DAREarts, Noront Resources and Workbay.net returned to Webequie and Marten Falls First Nations to facilitate the creation of films by local youth between the ages of 13 and 20, about mining, a topic of much relevance in the Ring of Fire area of Northern Ontario.
Marten Falls First Nation
Our team consisting of DAREarts Teachers Laura MacKinnon and Shelley MacDonald, Noront Resources Manager of Corporate Responsibility Kaitlyn Ferris and Workbay.net’s Joshua Barndt worked with 19 summer students for three intensive days of filmmaking.
The camp started with activities and discussions designed to jump start the brainstorming process and open a conversation about mining. Together, they time-lined the mine’s role in the territory, talked about opportunities for the people living there, and of particular interest to the youth, the ecological and economic importance of putting aside money for reclamation to clean up when the mine closes and return the land to its natural state.
Laura: “We laid a piece of masking tape along the length of the room and wrote years on it, going back to 1995, up until 2030. We handed the group each a sticky note and had them write down their name, year of birth and stick it to the appropriate place on the timeline. We repeated this activity, having them identify a time when they did something awesome and a time when they had to be responsible for something. It concluded with each student learning about a different job in mining and the required number of years of education. They plotted their path from 2014 to this potential job on the timeline.”
When asked what was most important to them and their community, they answered: protecting the water, accessing jobs, economic stability for the Anishnabek and a prosperous future.
With such a high turnout of youth, they formed three film crews – Gangsta Grizzly Productions, Ogoki Post Productions, and Rez Productions. Knowing their films were to be entered into the Ontario Mining Association’s So You Think You Know Mining competition, they quickly began brainstorming. With their film ideas in hand and guidance from the teaching team, they delved into the filmmaking process. They created story boards, devised shot lists, wrote dialogue and voice-over, scouted locations and learned the roles and responsibilities of working in a film crew.
They showed incredible dedication, staying long after their official wrap time to grab extra footage and edit.
On the fourth morning, with all three films completed, they gathered at the community hall to screen their finished films and enjoy some celebratory snacks. In attendance was Lance Baxter, a band councillor focused on community health and wellness, father of two of the participants, and interviewee in the Gangsta Grizzly Productions film. He took the opportunity to speak to the youth, congratulating them on their accomplishment and reminding them how important it is to keep their community clean and to take pride in their home.
Here are the three Team Marten Falls films:
Webequie First Nation
In Webequie, the team arrived with one different member: Workbay.net was represented by Nathanael Chadwick, who guided the youth through the filming and editing process. The students took a humorous approach with their mining story, choosing to present their unique take on the Seven Dwarves story, sans Snow White.
“Once upon a time, there was a small and sturdy people who lived in the mountains. They were called the Dwarves.” Their film follows the adventures of Ballo, Dancey, the guitar-toting Minstral Dwarf and other members of their imagined Dwarven kingdom of Dwarfequie through the four stages of the mining lifecyle: exploration, development, operation and reclamation.
The teaching team guided these youth through the same timeline activity as in Marten Falls.
Laura: “Everyone labelled moments of accomplishment and moments where they showed responsibility on the timeline, identifying events such as the DAREarts show, graduating from elementary school, setting weight loss goals and taking care of younger siblings. They built a great collection of moments to be proud of!”
The youth used their varied skills to contribute: Percy showcased his incredible vocal talent and written ability as both narrator and head writer for the film, setting the storybook tone with his wise, expressive voice. Judith organized and taught a dance to her peers, Miranda showed a natural talent for composition as cinematographer, Evan wrote and recorded original guitar music for the film’s score, Tyler showed leadership by putting up posters ahead of time and gathering his peers to be part of the camp, Kailey created a beautiful storybook illustration and Cici energized and inspired her peers with her enthusiasm and bravery.
View their film here:
Well done, Dwarves!