The 10th anniversary of the Winnipeg Aboriginal Film Festival kicked off on November 16th.
Part of the festival involves a program called Building Bridges. It's part of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Commemoration Initiative and deals with the impact residential schools have played on many generations.
A special screening of sixteen youth videos is planned for Friday, November 18th. These young Aboriginals were mentored earlier this year as part of the project Our Stories Our Identities.
Fifteen year old Josh Kennedy is one of the youths. His music video is called Screw the Drugs.
SCENE asked Josh about his experience:
Your music video has a strong title. Why did you choose it?
Because I feel very strongly about seeing all my friends being impacted by drugs and alcohol. And it really affects me, seeing them.
How have drugs and substance abuse impacted you and your family?
My family, they drank a lot from being in residential school. What happened was, my grandma was desensitized and didn't know how to properly bond with her sons and daughters.
My mom felt like my grandma hated her, but she really didn't. So my mother drank when she was a teenager and it affected us, too. She was too much of a young mom and had no parental experience so she was forced to give us up to CFS. And then we went to our grandma for five years.
You're back together now with your immediate family. Are things better now?
Yes. She made the right choices and got her kids back. I feel like a missing piece of the puzzle has been pushed in.
What was the experience like, working with a mentor in the "Our Stories Our Identities" program?
It was beautiful. It was awesome. Coleen (Rajotte) is like another auntie. It was really fun. I really enjoyed it. We learned a lot about editing and how light changes things.
What message do you want to send with your music video?
Don't do drugs at all, man!
How did making it help you deal with your past? How did it make you feel?
It helped me, spiritually. It made me feel accomplished and worthy. It helps me be determined, like "yes" I already made a video so maybe I can make more.
Josh Kennedy's music video, along with 15 other films will be presented on Friday, Nov. 18th as part of Building Bridges in the Winnipeg Aboriginal Film Festival. The screenings take place during the day starting at 9:00 at the Asper Centre for Theatre and Film at the University of Winnipeg.