Sunday, August 2, 2015

Film project in works

Have you got a film in you?
Aboriginal youth will get the opportunity this summer to explore stop-motion animation and video art while making their own one-minute films based on the Seven Sacred Teachings.

Award-winning local filmmaker Terril Calder will be at the United Native Friendship Centre here to teach a series of free workshops to creative, self-motivated youth aged 13-25.
What’s needed now is seven dedicated young people to create and direct the short films.
“You needn’t know anything about film,” Calder said in an interview from Toronto.
“You just need to be excited to learn and I’ll help you figure out the rest,” she remarked.
“My belief is you just have to be creative and want to learn, and always do something that interests you.”
Calder said seven creators ultimately must be responsible for their own films, but workshop participants need not be restricted to just that number.
“If they want to work with other people, they can come on board and help with the other films,” she noted.
Calder said even if someone doesn’t have the time to fully commit to the process, or are just curious about one aspect of filmmaking, they also can come out and attend any of the workshops she’ll be leading.
Those interested are asked to apply to the project by submitting a résumé and sample of their creative work, as well as a one- to two-page cover letter explaining why they want to take on the challenge of making a short film.
Applications must be made to literacy worker Matthew Calder at the United Native Friendship Centre, with the deadline being next Wednesday (June 18).
Either drop by the UNFC, or contact him at 274-8541 or via e-mail at
The program will run from June 25-Aug. 15.
There will be workshops from June 25-July 11, followed by independent studio time to work on films from July 14-Aug. 8.
Then more workshops will run from Aug. 11-15.
Calder said the workshops will include do-it-yourself filmmaking, stop-frame animation, special effects, prosthetic making, lighting techniques, audio, and more.
“Basically, everything I do in my own practice, I want to teach,” she explained.
“I want to give people access to that knowledge, that material.”
The end goal is for each young creator to make a one-minute film. By the summer’s end, all seven will be edited together as one short film called “7,” about the Seven Sacred Teachings.
“If anybody walks away with a better understanding or interest or inspiration for film, I think that would be great,” Calder enthused.
“It’s a lot of information but there’s no test at the end,” she stressed.
“It’s just supposed to be fun.”
Calder, who has taught youth in Winnipeg and Toronto, and enjoys helping young creators make their visions a reality, got the idea to hold the workshop series here while she and her cousin, Matthew Calder, were attending a special effects exhibit in Toronto last year.
“I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool if I went back [to Fort Frances]? There seems to be an interest and it’s hard to get your hands on all the supplies and stuff there, so maybe I should teach a course?’
“And then it became making a one-minute film.”
The pair pitched the idea to UNFC executive director Sheila McMahon, who liked it.
Calder then put a grant application into the Ontario Arts Council (OAC) and was successful.
This summer’s program is funded through the UNFC and OAC.
Looking ahead, Calder said she’s aware of several filmmakers in Fort Frances and would love to see more such workshops held for local youth down the road.
She added that after her project this summer, she’ll be setting up the UNFC with gear and supplies. And perhaps next year, another filmmaker will pick up the reins and do a workshop of their own.
Calder, whose animated short “Choke” was nominated for a Genie Award in 2012, currently is wrapping up her first feature film, “The Lodge,” which she’s been working on for four years.
It will premiere in the fall.
For more information about Calder and her work, visit

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