Jeromy Deleff the “Film Kid”

Jeromy Deleff was a shy teen from Yellowknife who went to Calgary’s SAIT’s Film and Video Production program in 2010. If you asked his high school friends if they thought he would ever go into business, they would have laughed at that proposition. Now in 2017, President of the newly founded SAIT Management Society and the creator of the Leaders in Motion interview series he finds himself a blooming business artist hybrid community leader. His journey to this point contained many twists and turns that challenged him in ways he never felt possible.

In high school, he was known as the “Film Kid”. Creating the most content for the school’s yearly film festival and winning Gold in the Skills Canada Competition for the Northwest Territories.  Allowing him to compete nationally against high caliber filmmakers in Ottawa. Before leaving to Calgary, he was presented with the “Enough Talk, Hurry Up and Do it Already” arts scholarship that was established by the film star Dustin Milligan who stars on the new hit CBC show X Company.  At that point, he could never see himself doing anything other than film-making.

Graduating with a diploma in Film and Video Production, Jeromy moved back to his hometown and worked for a small boutique advertising firm called Adframe. It was a stable job with lots of creative control. However, months passed and he began to feel his passion fade. Something felt wrong to him and he couldn’t quite put his finger on it. Doing artistic work in a corporate setting was not satisfying and Jeromy began to question what he really wanted to do with his life. Near this moment, he bought a ticket to Nepal that would set him in a brand new direction.

Wanting to shake things up, Jeromy joined a physically grueling fundraising trek to Mount Everest Base Camp with a group of international volunteers. He was able to personally raise and donate over $2,000 to the Brighter Future Children’s Home in the Kathmandu valley of Bistacchap. Traveling along the rolling hills filled with ancient temples and engaging with people who lived a simple but hard life under the poverty line helped ignite his passion for creating positive change in every walk of life. Jeromy would always stay in touch with art but would have a different relationship with it going forward.

After some soul searching, he returned to SAIT and enrolled in the School of Business. Jeromy believed that a successful company could make a progressive impact on key stakeholders and the global community through sustainable business practices. It was here that he truly hit his stride and felt flow in the work he did. While achieving academic excellence, he carved out a considerable amount of time for community leadership. Working as VP of Marketing for Enactus SAIT, he worked with a creative and enthusiastic team to bring awareness to the local projects that helped impact the livelihood of individuals through entrepreneurial action. Jeromy was also elected successfully to the SAITSA Board of Directors where he worked on numerous committees that made a difference in the student experience. The most notable one was where he worked on the Truth and Reconciliation Committee created by the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations. Jeromy has personally seen the long-lasting negative effects of the residential schools when he was growing up in the north.

“Addictions and abuse haunt new generations of first nations in a perpetual cycle. I personally believed that it was important to volunteer time for a committee that was looking to make us stronger as a country and making amends with first nation communities through a robust reconciliation process.”

In the past recent years, he has worked on two major initiatives. The first was launching an interview series called “Leaders in Motion”.  Its purpose was to shine a spotlight on individuals within our community that was making a difference through leadership. Their unique journey and obstacles they had to overcome. Giving the spotlight they deserve for the impact that they are creating. It will be going over a major overhaul soon with the demand of interviewees larger than he can handle alongside his other projects. He has also created a new academic club for the management major in the business program called the SAIT Management Society. Its goal is to provide students with influential networks, hands-on learning for management outside of the classroom, academic and social events, along with opportunities for career development. The growth has been tremendous and there are high hopes for the club.

In terms of art, some of his best work has been he left the film industry. Jeromy loves to create art just for the sake of creating. He transferred over his cinematography skills and an eye for visuals into photography. Packing up his bag at 2 am and exploring the city at the dead of night is one of his favorite times to reflect. It’s much more flexible than having film as a hobby.

“I’ve always wanted to make art that would hit you in the gut. Raw. Powerful. Visceral. I yearn to explore the whole spectrum of emotions that we all experience within the human condition. The more pain and heartache I experience; the better my work becomes.”

Around a year ago, he found himself being drawn back into film for three last pieces of art. All of it revolved around one of his best friends and local known Calgary musician Chris Tenz. In February of 2016, he lost him to suicide. Chris was the kind of human being who touched the heart of almost everyone he ever met. Through restoring old footage from past projects, Jeromy was able to create some of the most passionate and gut-wrenching work that he ever had the chance to make. It was the ultimate tribute to his friend.

“Just as time passes, my memories of Chris start to fade and become blurred. As humans, we have invented technological advancements to preserve our stories. So for me and everyone who cared for him, we will always have these clear gems that can stand the past of time.”

To say that Jeromy’s life the past seven years has been a roller coaster would be an understatement. However, his future remains bright. He recently was able to share his story at the SAIT’s President’s Dinner with other select students in front of 400 people. While politics or a being a community leader may be his end goal, he is happy wherever he can pour his heart and sweat into a project that gives value to other people’s lives.

“While some people think I have so much going for me, I always have to remind them that there is part of the story you never see. The breaks in your heart from failed relationships, the setbacks that bring you down, and the people you lose along the way. They biggest thing I’ve learned in my life is that you need to just keep picking yourself back up. Fight until the bitter end. Because no one else will do it for you.”