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B.C. filmmaker helping empower Indigenous youth with free travelling film school

Click to play video: 'This is BC: First Nations film camp launches to tell cultural stories' This is BC: First Nations film camp launches to tell cultural stories
A B.C. filmmaker's free travelling film school has taught hundreds of aspiring Indigenous filmmakers in recent years. Farhan Umedaly is inspired to teach the participants so they can share the stories of their culture, language and community. Jay Durant has his story. – Mar 31, 2022

A B.C. filmmaker is helping develop the next generation of Indigenous storytellers with a free, travelling film school he’s offering in British Columbia and Alberta.

Farhan Umedaly has a lot to gather up, when he hits the road: Batteries, cameras, laptops – and his support dog Skeena.

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“This is a high stress environment and she just kind of brings it down a notch,” Umedaly told Global’s This is BC.

For the next few weeks, Umedaly will be hosting intensive week-long film camps with participants from many First Nations in the two provinces.

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“I want to see an army of Indigenous filmmakers so that they can go on to do the positive work they need to do to restore their language, culture and tell the stories that need to be told,” Umedaly said.

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The program is now in its fifth year, and is free and fully supported by STORYHIVE and Umedaly’s company VoVo productions.

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Umedaly said he hopes the program, called The Empowered Filmmaker, is giving participants the tools to be a voice for their communities.

“Producing that language and these messages I think is going to be the way we carry forward a sense of change and pride within our culture,” program participant Seraphine Munroe said.

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Many participants are learning about film for the first time, but the results are impressive.

“I’ve even been inspired to think, my gosh, could I make my own feature film, could I make my own documentary?” participant Robert Doan added.

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Students put themselves through a challenging week to meet the deadline, and a few walk away with awards. But everyone graduates equipped with new skills, thanks to a patient instructor – and an easy going dog.

“Everybody gets there. Nobody has not succeeded. Not one,” Umedaly said.

“I don’t know if I could make a film in five days. But they do it, and I’m very proud of that.”

To contact Jay Durant with a story idea for This is BC, email him details and contact information at thisisbc@globalnews.ca

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