From the lush forests of the Bella Coola Valley and a few misadventures to an interview about a grandfather’s experiences in residential school, the content ran the gamut for the second annual Bella Coola Instructional Film Festival.
On Thursday, June 22, the community had the opportunity to view more than a dozen locally-created films by youth during a gala reception held at the Legion.
All of the films were made by students at either Acwaltsca and Sir Alexander Mackenzie Secondary schools, said Meghan Lewick, SAMS art teacher and organizer of the festival.
“This could not have happened without the terrific support from the Bella Coola Valley Community Arts Council and a COVID grant,” Lewick said before the first film was shown. “They provided prize money and support to buy cameras for the school and buying a go-pro.”
Lewick told the audience they would see “your kids, your neighbours’ kids and the work that they have done.”
The films took the viewers to a climbing lesson taught by Acwaltsca outdoor education teacher Lindsay Gericke to a humorous tale of a cat in the forest being rescued. The cat was played by a local male teacher. .
His actions in the film had the audience laughing very loudly.
Local physician Dr. Phil McGuire and documentary filmmaker Jean-Philippe Marquis, two of the three judges, helped award the prizes.
“We are so proud that Jean-Phillipe recently won an award at the Hot Docs series for his film Silvacola,” said Lewick. “We are really looking forward to seeing it, possibly this summer and in September as well.”
Taking home The Bella, and sharing $500 were Sayulh Jackson, Serena Gabriel and Shantaya Cahoose.
Winners for The Coola, and sharing $500 were Shaylen Moody, Owen Renehan, Molly Moren, Ocea Collier and Morgan Moody.
Cadence Hall created a longer documentary, interviewing her grandfather Richard Hall about his experience going to residential school in Port Alberni.
Her questions were in-depth and her grandfather provided very candid answers.
“I wanted to create and share this video to help others learn what my family and my ancestors went through and how that still affects the generations of today,” Cadence said afterwards. “I’d like to acknowledge Megan Lewick and my teachers and the rest of the committee who gave me the opportunity to share my project.”
Lewick thanked her, saying the film was “unexpected.”
“It was a wonderful piece you’ve given to the world.”
The documentary exceeded the time limit for the films considered in the running, however, Cadence was awarded “The Extra” award for an awesome contribution.
Hopefully the documentary will be made available for a wider viewing in the future.
Lu Bittner, who was the top winner of ‘The Coola’ last year, presented Cadence with the award.