In honour of the Champlain Saint-Lambert’s 50th anniversary, the college has followed up with 50 of its alumni to see where their paths have led after their time in Cegep. These 50 former students have gone on to accomplish amazing things and their paths show just how much is possible for a Champlain grad.
This documentary filmmaker brings ‘athletic prowess’ into focus.
Steve Deku has spent the better part of the last decade chronicling the career of Quebec pro boxer Shakeel Phinn.
As a filmmaker and sport enthusiast, Deku has been privileged to have a ringside seat to his friend’s career from the very beginning.
Deku and Phinn met at Champlain College, where they were both involved with the Cavaliers football team.
Deku (Creative Arts, 2012) said he discovered his passion for film and sports documentary in particular.
“I wanted to find a way to celebrate all the athletes I knew at the time,” he said. “There’s such a diversity of athletic prowess at that school. I wanted to celebrate that aspect of our school.”
Deku started shooting game highlights and cutting reels together for the Cavaliers in his final year at Champlain, which he described as “one of the best experiences of [his] life.”
His efforts earned him the Cavaliers Athletic Shield award for contributions to the Champlain athletics program.
“That to me is one of the most valuable things I’ve ever been given. It meant the world to me.”
After college, Phinn started boxing and went pro in 2015.
As Deku completed his bachelor’s in Film Studies at Concordia, he started doing highlights for Phinn, and documenting his progression as an athlete.
“I’ve spent more time with him than he’s spent with me because of all the time I’ve spent editing footage,” joked Deku. “He’s been nothing but a blessing.”
He described the work he’s done with Phinn as “a continuation of [his] time at Champlain.”
Deku even produced a short documentary on Phinn which was aired on CBC TV as part of the Being Black in Canada project.
His film can be screened for free online as part of Absolutely Canadian season 21.
Deku said looking back, “leaving Champlain was when I was the absolute most passionate about my craft.”
He said he felt that he could have gone directly into the industry from Cegep.
“They gave me all the passion I needed to pursue a further education in film.”
Now Deku is focusing on moving away from documentary and more into narrative: “I want to show people the stories in my head.”
Deku’s advice for current students and recent grads: “Take your time and pay attention to what your teachers know. You don’t know everything and their insight will help you craft your taste in ways you can’t imagine yet. Keep your vision strong, but with an open mind. It’s not a race. You can take your time and create something great.”