Student Projects

VISUAL ADVOCACY / LAW AND FILM

Law students have created awareness and knowledge mobilization videos as part of the Visual Advocacy / Law and Film course at the Faculty of Law of the University of Ottawa, Civil Law section.

An overview of student films produced in the context of the Visual Advocacy / Law and Filmmaking course

Students had to conduct at least one interview with a stakeholder from the legal community. They then had to implement the visual advocacy concepts and techniques studied in the course to produce a short awareness or knowledge mobilization video.

Student Visual Posts

Discover visual advocacy projects produced by law students.

Visual Advocacy / Law and Film (DRC 4731): A Different Look at the Law

The first cohort of DRC 4731 is unanimous: "Visual Advocacy / Law and Film" offers a dynamic and original experience combining theory and practice.

Digital technologies have transformed the way we interact and communicate our ideas. Never ones to rest, legal practitioners need to use a wide range of sensory tools to persuade, enlighten and engage their audiences – and that means moving from the page to the moving image.

Designed and taught by lawyer-filmmaker-in-residence Étienne Trépanier, DRC 4731 introduces students to film law and the art of visual advocacy. In addition to learning about the legal framework of the audiovisual industry in Canada and the legal concepts related to the production of audiovisual products, participants are asked to dive into the heart of the matter by making a short documentary film for Jurivision, the audiovisual platform for law launched last February.

“It's a perfect course for anyone interested in broadcasting, but also for people who want to go more deeply into a subject that is important to them, to develop their research skills or to practice presenting a point concisely,” says Arianne Patenaude. She, Katherin Scarlet Guerra Guevara and Maude Ouellet produced the video Sexual Assault Crimes: A System that Protects the Accused?, featuring an interview with Professor Jennifer Quaid. “It's a different way of learning about the law, cultivating independence, and learning to work in a group on a hands-on project.”

Throughout the term, participants learned about the conceptual and technical aspects of creating videos. They learned the basics of camera work, lighting, sound and digital editing, as well as the principles of scriptwriting and the legal notions related to the production of audiovisual material (copyright, image rights, etc.).

Matthew Steinlauf, who produced the video Silenced by the Pandemic: The Impact of COVID-19 on Domestic Violence with teammates Malick Ouattara and Samy Si Chaib, was drawn to the creative and practical side of the course. Today, he is about to begin an internship at a firm with a large entertainment law department. “We learned legal concepts, but also a lot of technical aspects related to video. Guests regularly came to talk to us about their specialties, and since there were only a few of us, we had the chance to interact with them and learn more about their work. So the format was particularly dynamic.”

Throughout the semester, students heard from a wide range of people in the audiovisual industry about both content production and industry regulations. They had the opportunity to speak with a U.S. producer specializing in legal documentary development and to get practical advice from both a documentary filmmaker and a news anchor. Experts from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) and the multinational giant Netflix also taught them about the Canadian regulatory framework.

Rodolfo Valdes Arias chose to enroll in the course to add another arrow to his quiver. “Audiovisual is already an important part of our society, and that's not going to change any time soon – quite the contrary. The course demonstrates how to convey content by appealing to the emotions and what video can do in real life in terms of law. It's also a great way to put legal material into layman’s terms for the uninitiated.” With his two teammates, Max Dayan and Yoan Emian, he interviewed Professor Pierre-Gilles Bélanger to produce Chile: A Constitutional Laboratory.

The DRC 4731 course will be offered again in the Winter 2022 term: an opportunity not to be missed by anyone interested in working on a real-world project, delving into a topic of interest, and contributing to the Jurivision platform!

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