Scholar in Residence Barbara Hager Inspires Students

Students interested in drama, film, writing, history and political science were all engaged with the Scholar in Residence at SMUS this week. Writer and film producer Barbara Hager spoke to Senior School students during classes and held an evening showcase in the Copeland Lecture Theatre of her recent documentary film Motown High.

Ms. Hager has been a journalist and writer for over 20 years and has published two books, Honor Song and On Her Way: The Life and Music of Shania Twain. As a film producer, she has hosted a television show now in its seventh season and has created documentaries telling local stories, which can be seen on Bravo! and APTN.

Ms. Hager shared her personal background with the students. “I very deeply wanted to be a writer ever since I was 13, when I wrote a poem my teacher didn’t believe to be mine.” Although she thought she her life plans figured out in high school, she admitted that she didn’t expect to become involved in the film and television industry. Ms. Hager started down that path when she wrote and hosted for “The New Canoe,” created by Victoria-based production company Aarrow Productions in 2002. Since then she has been writing, directing and producing for film.

On Wednesday night, Ms. Hager held a public screening of her most recent documentary Motown High, which follows the relationship that evolves between Motown legend Martha Reeves and a group of band students from Victoria High School who have been performing her songs. After the screening, students asked questions about how Ms. Hager made the film, and what it was like to travel with the Victoria High School band.

Students were enlightened on all fronts during Ms. Hager’s visit – learning about the process of becoming a writer, the business and creative aspects of making a film, and the contributions aboriginal Canadians and Métis have made in business, sports and the arts. Ms. Hager’s visit left many students inspired to pursue a career in a creative field.

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