I hope it starts a new chapter in my life,” Bridle said. “It’s something I really enjoy doing.”

RELATED: Campbell River high school to teach the majesty of nature through fishing

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