Youth at Ndinawemaaganag Endaawaad Inc., also known as Ndinawe, are preparing to showcase a series of seven short films they produced alongside established Winnipeg filmmaker Jim Agapito.
The series, called Welcome to Ndinawe, was shot over the course of nearly two years, and highlights various elements of the organization and the youth who access its services.
Ndinawe (650 Burrows Ave.) is a not-for-profit that helps at-risk kids between 11 to 17 years old.
As part of the Winnipeg Arts Council’s Youth WITH ART program, which matches a community group with an artist to plan and create a project, Ndinawe was paired with Agapito.
Although many youth at the centre took part in the project, five were the primary filmmakers — Gabrielle Fiddler, George Harper, Vaz Shingoose, Matthew Boulette, and Daniel Frazier. They addressed topics such as housing and shelter, food and cooking, and music and art.
Bernard Ferguson, the art program co-ordinator at Ndinawe, said the films provide a youth’s lens in to what it’s like living in the North End.
"I think the most important thing is they had a chance to have a voice and to speak about their experience… (and) the youth just getting a chance to show their work and creative experience.
"I’m hoping that people will have a little more in-depth look into youth culture, and youth culture in the North End, and the importance of youth programming," Ferguson said.
When the project first began, Fiddler, who is now 19, was a youth attending Ndinawe. But now she works at the centre as a youth activities facilitator with her sights set on a career in law enforcement.
"It was an opportunity to show Winnipeg, and possibly more, who we are," she said, adding that the series attempts to defeat stereotypes people often have of the North End.
Additionally, she said, the project allowed youth to explore their skills and identities while producing something they could be proud of.
Agapito, who previously lived in the North End area, said he saw growth not only in the identities of the youth but also in their abilities. He taught them the basics of camera art, including photography, audio, making storyboards, and editing.
"I think that programs like (Youth WITH ART) are great because it gives options to some of the kids," Agapito said.
"I think there’s a big need, and I hope that things like this don’t end because I think community groups really need stuff like this."
In addition to the film series, the youth also worked on a music video for Cancer Bats, a hardcore punk rock band from Toronto, Ont. The video for the song Brightest Days has more than 44,500 views on YouTube.
A public screening of the film series will be held at Sergeant Tommy Prince Place (90 Sinclair St.) on Fri., Nov. 22 between 6:30 and 8:30 p.m.
There will be free pizza and treats.
Community Journalist - The Times
Sydney Hildebrandt is the community journalist for The Times. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org