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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 Moberly).
 
In a release earlier this week, Weengushk Film Institute announced it is seeking community donations to support the production of its upcoming student films. “Filming of eight student films are scheduled to start January 22 and run until February 25. Each of the students at Weengushk Film Institute will have three days during this time to shoot their individual short films, with the final product becoming their calling card to the film industry.”
 
“With an overall small budget for their films, students at Weengushk Film Institute are asking the community for as much help as possible. To date, students (at Weengushk) are still looking for locations to shoot, wardrobe, hair products, make-up essentials and food to feed their cast and crew during the 12- to 14-hour days.”
 
If you wish to donate any of these items to students at Weengushk Film Institute, there is a drop box located at the Tom Peltier Centre, 5494 Hwy 540 West, M’Chigeeng. Should you choose to sponsor a student through monetary means, Weengushk Film Institute accepts both email money transfers or cheques made payable to Weengushk Film Institute. All donations are tax deductible.
 
For more information on donating to the student films please contact: Shirley Cheechoo, Weengushk Film Institute executive producer, (705) 377-6011 sdcheechoo@gmail.com or Greta Cheechoo at gretacheechoo@gmail.com.
 
Original story posted at http://www.manitoulin.ca/2017/01/13/student-films-provide-unique-opportunity-manitoulin/

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