Student-produced TV Commercials hit the airwaves

A group of Niagara College broadcasting students don’t have to wait until they graduate to experience the thrill of viewing commercials they created air on network television.

Three commercials, produced and directed by third-year Broadcasting: Radio, Television and Film students graduating in June, are now being aired on CHCH-TV.

Film Professor Andrew Stevenson said this is the third year students have participated in the project. Concepts were selected by students and pitched to the college’s marketing department before the top three were selected.

“The goal of the project is help promote the college and its programs while allowing students to gain experience writing, shooting, and editing a broadcast-quality commercial for a real-world client,” he said.

The selected commercials include:

• It All Begins Here, produced by Lari Teras (Welland), directed by James Joris (St. Catharines/Welland)

• Canadian Food and Wine Institute, produced by Nicole Vankekem (St. Catharines), directed by Brent Gust (Pembroke)

• and My Dreams, produced by Laura Wilson ( Welland/ Fisherville), directed by Chris Feltis (Welland)

Nicole Vankekem, who produced the Canadian Food Wine Institute (CFWI) commercial, said she valued the experience as well as the opportunity to showcase her work.
“I love film. The experience of going through every stage of production with a project, being a producer, is the most rewarding part,” she said.
“It will be amazing, seeing the commercial on TV.”

Director of It all Begins Here James Joris said he was very excited when his commercial was chosen by his classmates as one of three to be produced.

“I am very excited to see it air on television, which is one of the great things about Niagara College … that is an opportunity you can’t get anywhere else,” he said.
“It also looks great on a resume when I can say that I wrote, directed and edited a commercial that aired on television across the province, which I think is the most rewarding feeling of all.”

Chris Feltis, who directed My Dreams, said it was great that the project is being aired after he and his crew worked so hard on it.

“The most rewarding part of the experience is being able to make a commercial that will be used to promote Niagara College where I have gained my skills and knowledge in film production,” said Feltis.

Producer of My Dreams Laura Wilson, who now works at a production company, was grateful for the experience.

“It makes me very excited that so many people will see something I had such a big part in,” she said. “That is something very hard to do when you are just starting out in the industry so I thank Niagara College for the opportunity.”

With three years of commercials now produced and broadcast, the quality continues to impress the client, Niagara College’s Director of Marketing and Communications, Gord Hunchak. “The talent level of our faculty and students is outstanding,” he said, “Each year, the students produce top quality commercials that look right at home on network television.”

The commercials began airing May 2 and will run for an eight-week period.

Niagara College offers more than 90 diploma, bachelor degree and advanced level programs at campuses in Welland, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Niagara Falls and St. Catharines. Areas of specialization include food and wine sciences, advanced technology, media, applied health and community safety, supported by unique learning enterprises in food, wine, beer, horticulture and esthetics. For more information visit

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