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Mining association honours young filmmakers

So You Think You Know Mining The Ontario Mining Association (OMA) is making more young people aware of the mining industry.

So You Think You Know Mining

The Ontario Mining Association (OMA) is making more young people aware of the mining industry. Through an annual video competition, So You Think You Know Mining (SYTYKM), the association is raising awareness among high school students about the influence mining has on their lives and communities, while nurturing new creative artists.

OMA’s president Chris Hodgson says they had been receiving letters from students who thought they were running pick and shovel coal mines. Realizing the prevalent misunderstanding about the realities of mining today, the industry association initiated the competition in 2009.

In the first year, they used print and radio advertising to encourage students to enter, but they didn’t receive much response. However, once they appeared on social media, they found gold. Both students and teachers were keen from across the province and they now receive between 100 and 135 entries every year.

In early June they held their sixth contest awards ceremony at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. There were 116 entries and more then 300 students, educators, celebrities and industry supporters in attendance. Themed after the Academy Awards, they rolled out the red carpet and honoured their young filmmaking heroes.


“Over the years, the geographical scope of the contest has expanded considerably with entries now coming from all corners of the province. At first, we primarily got videos from southern Ontario,” said Adrianna Stech, the OMA’s manager, environment and sustainability. Stech commented that the contestants are more inventive with each passing year, “finding creative ways to tell the story of Ontario mining and to make the connection between mining and their everyday lives.”

The results appear to indicate that the OMA’s goal is being achieved. Brittany Nguyen won the top prize of $5,000 for Best Overall video titled These Moments. Her school, Resurrection Catholic Secondary in Kitchener, also receives $500 to purchase film equipment.

“I heard about this competition through my friend’s father. He does jobs in the mining industry and introduced me and my friend to this contest,” she said. “I didn’t expect to receive first place considering I shot and edited my video in three days.”

Nguyen’s two and half minute video shows how the minerals that come from the earth are very much part of a teenage girl’s life - from makeup, diamonds and cars, to the MRI that helps her friend diagnosed with cancer. It’s a heartwarming video, with a final message, “Mining is making every moment special.”

Nguyen not only received a monetary boost for her post-secondary studies at Ryerson University this fall, but also a huge vote of confidence from Canadian filmmaking celebrities. She will be starting the Media and Production program in the fall.

“Winning has given me encouragement for what I am passionate about,” she said. The judges included Christina Blizzard, columnist for Sun Media, Katarina Gligorijevic, creative consultant for REEL Canada and an independent filmmaker, James Cullingham, independent movie producer and professor of film and media at Seneca College, Peter Fuchs, communications specialist with Glencore, John Coulbourn, film, arts and theatre critic, and Joanne Kearney, vice-president, Smithcom.


Other categories include First and Second Runners-up for Best Overall, Best Writing, Best Music, Best Directing, Best Comedy, Best Animation, Best Video in a language other than English, Best 30-second Commercial and the People’s Choice.

This year debuted a new award category, Teachers’ Choice Award with a $2,500 prize.

The OMA also rewards the high schools for encouraging and supporting students to enter the contest by putting their name into a draw when they have three or more entries. The $2,000 prize goes towards film equipment and software.

Schools all across the province are now participating. Communities like Clinton, London, Milton, Toronto, Barrie, Red Lake, Collingwood, Kitchener-Waterloo, Ottawa, Thunder Bay, Woodstock, the Niagara Peninsula, Haliburton and as far north as Webequie.

Dixon Wapoose of Simon Jacob Memorial High School in Webequie won Best Video in a Language Other Than English for his video Webequie, Mining, Hockey.

The 7th annual contest will roll out in the fall and the OMA anticipates that the cumulative total of scholarships presented to winning teenage filmmakers will surpass $200,000.

For more information about the contest and the upcoming 2015 competition, visit