Student documentary about troubled La Loche resurfaces in wake of shooting

One of the creators of a six-year-old documentary about troubled La Loche, Sask., says he hopes the film can shed light on the social problems faced by the town's residents.

One of the creators of a six-year-old documentary about troubled La Loche, Sask., says he hopes the film can shed light on the social problems faced by the town’s residents.

A New York Times story that appeared the day after last week’s mass shooting included quotes from the 23-minute documentary “Denendeh,” produced as a class project by University of Regina students in 2010.

Kent Morrison says he was surprised the film got international attention, but hopes interest in the town spurs meaningful change for its residents.

The 28-year-old is now a weekend morning TV news anchor at Global Edmonton and found himself reporting on the deadly shooting at the school he previously visited.

“It was pretty heartbreaking,” Morrison says of learning about the tragedy, which left four dead.

“I was just talking about it, the documentary, the Friday before, here in the newsroom…. And someone said, ‘Isn’t this the place you were talking about last week?”‘

The documentary, which aired on CBC in August 2010, is also featured on INK Online, published by journalism students at the University of Regina.

Morrison says he doesn’t know how the New York Times heard about the film, but suspects it came up in an online search of La Loche.

He says the experience of making “Denendeh” has stuck with him, especially a meeting with one impoverished resident who questioned what Morrison and his classmates were doing at the time.

“He said, ‘You show up here with your camera and you think you’re doing good things. But what are you really doing? … You’re going to do your thing and you’re going to leave. And we’re still going to be here,”‘ he recalls.

“He was totally right…. I came and I left.”

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