COM011 – Wapikoni Mobile: A Media Window On Many Voices

In the latest federal election, more Aboriginal Members of Parliament were elected than ever before. Over the last few years, the issues facing Aboriginal people in Canada have received important media attention. And yet, the general Canadian population still struggles to understand the situations Aboriginal people in Canada must deal with, and their day-to-day experiences.

Shooting My Uncle AntoineNot well-know outside Quebec, Wapikoni Mobile is a unique project that enables ordinary people in Aboriginal communities in that province to communicate whatever is on their mind through the production of video and music (http://www.wapikoni.ca).

Established in 2004, Wapikoni Mobile sends mobile audio-visual studios to First Nations communities throughout Quebec, acting with both a social and a media vocation. Young community members have the opportunity to participate in musical recording or video production workshops. Wapikoni proudly lists their accomplishments over the last 10 years, including:

  • A Wapikoni Mobile mobile studio26 communities from 9 different nations, visited to date.
  • Since its initial stages, more than 3,000 youth trained or initiated to documentary film or musical recording, where 300 to 500 new participants are added on each year.
  • 50 short films and 30 musical recordings created every year in Canada and abroad.
  • A collection, unique of its kind in the world, featuring more than 750 films and 450 musical recordings; an exceptional First Nations cultural heritage.
  • 87 awards and mentions earned in prestigious national and international festivals.

The video workshop template that Wapikoni Mobile offers includes an Aboriginal coordinator and an assistant filmmaker hired in the community. The team is rounded out with two mentor-filmmaker professionals and a social worker. Together they guide youth through practical workshops that emphasize learning by doing – writing, directing, camerawork, sound recording and editing.

The month-long workshops result in the creationThe Old Man and the River of original, technically- proficient short films that are presented in the community and in other venues. Wapikoni’s website describes other special projects and spin-off training that have developed from this base.

The video work, which I am most familiar with, ranges from very personal documentaries and political analysis to short dramas and experimental projects. The pieces reflect a spectrum of ability, and are imbued with the energy and vitality of creators eager to grab hold of the tools of digital expression. Some of them are jewels that have received deserved notice in national and international film festivals.

A few of my favorites, to name but a few,  include:Correcting the Chalkboard

There is a cumulative effect for anyone who takes just a little time to dip into the more than 750 short films available for screening on the website. The people telling their stories begin to lift away from the stereotypes, the two-dimensional portrayals, and the theoretical persectives that many of us work with when we consider Aboriginal peoples’ issues.Workshop in progress

Wapikoni Mobile doesn’t offer all-encompassing analysis or a monolithic view – just the many voices of many ordinary people, voices that aren’t often heard anywhere else. If you want to get to know some of the experiences, stories and opinions of some Aboriginal people, I invite you to watch their short films.

3 thoughts on “COM011 – Wapikoni Mobile: A Media Window On Many Voices

  1. Hey Sabrina Thank you for sharing about the Wapikoni mobile unique project where aboriginal
    are sharing their thoughts through short films on the website.

  2. I read this with keen interest. I started my professional career in community radio and these are great extensions of the original concepts. This is great. Is there a Facebook page that allows you to redistribute the material beyond the website? I would think one of the greatest things would be to get the best content out there far and wide!

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