- by Anne Finlay-Stewart, Editor

I did not know that my heart's desire was to become an animated LEGO figure. That the figure plays a lead part in a new film with an important message is icing on the cake.

Olivier Lafleur, the filmmaker, said the project began as an assignment for his science class. Olivier is a grade 7 student at École St. Dominique-Savio in Owen Sound, and he and his assignment partner Amalia Stolzfus Forand chose water protection from a wide range of possible topics. “Everyone knew it would be a vast subject,” said Olivier in an interview.

olivierbuildingAt first, it was “just a school project” - meant to convey information about industrial water pollution and the big issues. After a good conversation and a walk and litter pick-up along the Owen Sound harbour, Amalia and Olivier refined their focus.

A short iMovie was completed for the assignment, but Olivier recognized it could be much more. “This was not just a tiny little school project any more”: he decided to do a real project. He considered a bigger part of Canada – more water systems – but decided to make it more community based: our lakes, our rivers, our individual actions. A public service ad for broad distribution.

An on-line course in stop motion film making gave Olivier the skills, and he created a small studio and began. He had learned olivierfilmingother lessons about getting a message across, and the value of using humour to get people's attention. He says LEGO is amusing in itself, and offered lots of possibilities for humour.

The film took a long time to make after the original planning. Even small decisions like making the figure walk across the “studio”, turning along the way, to reach the garbage can, meant many stops, changing the figure, and pictures. Even the water on the shoreline moves.

Some elements happened serendipitously – like replacing failing light late in the day with a flashlight's “heavenly beam” and adding an angel choir.

Olivier gathered the sound effects, from lapping waves to the extending “litter picker”, and provided the voices and fish belch.

The film is fun, and its message is direct, simple and empowering for viewers of any age.




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