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Giants of Africa

Media Arts students and grads contribute to Giants of Africa

February 21, 2016

Media Arts students gained some high-level experience as sound editors on a documentary which opened the NBA All-Star Weekend in February. The film Giants of Africa centres on the humanitarian outreach and basketball development initiative of Nigerian-born Masai Ujiri, President of the Toronto Raptors.

The only African-born senior executive of a North American sports franchise has returned to his home continent every summer since 2003 as part of his non-profit Giants of Africa (GOA) program. In the summer of 2015, Oscar-nominated director Hubert Davis (Hardwood, 2006) traveled with the GOA team for a behind-the-scenes look at the program. The resulting feature documentary was completed in time to kick off the NBA All Star festivities.

Working with such a tight deadline, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment producer Josiah Rothenberg reached out to his colleague and Sheridan professor Stephen Barden. Being a huge basketball fan and having traveled to Africa in the past, Barden was happy to be asked. Because of his teaching obligations, he couldn’t commit to working on the film full-time but secured job placements for students Natalie Leppik and Matthew Hearn (pictured above with Masai Ujiri). As Hearn and Leppik are also in the process of completing the audio post-production for their own capstone films, the timing of such high-level experiential learning was ideal.

"It was a real pleasure working on this film, not only as a learning experience, but also as part of the team,” said Hearn. "At school we get few opportunities to mix our own films, but in this instance, we saw a high profile re-recording mixer go through and mix an entire feature. The methods and tools he used are sure to stick with me as I move forward and mix my own films at Sheridan this year.”

Rothenberg expressed his respect for the efforts of his interns. “We were thrilled to be able to offer the opportunity to Natalie and Matt to join the MLSE team. Their contributions were key to a great-sounding film put together on a very compressed timeline.”

Director Hubert Davis echoed those sentiments. “The enthusiasm that Natalie and Matt brought to the sound edit for my film is evident from the quality of the track. I can’t thank them enough for their contribution.”

Because of the magnitude of work that needed to be done so quickly, Barden also arranged for Media Arts alumni Patton Rodrigues (2013), Kristi McIntyre (2013), Kayleigh Bell (2014) and Matthew Gordon (2015) to contribute to the sound editing work.

More about Sheridan’s Bachelor of Film and Television
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