Aspiring Indigenous filmmakers of all ages and skill levels are taking some time this week to hone their skills through a five-day workshop in Lethbridge, Alta.
Farhan Umedaly, lead master filmmaker with VoVo Productions based in Vancouver, B.C., is taking over some space at the Lethbridge Interfaith Food Bank to share his knowledge with around 20 participants this year.
The pupils are teaming up to create a total of 10 films on topics of their choosing, using professional tools and technology to transform oral stories through a visual lens.
The first empowering filmmakers program in Lethbridge was held in April 2022.
“(I’m) actually very honoured to be able to be a voice for the community, but at the end of the day, as an Ismaili, it’s my culture to give back,” Umedaly said.
“I wanted to share the knowledge of filmmaking I have with as many Indigenous people as possible so they can tell the stories they need to tell.”
Heidi Tallman, who last year produced a film about how genocide affected Niitsitapi people, is exploring the volatility of treaty rights during her second time in the workshop.
Tallman graduated from Lethbridge College with multimedia training then switched to administration before rediscovering her passion for filmmaking through this workshop.
She hopes to continue creating small films and hopes to one day make a movie.
“You come out of this program with a masterpiece,” Tallman said. “It’s kind of helping our oral tradition be documented.”
Twelve-year-old participant Hughie Tallow took full advantage of the free program and is now fully producing his own film about Indigenous youth in skateboarding.
“It’s just so fun having the opportunity to be here,” said Tallow.
The program is now in its sixth year, and is free and fully supported by STORYHIVE and Umedaly’s company VoVo productions.
A free public screening of the films will close out the week at 5 p.m. on Friday, May 26.