Instagram project asks what attracts volunteers to patrol Winnipeg neighbourhoods
National Film Board Instagram project, What Brings Us Here, is a companion to film This River
A new Instagram project launched by the National Film Board (NFB) of Canada gives a face to community-run Winnipeg search teams the Bear Clan and Drag the Red.
Called "What Brings Us Here," the project includes portraits of volunteers, with an answer to the simple question: what brings you here to do this work?
It is a companion piece to the film, This River, which looks at the experiences of Kyle Kemach and the film's director, Katherena Vermette, who have both gone through having a family member disappear.
For the companion piece, Vermette wanted to expand the scope of voices included to capture the depth and complexity of the national issue of missing and murdered Indigenous people.
"We want to take people inside of what it's like to have a missing loved one," said Alicia Smith, who was the film's producer and helped create the Instagram project.
The photographs were taken by local photographers Karin Asher, Mark Reimer and Janine Kropla. And Smith interviewed participants about why they volunteer.
Smith hopes the project will expose people to the community search teams who might not otherwise know about them.
"Doing this kind of work provides access to communities where you wouldn't normally have it," said Smith. "You can show up and be welcomed, regardless of who you are and where you come from."
By participating with the volunteer groups, Smith saw first hand how difficult the work is.
"So many of the stories resonate … they show the strength, and grace and resilience of this group of people who, in the face of a lot of trauma, are doing this work," said Smith. "It's just incredible to witness."
The project runs until mid-November. After that, the account will be used for other photography-based NFB projects.