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Arts & EventsIn the Moment — a Sandra Chwialkowska Film

In the Moment — a Sandra Chwialkowska Film

This film could have just as easily been called “The Kids Are Alright”. The term could also apply to Sandra Chwialkowska, a promising young film maker from Ottawa who made this delicious and quirky documentary about some special high school kids who love to improv. The documentary takes place in 2007 and follows 6 high school teams from across Canada on their journey to compete for the Holy Grail of improv — the Gold Medal at the annual Canadian Improv Games in Ottawa. These kids are smart. More than smart, they are courteous, talented, thoughtful and savvy. Their teachers are inspiring and very human. Chwialkowska captures the authenticity of the teacher – student relationship.

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In the Moment contains all the regular elements one expects to find in a documentary about high school kids – the tension points, the crisis (one of the students has an eating disorder), the awkwardness of one’s teen years, the geek, the nutty yet talented kid, the over earnest kid and, of course, the genuinely “easy to like” kids. Perhaps, most surprising was the background story. Many of the kids are from single parent homes or have divorced parents. The kids often spend long days in school and an equal amount of time working with their Improv friends preparing for competitions.

Canadian film and television star, Sandra Oh, has a cameo talking about Improv and how it made a difference in her life. In the Moment also includes a myriad of other gems from David Shepherd who is the founder of the Games and co-founder of Second City. If these kids are our future we are in good shape. Canadian High Schools are doing something well. Chwialkowska successfully tapped into themes rarely seen in today’s cynical treatment of teens in film: the innocence of youth; their incredible faith in others, especially their friends; their quirky but admirable work ethic and values; their belief that they all have a bigger canvas to paint and the power of teamwork. Chwialkowska captures the real improv lesson in an engaging manner without the heavy handedness that is more often the approach of earnest documentarians. “Too often we are so preoccupied with the destination, we forget the journey.”

Associated Images: Film maker Sandra Chwialkowska and the 2007 Improv Games Gold Medal winners.

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