Wapikoni Mobile Trailer prepares Indigenous youth with empowerment and direction

Posted 8 August 2018 by in Anishinaabe


Thunder Bay, On – Wapikoni has been in Thunder Bay for three weeks preparing for their finale on August 17th, 2018.  It has been awakening the creative spirit, confidence and the resiliency of local young Indigenous artists, storytellers, songwriters, photographers, inspiring to make their dreams a reality. You are treated like an artist from the moment you walk into the studio.

The stigma that social justice issues relating to lateral, domestic, homeless and intergenerational faces many Indigenous youth, in urban/remote settings and it is becoming accepted like it’s a norm.  The Wapikoni Mobile trailer is a powerful tool for Indigenous youth.  What is inside is waiting to be discovered.

For local talent across Turtle Island, it opens doors for possibilities beyond their dreams. The Wapikoni team teaches, guides, and listens to local Indigenous youth with ideas who want to do films and/or music video and give direction in art.

“Lets Help give Indigenous Youth a Voice,” is written on their trailer.  First Nations Travelling Audiovisual and musical training Studios for Indigenous youth between 15 – 35 years old.

The History

In 2002, a young cree woman, from Wemotaci, Quebec named Wapikoni Awashish  died in a car accident at the age of twenty.  At the time, Wapikoni was filming a feature-length, that was entitled “La fin du mapris.”  written by Director/filmmaker/Founder of Wapikoni Mobile, Manon Barbeau.

Wapikoni Awashish was Manon Barbeau’s closest collaborator. In 2004, to honor her memory, the launch of Wapikoni Mobile, a non-profit organization, took place during the 2004 Montreal First Peoples Festival.  The idea of a studio on wheels was born in her name,Wapikoni and has not stopped since.

In partnership with the Council of the Atikamekw Nation Youth Council and the First Nations of Quebec and Labrador and with the support of the Assembly of First Nations and the collaboration of the National Film Board of Canada. Today, with experienced young filmmakers, and youth outreach workers, teaming up with local youth, of the many visits they make across Turtle Island. Wapikoni Mobile has created over 1000 videos archived to date in many languages. You can find them on their website www.wapikoni.ca

Over the long weekend, Wapikoni Mobile successfully completed one film in Fort William First Nation where Jack Belhumeur resides and Directed and leading actor on a story of Elder Abuse called, “Respect your elders Chum.”

On Sunday, in Charry’s Park, a team was busy filming a music video called , “Heritage” by Plan B Strik9 / Benjamin Murray, who seems to possess a style of a mini easy-to-talk too, Stevie Ray Vaugh, but with digital skills in music, says he doesn’t play guitar though. Benjamin Murray is the owner/operator of  “Ghetto Children Entertainment that started from an idea.

Interested youth who came out to witness an idea come to life, left with a positive impression watching how its done and a friendly introduction to the team of Wapikoni. Plan B Strik9, born and raised in Thunder Bay, recorded another completed music video, that will be on YouTube, along with another video because Thunder Bay, Ontario is #1 Murder capital of Canada again, after holding it years prior, “Murder Weapon,” was recorded in his own studio, “Ghetto Children Entertainment.”

The finale will be showing on August 17, 2018. If you like to check them out, Doors are open from 11 – 5pm everyday or you can call them at (514) 276-9274 for further information.

We look forward to covering this event. Hope to see you there.

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