M’CHIGEENG—The first year of the Weengushk Film Institute’s (WFI) Film Studies course accredited through Brock University will be soon drawing to a close and students have been wrapping up filming on their projects with enthusiasm to spare.
“It’s been a wonderful year,” said Shirley Cheechoo, WFI executive and artistic director. “That the program is accredited is huge for aboriginal and diverse youth.”
While the WFI program is accredited and students build university credits, it is open to students that may not have the traditional entry requirements for university therefore it can “open doors for higher education and open up careers in the industry for youth,” noted Ms. Cheechoo. “By the time the kids finish here in April, they will have eight films on their résumés. They will all be going to Brock to graduate.”
The instructors taking part in the program are nothing short of impressive. “We have really good instructors,” said Ms. Cheechoo. “Mark Irwin (Robocop, Something about Mary, Dumb and Dumber etc.) has shot a lot of Dreamworks films. Producer Patrick Cassavetti (Brazil, Waterland, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas) is amazing, Phyllis Ellis has two Gemini Awards, two films premiering at the Sundance Film Festival and has lots of US screenwriting awards and Navin Ramaswaran whose recent projects include the Coca Cola freestyle campaign, Late Night Double Feature and One More for the Road.”
Ms. Cheechoo notes that there has also been international interest in the WFI program. “It is a good thing for storytelling,” she said, “and a good thing for Manitoulin.”
Each student creates their own short film