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First Nations traditions of storytelling at core of new film festival in The Pas

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An emergency room doctor is the driving force behind a film festival set to launch in The Pas in March.

Dr. Bernhard Friz enlisted Winnipeg Aboriginal Film Festival director Coleen Rajotte to create Storytellers — The Pas’ First Film Festival of Aboriginal and Northern Peoples set to première March 21 - 23 at The Pas’ Lido Theatre.

Rajotte says Friz "is funding it entirely on his own.

"It’s his 40th birthday and his way of giving back to the community," she says of the doctor, who commutes between residences in The Pas and Toronto.

In a press release, the "Storytellers" appellation is explained as coming "from the wish to firmly root First Nations’ traditions of storytelling at the core of a festival that will use film and video to present current cultural ideas.

"It is by respecting past traditions that we can nurture our culture of today."

The festival promises a program of short- and feature-length films of interest to northern and First Nations people, an elders discussion on select films, a youth program designated for Grade 11 and 12 students and a closing gala performance of curated shorts with live music.

Friz and Rajotte will be working on the program this weekend with announcements to follow on specific films and events at the festival.

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