Rainy River youth learn filmmaking techniques

Year 1 No. 26 — Friday, September 23, 2016

Indigenous filmmaker Tony McGuire enjoyed working with youth in Rainy River First Nations on the Now and Forever film that premiered on Sept. 18 at the Bay Street Film Festival.
“They learned a lot of techniques,” says Tony McGuire, director of the film and lead director of Theymedia in Thunder Bay. “They learned how to hunt and fish and trap. The little girls wanted to use the guns and the guys wanted to fish. It was a great experience.”

The youth were trained on high-end RED, Canon broadcast and GoPro cameras and instructed on interview technique, story telling and how to use technology to embrace and spread their voice in the community and outside of it.
“That was like a $30,000 camera,” McGuire says. “We let the kids use it. I don’t think a lot of people are really doing that, so we were like: ‘Yeah, use the camera.’ And we just watched them and they loved it. They learned some really cool stuff.”

McGuire says the youth were more careful with the camera than some of the crew members.
“The kids were like they were guarding it,” McGuire says. “It was great.”

McGuire says the 23-minute film was a hit when it was screened in Rainy River First Nations.
“They did a premiere and it was a great response,” McGuire says. “The youth really liked it. It was very positive. In the film there was that kid at the end and he says: ‘I’m glad that they (Elders) even wanted to talk to us.’”
McGuire says that was a sad moment for him.

“In many communities the youth just aren’t learning their history or their traditions,” McGuire says. “That could be through colonization principles or whatever, but that guy said it best. He said: ‘I’m just happy they’re here to teach us.’ And I thought that was the best part of the film.”

McGuire says the Elders have thousands of years of knowledge to share.
“We’ve got to start teaching our kids,” McGuire says. “You’ve got to learn from the Elders.”

McGuire says one of the most powerful things about Indigenous culture is the storytelling.
“Teaching people fishing and hunting and their traditions is a form of storytelling, so for me as an Indigenous filmmaker, it is not hard to take that leap and use cameras to bring it to a wider audience,” McGuire says. “I think that is very important for more Indigenous people to do that to get a wider audience.”

McGuire says he didn’t know he would have to become an active participant in the film when he began the filming process.

‘My mother is here — she is a doctor at Carleton and one of the things she talked about, I believe it was her thesis, is that it is impossible to not become part of the story when it comes to Indigenous culture, like the subjective and objective just don’t exist,” McGuire says. “So that is when I decided in this film to throw my voice in and kind of join in to the film. So you can hear me and how I had to become part of their reserve or their First Nation or their community.”

McGuire has travelled extensively across Canada for his photography and video projects. His professional portfolio includes about 50 projects ranging from photography and video to feature films.
The Now and Forever film was produced by Jason Wilson, Tony McGuire and Cheyenne King.