All photos by Reel Youth. For the full gallery,  click here .

All photos by Reel Youth. For the full gallery, click here.

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This past February, Skills Canada Nunavut and Reel Youth teamed up to offer a two-week intensive film program for students at Qiqirtaq High School in Gjoa Haven. The program was designed to offer hands-on, professional training in shooting and editing techniques to any interested students, provided they attended school everyday and participated in all program activities.

Led by instructors Mark Vonesch and Tiffany Moses, who are not new to the north and have run youth film programs across NWT and Nunavut including Kugluktuk, students began learning immediately through hands-on mentorship. We invited elders to participate in the program as students were encourage to use the modern film skills they were learning as an opportunity to capture their families’ traditional lives and stories, growing up Gjoa Haven. Participants came to school everyday eager to continue working hard on their films and collaborate with each other. Despite the bitter winter conditions, students were outside filming on-location in their community. They even decided worked over the weekends to make sure they collected all the footage they would need to edit their films before the program ended and take advantage of having professional training available to them for free.

All photos by Reel Youth. For the full gallery,  click here

All photos by Reel Youth. For the full gallery, click here

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Technology is changing rapidly and has become more accessible, even in remote areas like Gjoa Haven. However, the ability to use technology effectively is crucial for youth so that they are able to articulate their unique perspectives, share their experiences with a wider audience, and prepare them for future career opportunities. Film technology is especially enticing for youth, but due to the high cost of equipment and unreliable internet, youth in Nunavut have more difficulty getting exposure to it, but they are no less interested, which is why we wanted to run this program. It also provided an opportunity for elders to be engaged with youth during the learning process and connect in a new, creative way.

The response from the students and their families was very positive. Qiqirtaq High School principal and staff were very supportive of the program, and we could have run in without them. All students who participated received at CTS course credit in Media Studies. One of the participants, Jenny Aqqaq, who had never made a film before taking part in this program, went on to place 5th at the Skills Canada National Competition in Halifax. She hopes to continue on film-making and we can’t wait to see what she produces next. All the completed films were recently

We hope that by seeing the real-life results of programs likes these, we can inspire educators and administrators to continue to offer more hands-on training programs in schools across Nunavut. Inspired students contribute to making their communities healthier and ultimately Nunavut youth will build the future of this territory and country, so why not give them the best opportunities possible?

Check out ALL the Qiqirtaq High School students’ short films:

Rebecca Iquollaq reflects on her life growing up in an Iglu on the land before houses or cellphones. She remembers the year 1966, when the RCMP shot all of her family's sled dogs, and they went hungry because they could no longer hunt for caribou.
Some of Alisa's childhood memories still send her into peals of giggles. Having been raised by her grandparents on the land, she shares her sparkly personality and hopes for the younger generations. In the winter of 2019, Reel Youth visited Gjoa Haven, NU and facilitated an intergenerational film program with local youth and Elders.
Jimmy Qirqqut is a fluent Inuktitut speaker who speaks of the difficulty of connecting with the younger generation, who speak "the white man's language". Jimmy never went to residential school and instead grew up on the land - hunting, fishing, and building Iglus as his father taught him.
With her infectious laughter, Gjoa Haven Elder Mary Agilriaq's reflects on country food, traditional medicines and shares a story to get you giggling along with her. In the winter of 2019, Reel Youth visited Gjoa Haven, NU and facilitated an intergenerational film program with local youth and Elders.
In this touching mini-documentary Gjoa Haven Elder Ruth Qirqqut speaks of her love of sewing and what it means in her life, of hunting and of young people today. In the winter of 2019, Reel Youth visited Gjoa Haven, NU and facilitated an intergenerational film program with local youth and Elders.


Thank you to Trinia Sallerina and staff of Qiqirtaq High School, the Government of Nunavut, the elders, volunteers, Gjoa Haven community and student participants who made this program possible!