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Student Films Provide Unique Opportunity for Manitoulin

January 17, 2017

 

By Ashley Whyte
 
GORE BAY—Gore Bay resident Dylon Whyte, who has been acting with the Gore Bay Theatre for 23 years, and more recently on YouTube with his Daily Postcard Podcast, is always on the lookout for acting gigs.
 
“I follow several online boards dedicated to acting, but most of the work is just too far away to justify participating in. Although, I enjoyed playing a zombie last summer in Jayson Stewart’s award-winning short film, REZilience, which was filmed in and around Espanola,” said Mr. Whyte, “unfortunately I had to turn down the role of a dancing corpse in this year’s Cannibal House production, which was filming the same day as the Gore Bay Christmas market in November.”
 
“I was checking out the Northern Ontario Talent Facebook Group, who are now billing Sudbury as ‘Hollywood North,’ when I can across the suggestion of helping film students and gaining acting experience in return. It was ironic, of course, that I later stumbled upon an unlikely set of casting calls in the window of a local gas station,” said Mr. Whyte. Much to his surprise there were several notices for auditions, calling for actors and actresses to participate in student films with production beginning in February 2017.
 
“I snapped some pictures to share on social media, noting that amongst the casting calls were roles in science fiction, grindhouse and vampire movies. I would later discover other films on the diverse topics of artificial intelligence, music and the spirit world were being created by a dynamic group of enthusiastic young filmmakers. Some, like Joshua Yesno, are local students from M’Chigeeng, while others like Nolan Moberly are from further board such as Winnipeg, or even out of country such as Zander B. Metz of Florida,” explained Mr. Whyte.
 
“Independent schools like Weengushk Film Institute add tremendous value to our community, so it was my pleasure to support this year’s crop of budding artists by auditioning for roles in short films that each student is creating as part of their educational program,” said Mr. Whyte. “I sincerely hope that Manitoulin will continue to grow and develop into a centre for alternative education with more specialized schools such as the Manitoulin Conservatory for Performing Arts, the Debajehmujig Theatre Group, Kenjgewin Teg Educational Institute and of course Weengushk (Film Institute),” said Mr. Whyte. “Education will always be in demand, especially with an expanding world population. Manitoulin Island can greatly benefit from establishing itself as something more than just a tourist destination.”
 
Mr. Whyte noted that by the end of the auditions, for both he and his wife, the event had become more than just an occasion for building acting experience as they were providing an important learning opportunity for students, one that couldn’t happen without the participation of others. Mr. Whyte stated, “I can honestly say that neither my wife nor I have laughed that much in ages. It’s great to try on other characters and personalities, to be somebody other than the person you’re so used to being.”
 
Mr. Whyte continued, “in many ways, these mutually beneficial activities serve as a gentle introduction to the film industry, provide networking opportunities and, for those who have yet to get their feet wet, a way to discover and exercise their interest in performance arts.”
 
This year’s student films include: A Buffalo Song (Kyndra Wesley-Trapper), Disconnect (Joshua Yesno), The Night I Slept With the Devil (Zander B. Metz), Treble (Jasminn Jacko), This Time (Jonathon Zagula) and The Way of An Honest Man (Nolan Mo