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Alumni Success Stories: Digital Film & Video

In the Fast Lane

From student films to exotic cars, there's no shortage of accolades for Digital Film & Video student Errol Lazare.

Errol Lazare knows a thing or two about dedication. Since the film bug bit in the eighth grade, he has worked non-stop on building a portfolio that includes scholarships, accolades and cash prizes.

Currently enrolled in the Digital Film & Video program at The Art Institute of Vancouver, Lazare had his first job in the business when he was in grade 10 at Mark Isfeld Secondary in Courtenay. Filmmaker and friend Marius Lohmann put him in touch with the organizers of the 2003 Mini Meet West rally in Victoria, BC. They were looking for someone to capture the event on video, and Lazare was brought on board.

“It was my first paid job,” recalls Lazare, who spent four days filming hundreds of tiny Austin Mini cars in action. “I tried to capture everything and interview people about their cars so they all had a chance to be on camera.”

It was his encounter with a man showing a 400HP full custom turbo charged Mini during the meet, however, that proved to be his big break. “He mentioned that his boss had a couple of projects coming up, and that he might need a videographer, so I sent him a copy of the tape I made for the Mini Meet. He liked it and I was hired.”

As luck would have it, his new boss was Zahir Rana, the owner of the luxury car dealership, ZR Exotic Auto Sales. At that point, Lazare had only heard about Ferraris and Lamborghini, and knew almost nothing about them. Since connecting with Rana, everything has changed. As of 2005, Lazare has filmed numerous exotic car events including the Scuderia Rampage in Las Vegas, two Rocky Mountain Adventure tours, and the Running of the Bulls, an officially sponsored Lamborghini event that featured 50 Lamborghinis in a drive from Reno to Monterey.

Lazare claims each shoot has taught him something new. This summer, at the 2005 Rocky Mountain Adventure, Rana even rented a helicopter so Lazare could get aerial footage of the drive. Lazare says the event was a blast and adds that his mom was an invaluable third arm on the shoot, capturing footage of the vehicles and helicopter on the ground. Her job was not always an easy one: “It was funny to see my mom driving around in her little Toyota Matrix trying to keep up with all these Ferraris!”

Lazare's ambitions are made even more evident, when you consider that during all of this, he was also working on a number of other short films. In 2005, he smashed records at the B.C. Student Film Festival by winning seven out of 27 possible awards, and won six of the nine available categories. Not only did he win a full scholarship to attend The Art Institute of Vancouver, but his school received $10,000 towards the purchase of media equipment. Not one to sit idle, Lazare then went on to win six out of a possible 18 awards in the student category at the 36th annual Canadian International Annual Film/Video Festival, including Best Overall Student Entry.

Add to this the receipt of additional awards at a province-wide public service film competition in Burnaby and the Hotshots Film Festival in Calgary, and it’s easy to see that Lazare is no ordinary first-year film student. Each award and video under his belt brings Lazare closer to his dream of making feature films. Education is the next step, and Lazare chose to attend The Art Institute of Vancouver to broaden his knowledge. The allure of a full scholarship valued at over $25,000 was complemented by Lazare's appreciation for the school's facilities.

“I came to tour the school and thought the environment was great. It was clean and bright, and the equipment was really up-to-date.”Although his studies are keeping him busy, Lazare has no intention of slowing down. With DVDs of past car meets selling for charity internationally at and the promise of more trips and events, Lazare has no plans to quit working for Rana. “It’s great exposure. I’d also like to do video for Lamborghini.” He has already sent the company a copy of his work, and has plans to film other meets in the future.

Lazare admits he has come a long ways since shooting that first Mini Meet West, thanks to both his real-world experiences, and the training he is receiving at The Art Institute of Vancouver. “The teachers are awesome and I'm learning a lot. In terms of location audio, I knew nothing about recording good audio before I came here. I used to to use the onboard mic for every shoot. Now I never leave the school without a sound mixer, a mic, and a boom.”

Education, he says, is a good way to build on his ambition and talent. “I’ve really noticed the quality of my work improve in the last few months, and can’t wait to see how it is when I graduate.”

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