THUNDER BAY – A few Confederation College Graduates got their start working in the film industry thanks to summer internships with The Creative Sovereignty Lab.
The Creative Sovereignty Lab offers internships to Indigenous youth to help them get a start in the film industry and Colby Geisel, Niklas Metcalfe, and Zeke Quill, all of whom graduated from Confederation College’s Film Production Program in 2022, were approached by Directors, Kyle Schmalenberg and Victoria Anderson-Gardner to shoot their short film Braided Together in Thunder Bay.
“Our students impressed the crew with their knowledge and understanding, showing off the skills they learned in the program,” said Andrew Simpson, professor, Confederation College Film Production.
“This partnership was a huge success for all of us and we hope to play our part in the film program to bring more filmmakers and their stories to Thunder Bay in the future.”
Braided Together was the first step into professional filmmaking for all three students, Quill was hired as camera operator, Geisel, worked as first assistant camera, and Metcalfe worked as the film’s gaffer. In order to make this possible, Confederation College offered equipment for the graduates to use.
The short film is about a young girl, new to thunder Bay, who struggles to make friends and worries that she’ll face the same racism and exclusion that she had experienced in her past but through her perseverance, she learns about the struggles of others while she embarks on new friendships.
Kyle Schmalenberg, one of the directors of the film, says that Thunder Bay and the surrounding area were the perfect setting and film location.
“We wanted to film the short [in Thunder Bay] to build relationships with the city and its departments in terms of permits, with local businesses that could support the film, with the college itself, and to understand better what's possible about shooting in the North,” he said.
Schmalenberg says that it was important to him and his co-director that the film respected cultural traditions as well as ensuring that the new young crew members get the most experience out of this opportunity.
“The first two days of the week were spent doing workshop-related things, having Elders from the community give talks and help orient [the cast and crew] in a good way, and allowing mentors from the crew to train and develop practical skills with their mentees,”
Confederation College says that the film was well received at Vox Popular, a local media arts festival, and is currently enjoying a successful festival run and the hope is that the production team will return to the area to shoot a feature-length film.
After the film’s festival run is completed, it will be available to view online and Confederation College says it will work to promote the film and share the link to view, once available.