Two Years of Creating, Sharing & Celebrating Amazing Stories on Vancouver Island
Earlier this month, we celebrated our second birthday as Empress Avenue Media. We want to take this opportunity to reflect on some of our favourite projects and accomplishments to date, and express our immense gratitude for the support of our community.
When Empress Avenue Media was founded in 2018, we were a small team of two. Just a couple of passionate creatives eager to express our love for film and digital media, seizing every opportunity that came our way. From service production for TV movies, we pivoted to become a full-service digital agency offering web design, graphic arts, social media management, and much more. We couldn’t be more grateful to our amazing community in the Cowichan Valley and across Vancouver Island for letting us live out that dream of storytelling. Since then, our team has grown to over 10 full time and part-time collaborators, and our diversity of work has as well. As we cross this milestone, here’s a flashback to some of our highlights.
We filmed and edited hundreds of hours of stunning educational content
It was amazing to film and edit course content for one of our favourite accredited academic institutions on the Island. Pacific Rim College in Victoria BC is a veritable hub for world-leading holistic medicine and sustainable living ideas.
“It is an amazing feeling to know that these students are receiving the best education possible, with quality content that highlights the world’s beauty and promotes community healing in such a challenging time.” – Joseph Boutilier
In helping to create their online learning material, our aim was to create training videos that capture the aesthetic beauty and immediacy of their campus and in-person learning opportunities, as well as the depth of insight and inspiration that their instructors provide in-person. We had a blast filming and editing both the Community Herbalist and Home Herbalist program under the excellent direction of staff and instructors at Pacific Rim College Online, and we’re grateful that we completed videography before COVID-19 created substantial complications for both post-secondary learning and filmmaking alike. The timing, for once, was just right: Pacific Rim College Online has allowed more students to continue to learn flexibility and socially-distant. It is an amazing feeling to know that these students are receiving the best education possible, with quality content that highlights the world’s beauty and promotes community healing in such a challenging time.
We also had the chance to build some beautiful websites
Including a complete redevelopment of Pacific Rim College’s own website. Having the opportunity to create web and video for the same clients is fantastic because it allows us to foster cohesive brands and stories. With COVID-19, everyone is online. It is more important than ever for businesses to have a strong web presence, and we love making sure that’s possible for them. Making a strong first impression online is beneficial to any company, and will continuously draw new customers to your site. Technical creativity and problem-solving is as much an art as the visuals and design.
Always aiming to capture the perfect shot, it helps when our backdrop is beautiful Vancouver Island!
We helped up-and-coming influencers reach their goals online
Anna Hilberry is just getting started on YouTube, but she says it has already completely transformed her career as an investment advisor. “Creating videos to help share my financial knowledge with the world has been absolutely life-changing,” she says. “The exposure, recognition, and traction that I’ve gained has been substantial, with new clients, my company, and my online community.” It all comes down to connecting with an audience, authentically and energetically, in any way you can.
“Creating videos to help share my financial knowledge with the world has been absolutely life-changing” -Anna Hilberry
In Anna’s case, we let her do the filming. Our expertise comes in with the editing, branding, SEO and strategy that helps her maximize her reach. And Anna is just one of many examples of personal brands that have vastly expanded their reach online by adding value and intention to the work that they already do. Whether it’s a financial planner, a tree faller, a nutritional coach, local politician, dare-devil stunt driver or a record-breaking athlete, we’re delighted to help share a diversity of experiences and stories with the world. Creating this engaging online content lets our customers find new clients, build credibility in their field, foster a rapport within an online network, and increase the value of their brands, regionally and worldwide.
We shared stories that need to be heard.
Empress Avenue Media isn’t just a marketing agency on Vancouver Island, it’s also a globe-trotting production company for original films. Creating our debut short documentary, Penny Girl, started with a trip to Vancouver and wrapped up with a short trip to Lakeland, Florida, as we followed our subject, Frankie Edroff. Edroff is a legend of Victoria BC – a fundraising phenomenon and an inspiring young trans man living with a rare genetic disorder. Penny Girl chronicles Frankie’s journey to embrace his identity and reconcile with a past as challenging as it was rewarding. Discrimination has no place in love. We are so proud to have helped share Frankie’s wisdom and insights with the world, and we still can’t quite fathom the incredible bravery and resilience he demonstrated through the creation of our film. Penny Girl debuted on Telus OPTIK in July 2019, toured events like The Sante Fe Film Festival and has garnered over 40,000 organic views on Facebook and YouTube.
We also had the true honour of working with the Cowichan Tribes to document their work restoring the Cowichan River and remediating industrial lands in the Cowichan Valley, and learned how they’re embracing the teachings of past generations to rebuild salmon stocks and prevent the runaway spread of invasive species.
We can’t wait to tackle our own narrative feature film, but in the meantime, we’ve been able to help a number of other filmmakers complete their own movies. None has been quite as challenging, ambitious, or rewarding as C.R. Avery’s Victory on East Hastings; an art-house musical that dives frantically and bravely into Vancouver’s downtown eastside to debate – in its own playful way – the gentrification of a creative Mecca. Empress worked closely with Avery on all aspects of post production, handling the entire post process from transcoding to editing to mixing to motion graphics and colour grading. Despite the complications of COVID-19, this striking black and white motion picture will soon be making its international film festival debut.
We are proud and honoured to be able to acknowledge incredible work that otherwise goes unnoticed
We hope that Penny Girl was just the beginning; we aim to continue in this tradition with new, innovative documentaries that shed light on fascinating people and important ideas. We love to encourage the community to reflect on important issues and movements, and to respond thoughtfully and intentionally. We continue this work with Tug of War, a powerful point-of-view (‘POV’) documentary written and produced by our very own Development Coordinator, Mia Golden. Mia has spent years protecting vulnerable young people from predators and gang recruiters as a counsellor based in the West Shore. Tug of War follows Mia and her work partner as they walk the streets of Victoria BC, supporting young people who have been targeted for sexual exploitation and gang involvement. Tug of War is an emotional story about the tussles between parents, predators, police, youth, and community stakeholders. We originally pitched Tug of War last year, during another Storyhive competition, but are grateful to now have the opportunity to bring it to life with the support of the Government of British Columbia through their Community Safety and Crime Prevention Branch.
Tug of War follows our very own Mia Golden as she works to protect vulnerable teens from predators and gang recruiters.
We kept learning, exploring and discovering, together
COVID-19 has required us all to reinvent how we work and communicate. We are thankful that we have been able to keep working during such uncertain times, and had the ability to find new ways to engage and connect with the community. The past year has led us to explore a huge range of new and future projects and initiatives, including original web series, feature films, original interactive projects, and much more. What an unbelievable couple of years! We are so excited to see what our next year will hold, as we continue to create content that we are proud of, with the help of our amazing team. Be sure to follow us on our social channels to stay in the loop; one of our many, lofty goals is to produce a lot more original content to share our own story with the world. And if you’re looking to collaborate with an inventive digital media agency to introduce yourself to the world, maybe that story starts with you.
The Empress Avenue Media Team