Thank you for entrusting us with your stories. We look forward to more adventures with you this year. We wish our team, clients, audiences, family and community all the best in 2023.
our goals for 2023 – what’s coming up this year?
Happy New Year! Here at Empress, we like to think about our New Year’s “resolutions” as adventures we want to embark on, not just goals we want to accomplish. This is an opportunity to look at the different parts of our lives – creatively, financially, and in terms of health, learning, our role in our greater ecosystem and community – and reflect on what we can improve.
new year goal #1: creativity
Make something everyday! “I think music gives me an ability to face a challenge head on,” says young clarinetist and composer Camilo Aybar. In our upcoming short documentary film, The Sound of a Pandemic, we follow Camilo and the success of his first symphony, which he wrote about the Covid 19 pandemic during lockdown.
If there’s anything we’ve learned from Camilo, it’s to embrace all the imperfections and chaos of life, and make art anyway. We may not always be creating a perfect masterpiece, but the act of creating in and of itself might just be what gets us through.
Stay tuned for more about the short documentary. We started principal photography in January!
new year goal #2: finances
It’s never too early or late to get money smart! Anna Hilberry has been on a mission to bring financial literacy to our fingertips with her YouTube channel. And part of being smart with your money is being secure with all the latest ways we access our accounts online. Check out this important video for steps on how to protect yourself, and be sure to subscribe to Anna’s channel for more helpful tips on taking care of your finances this new year.
For interested viewers in the Calgary area, check out Laurel Hickey’s channel, which she runs with her team at iii Global Wealth.
new year goal #3: health
Get moving! We know it’s a bit cliche to have a workout resolution for the new year. But after seeing all the Polar Bear Plunges happening across Canada, we’ve been refreshed and inspired to get outside and push ourselves to our limits! Do you love the outdoors and feel ready to get outside your comfort zone? The Jen Segger Adventure Racing Program might be just the thing for you!
Not quite ready to commit? Check out Jen’s inspirational videos and get hyped up!
new year goal #4: learning
Learn something new! We’re always looking to expand our horizons and learn new skills. We’re so grateful to have many talented team members, and we like to host a workshop every year, so that our team can exchange their amazing knowledge and skills with each other.
Pacific Rim College is gifting 6 free mini lessons when you subscribe to their newsletter (scroll down to the light green box). We loved helping Pacific Rim College film and edit these, and hundreds of other insightful courses. It’s a joy to learn and create with the team at Pacific Rim College. Between the dreamy backdrops of Ravenhill Farm and the Pacific Rim’s downtown Victoria campus, the exceptional content and material, and especially the outstanding teachers and staff behind the scenes, learning something new has never been more enjoyable.
We can’t help but include this one. Self care can take on many forms. For us, a vital part of our self care routine is getting out and soaking in the beautiful natural world that surrounds us! As Cowichan Valley locals, we jump on any opportunity to get outside, bathe in our beautiful Vancouver Island rainforests, be with our furry friends, observe the wild ones around us, and simply breathe. We know we are better humans, filmmakers and storytellers, when we are connected to the land around us, our community, and ourselves.
And we know that part of taking care of ourselves is to take care of this lovely little slice of Pacific Northwest where we live and work. We love to jump on any chance to show the world the beauty of this land and our community, so we are honoured to connect with local storytellers and change-makers, including Orca Cove Media. Their latest feature film tackles the issue of stolen First Nations artifacts through the creative lens of an action-comedy adventure. The Great Salish Heist is sure to be a must-see. Follow us and Orca Cove Media for all the latest news and behind the scenes sneak peaks.
This year, we celebrated 4 years of storytelling in the Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island. This one may have been our busiest season (and year) ever! We’ve been working on the set of a new indie film, The Great Salish Heist, which officially wrapped on September 30th, on Truth and Reconciliation Day.
This is the first Indigenous heist film that has ever been made. It’s also the 5th feature we’ve worked on that was filmed almost entirely in the Cowichan Valley. The Great Salish Heist reflects our local landscapes, communities, cultures and issues. It follows the story of Steve Joe, a First Nations archaeologist. Joe forms a team of like-minded outsiders to reclaim from a museum the sacred artifacts that rightfully belong to his people.
we’re celebrating 4 years of storytelling on vancouver island!
We’ve created a short video to reflect on another successful year and the completion of some groundbreaking new film projects. Here’s a look at some of our work as a studio so far, and what’s coming soon.
2018 – empress avenue media is born to tell your story
Trouble • Music Video for Decades After Paris
Welcome to Pacific Rim College Online • Advertisement
Ryan Painter for SD61 School Board • Promotional Campaign Video
Against the beautiful wooded backdrop of the Cowichan Valley, Joseph and Emrey formed Empress Avenue Media in 2018. They brought together a team of diverse and like-minded local artists and digital professionals from all over Vancouver Island. We worked together out of a funky heritage-home-turned-production-studio. What began as an experiment has turned into a blossoming boutique agency. Today, the team is busy providing service production for feature films, developing documentaries, promotional videos, and online courses. We also manage websites, commercial campaigns, social media accounts, and more. Interested in our services? Get in touch.
2019 – fueled by local storytelling on vancouver island
Penny Girl • Short Documentary for Telus Storyhive about Frankie Edroff
After growing up as a fundraising celebrity, the ‘Penny Girl,’ a young trans man living with a rare genetic disorder embraces his new identity.
In 2019, we added several talented creatives to our team, including a dedicated graphic designer and a couple of passionate young film editors. Our weekly team meetings included an aspiring writer’s group – a reflection of our mission to tell local stories and raise up the storytellers in our community.
2020 – big dreams, perseverance and relentless creativity
3 Short Documentary films for Cowichan Tribes
This series of short documentaries for Cowichan Tribes we produced showcases the sustainability work the members are doing for their community and beyond.
Making adjustments as we faced new challenges meant some of our big dreams for an improved office space were paused. Our team members started working from home, and our weekly meeting became virtual. Looking back, we’re proud of how our team stayed together and how much we still accomplished despite all the changes.
The remote work technology that became much more accessible during the pandemic was a game changer for us. Constantly split between film sets and office work, our team was able to stay well-connected. Thanks to our incredible hard-working crew and their resourceful use of technology, we were able to continue competing with agencies in hot-spot locations like Vancouver.
2021 – storytelling with feature films on vancouver island
In 2021, Empress’s first independent feature film, Fragile Seeds, arrived on the international film festival circuit. This film was written and produced by our team’s own Development Coordinator Mia Golden, who also starred in the lead role. She was inspired by her real-life career as a social worker, Much of her own experience has been woven into the script and her performance. The drama/thriller explores themes of violence, survival, empathy, and healing.
Helping You Achieve Your Dreams Through Finances • Promotional Video for the Hilberry Group and National Bank Financial
Smoke Alarm & Carbon Monoxide Safety • PSA for Township of Esquimalt
KDC: Year in Review 2021 • Short Documentary for Khowutzun Development Corporation
As Empress grew, we began to specify our focus. We worked alongside local Indigenous communities and organizations who share our passion for environmental sustainability. We tell the stories of local heroes and create independent content driven by our own team’s raw talent and unique voices.
We’re informed by the awe-inspiring place where we live and work: the unceded territories of the Coast Salish people – and specifically of the Cowichan Tribes. We acknowledge the privilege of calling these beautiful lands our home. And we are so excited to work closer with a diversity of community members.
This past year has held space for many amazing projects on our to-do lists. In no particular order, here are some of the highlights: Tied to a Lie, Holistic Nutrition Online, The Great Salish Heist, and New Voices.
Tied to a Lie • Short Documentary for Public School Use (Various) • Excerpt
Mia continues to prove what a force she is, spearheading the short documentary titled Tied to a Lie, which is currently in rotation within middle schools. The film pulls back the curtain on the growing threat posed by human traffickers, and empowers youth to keep themselves safe and access protective resources. Soon we will be releasing a more mature, feature length version documentary film: Tied to a Lie.
Holistic Nutrition Online
Plus, a new program from Pacific Rim College has officially launched. Plus, you can now get 6 free mini lessons by signing up for their newsletter. It’s such a joy to learn and create with Pacific Rim College. The dreamy backdrops of Ravenhill Farm and the PRC online classroom, the content and material, and especially the teachers and staff behind the scenes. It’s always an amazing day when we shoot with PRC. Check out their latest program here, and find more bonus videos on the Pacific Rim College YouTube channel.
The Great Salish Heist (now in post-production)
As well as having offered creative development support, our office served as the local basecamp during filming. Many of our valued team members held key positions on set and behind the scenes, including Empress co-founders Emrey Wright and Joseph Boutilier who served as a producer and cinematographer, respectively. Furthermore, Empress Avenue Media will be handling VFX, colour grading and post-production finishing.
We are honoured to contribute to the telling of Indigenous stories, the future of diverse media, and the inclusion of more authentic characters and voices on the big screen. Thank you and congratulations to Orca Cove Media and the talented Darrell Dennis (director, writer and star!), and of course the whole cast and crew! It has been a pleasure to support this amazing project.
Here’s another notable project to be on the lookout for. We feel it’s integral for every community – no matter how small – to have a chance to tell their own stories. What’s more, we love creating opportunities for folks to do so and for sharing their stories far and wide. Showcasing the diverse and incredible work and lives of our neighbours and friends is exactly what we’re here to do!
Looking forward, we are always looking to add new talent to our team. This year, we’ve been fortunate to have a super-organized bookkeeper, several talented video editors, and a new project manager join our team in key roles! The diverse voices of our team is what sets us apart at Empress Avenue Media. And central to our vision is that our team members each set their own creative goals and feel empowered in the projects they take on. The result is that we are all passionate about the work we do, and it shows! Think you’ve got what it takes? Get in touch, we’d love to meet you.
Our creative lens and love for crafting unique media lies at the root of everything we do. We’re so grateful to be able to find the balance of supporting local businesses – like adventure racing coach Jen Segger, financial advisors Anna Hilberry and Laurel Hickey, Veridis Plumbing and Heating, and Pacific Rim College – and uplifting the voices of local artists, movers, and shakers by creating our own unique narrative content. There are so many important voices to amplify in our little corner of the island, and we’re just getting started.
Now let’s raise our glasses to another incredible year of filmmaking: here’s to 4 years working with a talented team of storytellers, and to a bright future for creativity on Vancouver Island. Thanks for sharing this journey with us!
we’re just getting started telling stories on vancouver island…
thanks for watching, reading and following. happy holidays and happy new year!
the opportunity to create a meaningful and unforgettable digital presence
Not only do we love the work we do, we also love to hear from our clients about how we were able to bring their visions to life. We value the opportunity to transform concept to content on a wide range of projects that inspire our creativity, and allow us to help you tell the stories of our community and clients in meaningful ways. Our mission is to make your digital presence meaningful and unforgettable for businesses across Vancouver Island.
Whether through web development, film production, marketing or something in between, we are always working to combine the skills and expertise of all of our talented team members. We believe the best results are achieved with thoughtful collaboration between our team and our clients. Teamwork makes the dream work!
With full rebranding initiatives, online education integrations, videography, social media management, graphic design, copywriting, search engine marketing, web design, and more, our full-service approach helps our clients create a well-rounded presence online, and beyond.
Veridis Plumbing & Heating came to us to modernize their website, include a new online shop platform, and to expand their reach with SEO (search engine optimization) and SEM (search engine marketing). Now we continue to work with them to optimize their reach. Informed by our our ongoing market research and our experience engaging the attention of today’s web user in the fast-paced digital world, we create strategic, high-performing content.
film & video production
It’s Anna Hilberry’s job to know risk inside and out as a financial advisor, so you can take her word for it that working with us is an excellent investment in your brand. Anna is a key member of The Hilberry Group in Duncan, which is supported through the parent brand of the National Bank of Canada.
We’ve been fortunate to have also worked with fantastic brand representatives at The National Bank of Canada to make sure all of Anna’s branding speaks to their national goals, while also reflecting Anna’s local priorities and unique voice.. We help Anna edit and distribute weekly social media videos to promote financial literacy, keeping a close eye on trends and updating graphics, SEO and other related content to ensure that her videos are performing at their best.
project development, branding & graphic design
This means a lot, coming from the legendary endurance athlete Jen Segger. We’ll climb social media mountains for you any day, Jen! Our latest project with Jen is her newest online training program: Adventure Racing. With beginner and intermediate options, Adventure Racing is a thrilling combination of trail running, paddling and mountain biking through highly technical outdoor environments. We really pulled this one together as a team, combining video production with graphic design and copywriting to create a complete online course with tutorial videos and comprehensive written training modules and schedules. Working alongside Jen, we made sure that the course had all the content needed to support students of various levels in their adventure racing aspirations.
ongoing creative support
Whether the project is a short-term media campaign, a one-off video ad, or a large-scale project such as a website or company brand, we are here for ongoing creative support throughout the project and afterwards!
Our services include creative branding and graphic design, functional and dynamic web development, engaging and aesthetic video production and photography, product development, social media marketing, project management, consulting, and more. We work with you to develop and deliver effective film, web and social media creations that inspire engagement and foster meaningful brand loyalty.
Running a business is hard enough without worrying about advertising, social media and brand awareness. Let us take care of all your digital media needs and save time and money with our customizable bundles. These strategic packages combine branding, social media marketing, graphic arts, photography, video, copywriting and web design products to tell the world who you are and why you matter. Our mission is to make branding easy and unforgettable for businesses across Vancouver Island.
A well-designed logo is the polished, professional handshake of your brand. It is often the first impression, and in this increasingly digital world, it is the familiar face that assures your audience that they are in the right place. A logo communicates consistency and the confidence of quality and professionalism. Did you know? We offer logo design and motion logo design for local Vancouver Island businesses and beyond!
Your logo is the foundation of your entire brand. The colours, fonts, and imagery of the logo set the stage from which your story is told. In this blog post, we’re sharing some tips and talking about how we approach designing a logo with and without motion at our design studio in the Cowichan Valley.
– Identify key information about your brand, and convey your brand values;
– Leave a visual impact on your customers, build brand recognition and make your brand memorable;
– Take on more than one form, so that customers can identify your brand wherever you are – online and in person!
The 3 Main Elements of Any Logo:
Here is some key language to help translate your vision into a tangible logo. A wordmark or logotype is the typographic representation of your brand, and a brandmark or logomark is the visual representation of your brand. The entirety of the logo may sometimes be referred to as a combination mark.
Typography (The Wordmark or Logotype)
If you want to talk about the text part of the logo, it’s helpful to know some basics about typography. From a simple monogram to the full name of the business, how much text you have, as well as the typeface you choose, all of these details can bring a lot of background meaning to the logo.
With our logo, we chose Bodoni, a historically meaningful font in the world of graphic design. We hope that the clean, straight lines convey the meticulous attention to detail and pride we take in our work as a media company.
Images (The Brandmark or Logomark)
Your logo may have symbols, icons or an image that is representative of your brand. This can be something abstract, employing some simple lines or shapes to accentuate certain features of the text. It can also be the main focal point, telling the story of your brand.
For us, we wanted to emphasize an idea of “home”: the idea of coming home, the parts of a place that make it feel like home, where we are, and how we are a part of and support our local community. It was important to us, in a digital world, to have our logo represent us, real people who work at a real place in the world, and with a path towards it, welcoming you to find and approach us. Later on, this path became an important feature in the animation of our logo.
It may be worthwhile to do a quick search on the colour you wish to use. For example, “the meaning of blue” comes back with this result: “Blue is a serene and calming color that represents intelligence and responsibility. Blue is cool and relaxing. Light baby blue is peaceful, while dark blue can signify depth and power.”
Remember that these connotations are not always set in stone, and there can be more than one way to interpret any image. For example, while red is often associated with danger and debt, most Canadian banks have chosen red logos and branding. The colour red can also represent power, energy, confidence and action. More about colours and their possible meanings.
Any of these three elements should be able to exist on their own or in some combination. For example, a good logo would still work in black and white, or in a single colour, and still be as recognizable as it would be in full colour. (Even if the colour version is the ideal version, we should still be able to get the feeling of it without the colour). And the same goes for having the text without the image (if there is an image).
It can be a bit trickier to go without the text, especially as a new brand. If you would like to see your logo with less text, try opting for a monogram or abbreviation. Also ask your designer about placing the text into the image, for example, utilizing a shield, circle or other identifying shape. You might like to search “beverage logos” to find some examples of this strategy.
Motion graphics are becoming increasingly common, even in everyday social media posts, because our eyes are drawn to motion. Utilizing this increasingly ubiquitous technology will help your brand stand out in a crowded marketplace. One of the simplest, most accessible ways to get on board with this is to have a moving logo. You can add this element to almost any online content, and it can help take your images and videos to the next level and capture the attention of your audience that much better.
If you already know that you would like to have your logo animated or go through some motion for video content, it’s helpful to consider that in your logo plans from the beginning. For example, if you are envisioning a spinning type of motion, it may be helpful for symmetry that the logo be contained in a circle.
Chances are high that the motion(s) your logo will eventually take on will be key information for the still logo. And you will definitely want the logo to be recognizable in either form, maybe even with evidence of its motion form in the still version.
We will need a vector form of your logo to get started. This means that your logo will be scalable to any size without sacrificing quality (i.e. without pixelation) – that’s super important when we start moving it around. Was your logo made by us? No sweat, we’ve already got this! Otherwise, if we can grab a vector form from your previous designer, that will work. If that’s not possible, we can vectorize an image file for you as well.
It’s also useful to have each part of your logo on a separate layer, which will allow it to move independently from the other parts. Again, this is something we can help with if you don’t already have it set up.
Motion Logo Design on Vancouver Island
We design motion logos that:
– Convey your brand values PLUS that special something extra!
– Leave a visual impact on your customers, build brand recognition and make your brand memorable. We ensure your brand’s key values are recognizable throughout the motion.
– Are accessible! We want you to use the motion logo as much as possible so you can enjoy the rewards of a flashier logo.
The 3 Main Elements of Any Motion Logo:
Zooming in or out from an object, or playing with the size of the logo (or a part of it) can be one way to introduce motion. If there is one element of the logo that stands out, it can be useful to focus on that, and then zoom out to reveal the entire logo.
The Empress Avenue logo scales up to size subtly in the beginning of this animation as a visual arrival along with the motion of the truck. This supports our core story of coming home.
Position (and Rotation)
There are three axes of position and rotation in motion design. It may be useful to imagine the motion of a camera to understand this element. Camera movements include dolly in, dolly out, pan, tilt, truck (moving left and right), and pedestal (moving the camera up and down). It is often best to use one of these movements at a time, but it depends on the effect you would like to achieve. For example, using a combination of these movements especially in quick succession can give viewers the impression of instability or excitement.
Colour or Opacity
We want to answer the question: what additional information does the motion give to your customer? Although the motion will make your logo more “catchy” on its own, it’s always good to think about more ways to convey key information to your customers. For example, if the colour becomes brighter, this may suggest that your brand or product will literally “brighten” someone’s day or life. If you have several brand colours, transitioning through them can be a good way to make your brand more memorable and recognizable in different contexts or posts.
A similar effect can be achieved through opacity. Fading in allows the logo to become more clear, or come into full vision.
How about transforming an entire scene to show what your logo is all about? One of the most exciting things about motion design is that it is not bound by physical possibilities. Chances are, if you can visualize it, we can bring it to life!
Be Careful of these Common Pitfalls in Logo Design
Doing the same things as the competition. For example, using the exact image of your product in the logo. (It may be redundant!) If a tech company can use an apple as their logo, it’s proof that you don’t need to be illustrating your product in your own logo. That is a recipe for a generic logo, and you want to stand out.
Over-complicating it. Our advice is that you would want your customers (even the ones who claim they can’t draw) to be able to do a pretty good sketch of your logo. Of course, it doesn’t have to be a perfect rendering of your logo, but you should be able to recognize it. They should be able to describe it to a friend, who would recognize the description.
Following a trend, especially with fonts. It might be tempting to use a fancy, decorative font; however, you should try to avoid it in your logo and core brand, as you want these to endure the test of time. Go ahead with using decorative fonts in seasonal posts and wherever else you like.
Pulling out all the stops, all at once. It’s important to remember that we can really only pay attention to one thing at a time. So it may be overwhelming to your audience if a lot of things are happening at once. We recommend changing one thing at a time; while some overlap is usually fine, in general, less is more!
Keep it simple and meaningful. Your logo doesn’t have to fly across the screen to grab the audience’s attention. A simple flash of shine or gentle nudge of motion can be more than enough to draw in the eye. The word “animation” stems from the Latin “animātiōn”, stem of “animātiō”, meaning “a bestowing of life”. Think of what this means for a logo. For the logo to feel alive, it could “breathe” or “blink”… What gives your brand “life”?
We shared some tips about logo design (with and without motion) from our design studio on Vancouver Island. We want to hear from you – what are your questions about logo design?
Don’t feel discouraged if it takes a long time and a lot of back and forth to get your logo to match your vision. It’s an investment to create a good logo, and you want to make sure it is as close to perfect as possible. It’s worthwhile to get it right and your designer is there to help, so if you have any hesitations, do try to let them know right away. In this case, the more information the better!
Together, they’re a great representation of just how varied our output is, and the ever-expanding skillset of our diverse team. But, like all our work, they share one important thing in common: the potential to challenge you, provide joy, and foster transformation. So no matter what your New Years resolutions are for 2022, we have a project for you!
To transform your home and garden
Veridis Plumbing & Heating
Our friends at Veridis Plumbing & Heating have not only revamped their sprawling showroom of beautiful home heating, bathroom and outdoor living options, but they’ve also started selling their vast lineup of quality products online. We’re happy to have helped by creating their online storefront, and supplying some of the photos and videos for their entirely new website that will be launching in the New Year! If you have any big renovations planned for 2022, you’ll want to check it out.
You would never know from her modest introductions, but Jen Segger is a big deal in the world of competitive trail running and adventure racing. Besides a number of high-profile podium finishes – not to mention participating in the Amazon Prime exclusive series World’s Toughest Race: Eco Challenge Fiji – Jen is a well known coach for up-and-coming athletes at all stages of competition. Through a growing offering of web courses, we’ve helped Jen bring her years of experience to an online audience, allowing anyone in the world to benefit from her insights as they learn and train at their own pace. And in 2022, we couldn’t be more excited to help Jen launch her first online adventure racing program, creating guidebooks, video content, and interactive web materials. This innovative sprint program will cover strength building, nutrition, injury prevention, mental preparation, gear acquisition, lifestyle tips, and of course a complete, in-depth training calendar. It will also be Jen’s first online course to feature professional training videos to cover key trail running techniques. Sign up for email updates and get started here JenSegger.com. Early sign-ups will get a huge discount, but hurry, that’s only until February 28, 2022!
To edit and colour the film, we had to completely overhaul our post studio to handle the magnificent 6K raw digital footage. Beyond the technical challenges, the film underwent some major creative shifts and revisions under C.R.’s careful direction, and we ended up creating entirely new sequences from scratch using found footage and original motion graphics and animation. We also created all the stylistic chapter headings and title sequences in the film, including its iconic title card.
Through a series of biting, bizarre, hilarious and heartfelt musical vignettes, Victory on East Hastings reflects the changing landscape of Vancouver’s eastside and the alternative communities crushed by gentrification. Check out the official trailer over on our YouTube channel, and book tickets at the Rio while you still can!
To learn more about where you live…
Mount Tzouhalem might just be the single most iconic mountain on Vancouver Island, and it’s certainly a defining landmark of the Cowichan Valley. But how much do you actually know about its namesake, Chief Tzouhalem? For the first time, the fascinating history of this larger-than-life figure has been captured on film, in a feature length documentary from Orca Cove Media. The film weaves together oral history from local Elders with academic reflections and creative re-enactments, as directors Harold C. Joe and Leslie D. Bland dive deep into the many interpretations of Tzouhalem’s legacy.
We had the profound honour of directing cinematography for the reenactments, and working on the visual effects needed to bring them to life. By combining original Green Screen footage with manipulated shots of present-day locations, we were able to bring to life various vignettes of Chief Tzouhalem’s life on the actual landscapes where they occurred. We also had the pleasure of creating the original poster art for the movie, featuring Harold Joe as Chief Tzouhalem. (As a fun aside, you can also catch Harold Joe in his other capacity as an Archaeological Monitor in our short documentaries on Cowichan Tribes’ remediation work). Tzouhalem has already played at a number of prestigious film festivals including Whistler. Keep watching Orca Cove’s website and social media for future screenings.
…And the challenges in your community
Tug of War
We’re also still hard at work on two upcoming documentaries exploring the issue of youth exploitation in BC. From gang recruitment, the opioid crisis, sexual exploitation and sex trafficking, our films demonstrate that this issue is tragically alive and thriving in Island communities and across the Lower Mainland. We wrapped principal photography in 2021 that will support both projects: a youth-friendly short film called Tied to a Lie, which will tour middle and secondary schools across the province; and Tug of War, a challenging feature documentary for broadcast. Despite delays due to COVID-19, we’re excited for both films to make their respective debuts in 2022.
Follow our social media channels for the latest information on both releases, as well as insightful clips and comments from counselors, resource providers, police officers, experts and youth who are fighting to break – or break free from – the cycle of exploitation and violence.
From gang recruitment, the opioid crisis, sexual exploitation and sex trafficking our film highlights that this issue is very much alive and thriving in our communities.
This is just the beginning
These are just a handful of the projects that are helping us kick off 2022.
We asked our team what their priorities were for the upcoming year, and identified some favourite ‘focus words’. Amongst them: Story, Energy, Alignment, Relationship and Growth. (Also Mantis, because bugs are cool). We’re excited to see these qualities weave into our upcoming films and videos, interactive courses and multimedia art projects as we slowly regroup and regain capacity in the wake of COVID-19.
Thank you again to our amazing team, our clients and all our supporters, without whom we wouldn’t exist. And thanks to you for reading, connecting and following our journey!
We’re looking forward to another amazing year at our little studio in Cobble Hill. But before we ring in the New Year, here are some of our favourite projects we had the pleasure of working on in 2021. Stay tuned for next week when we review even more accomplishments from the past twelve months that we’re excited to finally share in 2022!
In 2021, we wrapped up post production on our first ever narrative feature film! It’s been a labour of love, but we couldn’t be happier with the results. The dramatic thriller follows Ryann Temple, a therapist working with sex offenders, who uncovers haunting secrets in her family’s past through the disturbed men she counsels every day. Mia Golden, our development coordinator, played the starring role, and also wrote the script and co-produced the film with Emrey Wright, Joseph Boutilier and Ana-Maria Butcura. The world premiere took place at the Hamilton Film Festival in November, where it sold out in its original venue in less than a day! But if you missed it, make sure you follow us on Facebook and Instagram for lots of exciting news on additional screenings in 2022. You can also check out the film’s official teaser trailer here.
Pacific Rim College Online
Filming with our friends at Pacific Rim College Online is always such a wonderful experience! It was great to be back in the gardens and kitchen of the beautiful Ravenhill Herb Farm to film an entirely new online program for the acclaimed school of holistic practices (have you heard about this historical Saanichton farm? If not, definitely have a read about their interesting history!) We’re excited to be working on the post-production for over 50 hours of new content through the first half of 2022. We may be a little biased, but if you’re looking at learning something new this year, we highly recommend having a look at the herbal medicine, health, holistic nutrition, and sustainability courses that Pacific Rim College Online has to offer. And if you haven’t already, check out the teaser we previously created for their incredible Community Herbalist Program.
Khowutzun Development Corporation
You might have noticed a special little sign behind the Duncan Village mall in the heart of the Cowichan Valley. That logo was designed by our graphic design team around the incredible work of local artist, Stuart Pagaduan, who illustrated the iconic “O” within the word Khowutzun. It’s been amazing to work on the branding for Khowutzun Development Corporation, along with their freshly revamped website and tons of new photo and video content. We love using our media skills to support local businesses and initiatives, and working with KDC has been a special honour.
Growing Hope Documentary
Another local project, Growing Hope started out as a Storyhive pitch. The documentary centers around Tracy Parow, the executive director of Providence Farm, a therapeutic farm community for people living with diverse mental abilities, age-related illnesses, brain injuries and developmental challenges. With the help of a diverse care team, Tracy has been coping with her own PTSD while preparing Providence Farm for a second wave of COVID-19 with half the usual staff. Every day is a new struggle, but the community is resilient, and hope grows right alongside the farm’s garlic, squash and apples. Our second short documentary with Telus Optik and Storyhive, Growing Hope will be released in the summer of 2022.
North Vancouver Island Aboriginal Training Society
Our web development team has been hard at work this year. With COVID-19 and other community challenges, NVIATS recognized the need to bring its skills training programming online. Now, more people can access these services for free, in more ways, from more communities, while learning at their own pace. With the website and branding redesign, we made sure to honour the existing material, while raising the bar in accessibility, functionality and aesthetic design. Now the website includes interactive, online course content for the first time, and a clean, streamlined new appearance inspired by original First Nations design elements. Its dynamic layout is optimized to support all screen sizes, devices and internet speeds. Welcome to the new NVIATS.com.
A financial advisor with The Hilberry Group on Vancouver Island, Anna has kept us informed on financial matters throughout the pandemic via her growing YouTube channel. We edit Anna’s videos and make sure everything looks consistent with her brand and that of her parent company, National Bank Financial (NBF). In 2021 we had the unique privilege of meeting Jonathan Durocher, President of NBF, and other colleagues of Anna while filming a retrospective of her collaborative work with the company. Subscribe to Anna’s channel today – we promise you’ll learn some valuable insights that will help you grow your own financial security in 2022!
Esquimalt Fire Department
Our film production and editing teams also worked on a smoke alarm safety video for Esquimalt Fire Department this year. We worked closely with the department to develop clear, accurate messaging using a combination of candid interviews with experts, an original script and storyboard. Then we filmed live action video, which was combined with original motion graphics in post-production. The video reaches a broader audience, with a memorable, accessible campaign to address some of the most common issues in preventative safety: smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.
And So Much More…
In our next post, we’ll be sharing some emerging details on several new films and interactive projects that have kept us busy throughout 2021 and we’ll finally be able to share in 2022.
In the meantime, we owe a huge thank you to our amazing team, our clients and all our supporters this year. Can’t wait for another year full of exciting opportunities and projects. Happy New Year!
how the cowichan valley is getting #backtowork after the first wave of covid-19
After a year of political and economic uncertainty, COVID-19 and – let’s be honest, 2020 in general – has made the last few years look like a walk in the park.
Imagine if Earth was a highly anticipated TV show, returning to the galaxy for a long awaited reboot with all the original cast. But instead of the usual ensemble and sitcom humour, this season of Earth shows up with a chaotic plot of disruption & drama, featuring a ‘special guest’ that nobody asked for. It’s not quite the return to form that we were all hoping for.
At the start of COVID-19, the future in BC was especially uncertain. Vancouver Island seems to have gone through the worst of the first wave with some of the lowest health impacts in the country, but the ripple effects on the local economy in towns like Duncan are impossible to overstate. Business has slowly begun to return with restrictions loosening, and as a community, we should be proud of how we’ve weathered this storm.
We are inspired by how our fellow small businesses in the Cowichan Valley have pulled together to boost each other up and stay active. The city has facilitated the repurposing of sidewalks to enable take out and patio service for restaurants. Patrons have demonstrated amazing loyalty as entertainment venues move to reservation systems, and stores adapt to curbside pick-up. The Caprice theatre was among the first cinemas in Canada to re-open, with numerous measures in place to ensure the safety of its visitors. With a slate of classic films, walking in takes you back to another time, but it’s still hard to forget the strange situation we find ourselves in.
Meanwhile at our little studio in Cobble Hill, we’re grateful to have remained busy throughout. We are proud to be part of the solution, bringing business back to the Cowichan Valley. Our goal has always been to connect businesses with their communities, and we thrive on the challenge of doing that under these incredible circumstances.
so what’s different at Empress Avenue Media these days?
The Empress team has been able to adapt over the last few months by working completely remotely. This has involved countless meetings through zoom, and continuous communications via phone and a growing collection of online tools like Slack, Asana, Tick,Vimeo and more. COVID has also changed how we manage project files, such as videos that can top 15TB of data. One of our video crew was stuck in Ontario for over a month due to travel restrictions. The rest of us have been stuck in isolation, and craving the ability to bounce ideas around face-to-face. After all, the creative energy of working together is one of the reasons we founded Empress in the first place.
“After all, the creative energy of working together is one of the reasons we founded Empress in the first place.”
Due to projects pausing, shoots being cancelled, and limitations on access to the office, our focus has also changed. Our team has tackled a much higher percentage of editing projects than usual. As demands for content grow in a hungry Entertainment industry, more clients are looking to us to polish off old projects. Demands for digital marketing and web projects are also on the rise, as the reliance on online business grows for many local operations. We are so grateful for the wonderful clients we get to work with, who have kept us busy throughout.
As restrictions ease, as we experiment and perfect our own precautions, we are eagerly but cautiously reuniting in person for the first time. After months of virtual meetings, it’s a welcome homecoming for most of Team Empress.
how the film industry in BC is adapting to covid-19
Despite minor setbacks, we have also been able to pursue our collective passions. By increasing our clients’ connection to their online audiences, and boosting their digital presence on social media platforms, we hope we’ve helped in some small way to keep business flowing in Duncan and beyond. What’s unique about Empress is the diversity of our in-house talent and our ability to work together on unique, local projects. Luckily, it’s a focus that’s still relevant in this strange new season of Earth.
“As we all try to learn to love this strange new season…it’s more important than ever for all of us to stay connected…”
The last few months have been full of unexpected twists and turns. As we all try to learn to love this strange new season – like an awkward TV reboot – it’s more important than ever for all of us to stay connected… With one another, with our clients and our community. So let us know, howcan we help you reconnect and recalibrate?
To help you get back to work we are offering substantial discounts for our small-business brothers and sisters in the Cowichan Valley and South Island. It’s our way of saying thanks, and helping in some small way to keep Cowichan Strong.
Wondering how you can reach more customers during COVID-19? Let’s talk.