Wapikoni Cinema on Wheels hits the road in Vancouver, showcasing young, indigenous storytellers

There’s no talking in Heather Condo’s short film My Father’s Tools, but its message comes through loud and clear: tradition is important and skills should be preserved.

The skills here are those of master basket maker Stephen Jerome.

From actual tree selection to the final touches, the six-and-a-half minute film shows the Micmac man (Condo’s partner’s father) complete a basket in his workshop on the Gaesgapegiag First Nations reserve on the south shore of the Gaspésie.

There is an ancient rhythm to what Jerome does. Watching him run his hands over a rough log looking for knots and then carefully stripping off wafer-thin pieces of wood is fascinating and fully engrossing.

“They like that there is nothing that takes away from his action of making the basket and that’s what I wanted,” Condo says of reactions from her community about the film’s lack of talk.

The film, which has also screened at the Sundance Film Festival, is one of 14 short films that will be highlighted in the Wapikoni Cinema on Wheels project that hits the nationwide road starting here in Vancouver on April 23.

“I feel it showed me what an artist I can be and there’s so much support involved from their end,” Condo says of the Wapikoni program. “I went to them with my idea and they helped me tell a story that was very important to me and my family.”

To celebrate the tour’s launch, the Vancouver International Film Centre, which houses the Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF), is screening a special selection of films made by young, indigenous filmmakers.

“It’s very important for different audiences, diverse audiences to experience these films,” says Curtis Woloschuk, associate director of programming at VIFF. “That’s we are hoping to help them with the screening here.”

Basket maker Stephen Jerome at work in My Father’s Tool, a six-and-a-half minute film that shows the Micmac man (filmmaker Heather Condo’s partner’s father) completing a basket in his workshop on the Gaesgapegiag First Nations reserve on the south shore of the Gaspésie.

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Basket maker Stephen Jerome at work in My Father’s Tool, a six-and-a-half minute film that shows the Micmac man (filmmaker Heather Condo’s partner’s father) completing a basket in his workshop on the Gaesgapegiag First Nations reserve on the south shore of the Gaspésie.

Woloschuk says these films get the nod, first and foremost, due to their quality.

“Some of them have played Sundance, some our festival, TIFF and Nouveau Cinema in Montreal. These are films of an extremely high calibre and it’s an opportunity to see the next wave of great Canadian indigenous storytellers.”

The Wapikoni Cinema on Wheels tour has grown out of Wapikoni From Coast to Coast: Reconciliation

Source:: Vancouver Sun – Entertainment

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