Bashforth shines a light on Pixar

Byron Bashforth (BSc’96, MSc’99) was a computer science student at the University of Saskatchewan when he saw a trailer for Toy Story.

A light went on. Not the famous Pixar desk-lamp light, but pretty close.

“I remember marvelling that you could do that with a computer,” Bashforth said in a recent phone interview from Pixar Animation Studios, where he’s worked since graduating with his masters in 1998.

Bashforth’s first Pixar film was Toy Story 2. He’s worked on everything from Finding Nemo and The Incredibles to Ratatouille and Up. His latest is Disney/Pixar’s Coco, the story of a Mexican boy who dreams of becoming a musician.

Read more at the Saskatoon StarPhoenix.

Late Huskie alum’s legacy to live on in Merlis Belsher Place

Hanging proudly above the ice in Rutherford Rink, a banner reads, We all play the Cody Smuk way.

It’s one of the many tributes to the late University of Saskatchewan Huskies men’s hockey player, who lost his battle with testicular cancer in 2015. As the Huskies play their final season in the arena, a local business is making sure that Smuk’s legacy lives on when the team begins a new chapter and moves into Merlis Belsher Place next year.

Inland Steel Products, a scrap metal recycling company servicing Saskatchewan, has contributed $150,000 to the Home Ice campaign to create Smuker’s Lounge in Merlis Belsher Place, a gathering spot for players, alumni and friends of Smuk’s to reminisce while cheering on the Huskies.

Cody Smuk (BComm’15)

Inland Steel Products’ Matt Ditlove said the family-owned business was eager to make a substantial investment back into the community to commemorate its 50th year of operation, and saw an opportunity to honour a family friend at the same time.

“He was one of my closest friends and I wanted to make sure he was never forgotten and always remembered,” Ditlove said. “So myself and my family thought this was a good way to give back, not only to the community that we do business in and operate in, but to make sure his spirit is never forgotten.”

Ditlove said his family is glad to be contributing towards a new facility for the Huskies, as Smuk had often said that a new arena was long overdue.

“He was definitely passionate about getting a new arena for the Huskies and I think he would have been heavily involved in this Home Ice campaign if he was around,” Ditlove said. “So the fact that the lounge is getting built here would have made him pretty proud.”

After Smuk’s passing, the players’ lounge in Rutherford Rink was renamed Smuker’s Lounge in his honour, and has been a central gathering point for old friends and alumni. Smuk’s mother, Darla Smuk, said the family was overwhelmed with emotion when they learned that Smuker’s Lounge would be incorporated into the new arena, and thinks it’s a wonderful way to remember her son.

Members of the Smuk and Ditlove families join together at the Inland Steel Products site in Saskatoon (photo by David Stobbe).

“Cody always liked hosting the team and wanted everyone to have fun,” she said. “To me Smuker’s Lounge represents him hosting his friends and family; a place where they can come together, share a drink, share stories, think of Cody and remember his laugh. It was quite contagious and one of many things we miss the most.”

She said while it’s bittersweet that the Huskies will no longer be playing in Rutherford Rink—a place that holds many special memories for the family—she feels her son would have been thrilled that the Huskies will have a new home.

“I know it meant a lot to Cody to be a part of the Huskies program. He was always very proud to wear the Huskie jersey and do his very best for the team,” she said. “His memory will live on in the new Huskie facility and we can’t thank Matt and his family enough for their kindness and generosity now, and during Cody’s battle with cancer. It means the world to us.”

Roxanne McHattie is a development communications specialist in University Relations.

Alumnae starring in play chosen for Singapore festival

An acclaimed stage play developed by Department of Drama faculty and alumni will represent Canada at an international fringe festival in Singapore this January.

Displaced, a story of three female refugees fleeing to Canada at different points in history, was co-written by Associate Professor Natasha Martina (with Sue Mythen). After several successful performances in Canada, the play caught the attention of the M1 Singapore Fringe Festival, which selected it to be presented at its Jan. 17–28 festival in 2018 as one of four highlighted shows from around the world.

The stars of Displaced (left to right): Emma Laishram, Anna Mazurik (BFAHon’16) and Jacqueline Block (BFA’14). (Photo: S.E. Grummett)










Displaced debuted in 2015 at the Montreal and Saskatoon fringe festivals, earning nominations for best English production and best English text in Montreal. The showhas since drawn crowds around Saskatchewan as part of the 2017 Live Five Independent Theatre season and received four prizes at the recent Saskatoon and Area Theatre Awards.

“The response was overwhelming,” says Martina, who also produced and directed the play. “I think people really wanted to support this piece because it has a message of equality and acceptance and the need to be inclusive.”

The global developments that have made this message so resonant in recent years—including ongoing refugee crises, Brexit and the election of Donald Trump—didn’t factor into the creation of the play, Martina says. She began researching and writing Displaced in 2011 with a simpler goal: telling a story that would have personal meaning to her as a child of immigrants.

“I just knew that immigration and starting a new life was a very large aspect of my growing up: seeing my parents start from nothing to create their own business, to employ 125 people, and to share all the traditions I grew up with that were in two cultures.”

The stars of Displaced include drama alumnae Jacqueline Block (BFA’14) and Anna Mazurik (BFAHon’16). Amberlin Hsu (BFAHon’16) is the stage manager and lighting designer. Assistant Professor of Drama Carla Orosz (BFA’04) designed the set and costumes.

Before heading to Singapore, the cast and crew will give a single performance of Displaced in Saskatoon on Jan. 20. Details and ticket information for that event can be viewed here.

Displaced is produced by Ground Cover Theatre. The Singapore trip is funded by the High Commission of Canada, Creative Saskatchewan and the College of Arts & Science.

Written by Chris Putman