Young Alberta aboriginals are learning the craft of filmmaking as well as something about themselves during a 10-day camp west of Red Deer.
The Dreamspeakers on Tour program is teaching students, ages 14 to 24, proficiency in the basic skills and crafts of filmmaking, says Bertha Twin, the Edmonton area co-ordinator of the tour.
The camp at Lazy M Lodge, owned by Randy McGhee and Marcel Gour, has been on the go since July 18 and runs until Thursday.
Some 12 students from the Edmonton area are learning from four staff, instructors or production assistants, as she refers to them, Twin chuckled.
She said the program provides students, several of whom come from disadvantaged backgrounds, opportunities in the film industry.
The students are equipped with the procedural processes and skills to make quality short films. It culminates with a completed final project that can be used in a portfolio.
The classes include lectures and workshops on production and editing techniques.
They also learn about trademarks and copyright laws.
The budding filmmakers, who must progress through interviews prior to being selected, work together to produce their first films.
Dreamspeakers on Tour, which has been running since 2006, also has a mission to educate, by matching the young filmmakers with experienced filmmaking talent.
The tour is a component of the Dreamspeakers film festival, which started a few years before.
The program is also designed to teach people about aboriginal culture, art and heritage.
The students take turns at writing, producing, shooting and editing.
Twin said perhaps the most gratifying aspect is seeing the students develop as people.
“There was a couple of them at first who were very shy and quiet. Now they are really involved in the projects and interacting already.
“Sometimes all they need is some direction,” Twin said.
“What we find is they develop awareness of themselves and their talent by telling their own stories and how that will impact their community.”
She said the students also learn how to work as a team.
She said the students engage in critical thinking and problem solving together.