Prairie Tales 14 wraps up its distribution year with some great stats: 38 screenings in 25 communities! Of those, 12 screenings had a Visiting Artist answer audience questions or give a short workshop.
Zoe Slusar and Bailey Kerluke, multiple Prairie Tales artists, are quite popular for their hands-on video production workshops. Most recently, they traveled to Ermineskin First Nation to take part in their Science and Technology day on July 17.
Zoe and Bailey, who make up the Untitled Production team, presented a workshop called Documentary Filmmaking for Youth to introduce the basic steps to tell community stories through filmmaking. After viewing examples from their own works, the participants go through a hands-on process of creating a short documentary on the spot. From choosing a topic to conducting interviews, recording footage and editing, at the end of the day the group produces a rough cut of their own documentary.
Manisha Khertarpal, Head of Library Services at Maskwachees Cultural College and organizer of the screening, appreciates the approach that Zoe and Bailey take.
“Zoe and Bailey smoothly connect with the audience and make film making learning a naturally participative process,” she says of the young artists. For this event, participants chose as their subject Wilda Listener to share information about the traditional indigenous spiritual teachings of a tipi.
About 10 kids and one adult were taken through step-by-step through the process. It’s a great opportunity to learn about storytelling through technology, says Bailey, but it’s also a creative process for the artists, too.
“You get lots of ideas especially from kids. They have no filters. And it was great to see a tipi raising. I’d never seen that. It’s a stimulating experience.”
Zoe notes that the groups usually start out a bit shy, but by the end they are offering ideas, doing interviews and getting behind and in front of the camera.
“It’s moving. It’s almost the best part of being an independent filmmaker. That’s how we learned — from doing it ourselves. I really want to bring that encouragement to people, that it’s an option to follow your passions. It’s about the relationships and trust that you build when you’re making something together. It’s a community thing for those two hours.”