The Cutting Edge 

Whistler Secondary Grad Jaron Albertin making his name in video

We’re well into June now and the end of another school year is in sight.

For the Whistler Arts Council this means another round of student art awards.

This year, a Grade 12 graduate from each of Whistler Secondary and Xit’olacw Community Schools will receive a $500 scholarship, and students from Whistler Secondary, Xit’olacw, Spring Creek, Myrtle Philip and Alta Lake Schools will receive bursaries up to $250 to be paid toward a summer arts-related camp or program.

The Arts Council has been recognizing student excellence since 1987, making for nearly two decades worth of past recipients.

In the spirit of the season, Pique arts reporter Shelley Arnusch tracked one past recipient down, all the way to the cutting edge…

Filmmaker Jaron Albertin has what is arguably the world’s strangest calling card.

Set to the dark and tedious sound of German techno music, a crew of sweaty, muscular men clad in neon yellow shorts perform synchronized cardio-aerobics with pastel ice-cream cone graphics above their heads.

It’s a music video in format, but for Albertin, it was simply an art project. He heard Ascii Disko’s music and obtained permission to use it by e-mailing the band directly. He then went in search of retro workout footage, finding the circa 1980s Calgary-produced community access TV program Men In Action at a library. The two elements were then cut together with some graphic embellishments.

The video turned out to be as compelling as it is ridiculous. It was exhibited in an art show at Vancouver gallery The Crying Room, and also chosen for RESFEST 2003 (a kind of Oscars for the experimental digital video set) last October. Its irony was not lost on the judging panel, who awarded Albertin best music video honours.

The exposure led to a spot on the roster of Softcitizen, an international video production house in Toronto, where the 25-year-old filmmaker’s experimental, European sensibility has flourished. He’s produced music videos for Solvent and Cut Copy and recently wrapped up production on an installation in a new advertising campaign for the Diesel fashion house.

Designed to be a series of dreamscapes, the advertising campaign allowed the selected filmmakers’ imaginations to run wild. Albertin doesn’t disappoint – his contribution involves an amorous naked couple on a galloping horse. He considers it one of the best things he’s done so far.

He may be directing international ad campaigns for innovative fashion houses now, but like Albertin says, a filmmaker’s "break out" is a media construct. There are always years of hard work that led them to that point and there will continue to be years of hard work ahead.

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