Members of the Splatsin Nation watch examples of the video content they’ll learn to produce at Wapikoni’s mobile trailer throughout September. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)

Mobile studio offers filmmaking experience to North Okanagan First Nations

Participants will create their own movies in a trailer packed with cutting-edge equipment

A video production studio has rolled into Enderby to give members of the local Indigenous community a chance to discover their film-making skills.

Wapikoni is a Montreal-based non-profit organization that offers video production workshops to Indigenous communities. For the month of September, staff will help members of the Splatsin Nation create their own content in a trailer packed with cutting-edge shooting, recording and editing equipment.

Over the course of the month, participants will produce short films guided by their own creativity and with the resources of a fully fledged production company.

STA – Nodin from Wapikoni mobile on Vimeo.

For those who prefer music production, the Wapikoni trailer has a recording booth in the rear, as well as a guitar and other musical instruments.

“It’s really touching how people have so many stories to share,” said Yousra Benziane, a first-time employee with Wapikoni. Like all Wapikoni staff, Benziane has professional video experience, having worked for Vice Montreal as an associate producer a few years ago.

Outside the Splatsin Community Centre Wednesday,Wapikoni held an open house—a crucial introductory step whenever they enter a new community.

“We go see the elders to be respectful to the community, and so the community will know what we are here for,” Benzaine said.

Examples of their videos were shown to those in attendance as a way of generating ideas for the kind of content they’d like to make over the next few weeks.

It’s the second year that the Wapikoni trailer has come to the Splatsin Nation, which is how Gloria Morgan first became introduced to filmmaking.

Her 2017 film, Auntie’s Hands, was one of five videos in its category that was shared nationally in the festivals Wapikoni is involved with.

A resident of Enderby and member of the Splatsin community, Morgan is eager to try her hand at filmmaking again this year.

“I think it’s a great thing to involve the youth and other people in our community because we don’t have something as fabulous as this mobile unit,” she said.

In her previous experience with Wapikoni, Morgan saw the Splatsin community’s culture come to life on screen—produced by its own members.

“A lot of it was intergenerational stuff. It was dad walking with daughter, or grandma talking and teaching a younger person something,” she said. “A lot of it was really based in our culture and tradition.”

A viewing party is expected to be held Sept. 24 at the Splatsin Community Centre, where people will be invited to see the final products.

Founded in 2004, Wapikoni currently has three trailers touring the country to offer video workshops. Last year, the mobile studios reached 44 communities across Canada and 14 First Nations.

READ MORE: Splatsin canoe family completes eight-day journey

READ MORE: Call for Indigenous art for Okanagan lakeshore

Brendan Shykora
Reporter, Vernon Morning Star
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