Nfld. & Labrador

Pride short by Corner Brook students debuts at Nickel Film Festival

Nickel's filmmaking workshop gave Corner Brook Regional High students an opportunity to express pride in their LGBTQ community.

Corner Brook Regional High students teamed up with the festival to create the LGBTQ short film

From left, Sophie Peckford, Abigail Hynes and Jessie Lawrence created a film to be aired at the Nickel Film Festival on opening day June 19. (Rebecca Blake/CBC)

A short film by Corner Brook high school students that came out of a Nickel Film Festival workshop will debut at the festival on Saturday. 

The film, Corner Brook Pride, was made in a workshop lead by Nickel filmmakers Brad Gover and Lian Morrison and meant to introduce high school students to filmmaking.

"It was great to see the enthusiasm." said Gover, who called the whole experience "personally rewarding."

That enthusiasm spread to other members of production.

"I told Brad, I'm going to edit this one," said editor Lian Morrison, in reference to the student-made film.

Focus on an underrepresented community

The Corner Brook Regional High students, who had one day to shoot the film, decided to focus on the school's LGBTQ community.

"There were two students in our school that came up with the topic. As a member of the pride alliance, then I came on," said Sophie Peckford, 16, one of the student filmmakers.

"We wanted to interview a variety of people."

The past for LGBTQ students at the school was very different than the present, said English teacher Abigail Hynes.

"I've often said to my students, there were nearly 1,000 students but nobody was gay." Hynes said.

"I should rephrase that. I knew people who were queer or LGBT, I just didn't know that they were LGBT."

That was the late 1980s, when Corner Brook Regional High was called Herdman Collegiate and LGBTQ pride was taboo.

'I think it's going to be impactful'

The past plays a role in the steps the pride alliance takes to make the school community more accepting today.

Founded in 2012 by Kendra Wheeler, the school's pride alliance is a safe environment for allies and LGBTQ students to gather.

The alliance has hosted two gay-straight alliance conferences, one in 2014 and another in 2015. They've made changes to the school facilities too, redesignating a bathroom as a gender-neutral washroom.

The student filmmakers hope that the film influences the future of the LGBTQ community within Corner Brook Regional High.

"I absolutely love it. I think it's a beautiful video that really does capture what we're trying to present," said Jessie Lawrence, 15, a pride alliance member and a student filmmaker.

"I think it's going to be impactful. It's going to represent where Newfoundland is, where some of our schools are and where we still have to go."

The short film will debut at the festival's family-friendly matinee presentation on Saturday June 23 at The Rooms.


Rebecca Blake is an intern at CBC Corner Brook, and a student of the journalism program at the College of the North Atlantic.