Hey there, time traveller! This article was published 17/2/2017 (371 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Orlando Braun and Jorge Requena Ramos are changing the way that audiences think of our western province.
The pair, who both create their work through Prairie Boy Productions, was recently accepted into Freeze Frame Manitoba, an international film festival that highlights the work of youth.
Graffiti Stories and That Mennonite Joke were both accepted to the festival, which runs from March 5 to 12.
"The type of stories we’re attracted to often are these stories of changing the status quo," Braun, who founded Prairie Boy, said.
The former West End resident says that they found the subject for Graffiti Stories when Ramos, currently living in the West End, spent time working with youth at the Graffiti Gallery.
"He got so inspired and he had to tell this story," Braun said. "The more he talked about the characters, he was just in love with what they were doing, so when you see that kind of passion from a filmmaker, you’re just sold."
The film follows three youth that Braun says could be considered at-risk and their various interests. One is into hip hop dancing, one into art and one likes rapping and making music.
"It’s inspiring," Braun said. "The kids are very insightful, and they are way wiser than I was at their age… it’s not something to look down on. Kids are into this and using this as a way to further their learning, building their worlds around it."
He added that although the film is geared towards a younger audience, many older folks have really enjoyed it as well, saying that it’s given them insight into what the younger generation is doing and how they see the world.
"We didn’t realize that this older generation wanted to gain understanding of this young culture that they couldn’t relate to," Braun said.
The second film, That Mennonite Joke, also brings to a light a lesser-known side of Mennonite culture which, according to Braun, is a lot funnier than most people think.
A Mennonite himself, Braun speaks a "weird language" known as low German. Ramos suggested doing a film on it, and everything came together when comedian Matt Falk, a Mennonite as well, decided to take part in the project.
"What I thought was unique about this language was how funny I thought it was and how funny it sounds, and the strange anecdotes you’re able to express and translate into English," Braun said.
"Spinning off that I realized that my Mennonite culture in general had a great sense of humor and was quite hilarious and I realized there was never anything done on that in movies and TV. It’s usually dour, pretty serious story… so we decided to put that on its head."
Braun said that it’s a new look into what is a huge culture and segment of the population here in Manitoba.
That Mennonite Joke will be playing at Freeze Frame (340 Provencher Blvd.) on March 9 at 1 p.m. and March 10 at 10 a.m.; Graffiti Stories will be playing March 9 at 2 p.m. and March 10 at 11 a.m. For a full schedule, visit freezeframeonline.org