Film Festival 2023 reflects on Indigenous themes

Students prepare for end-of-year showcase event

6/14/2023 2:48:27 PM

STEPHENVILLE, NL – College of the North Atlantic’s (CNA) Digital Filmmaking 2023 Final Film Festival is set to showcase a wide variety of films from local and international filmmakers on Thursday, June 22 at 7 p.m. at the Stephenville Cinema.

The highlight of the festival will be the screening of Shanawdithit: A Beothuk Story, a short film about the life of Shanawdithit, the last-known member of the Beothuks.

The film is directed by award winning Indigenous filmmaker, Eric White, and it tells the poignant story of Shanawdithit’ s life and the tragic fate of the Beothuk peoples. Supported by deep research, interviews with archaeologists, and members of the Indigenous community, the film explores the culture and traditions of this once-thriving nation and the impact colonization had on their way of life.

"We are thrilled to have Shanawdithit: A Beothuk Story as our centrepiece film for the festival," said Peter Buckle, festival producer and Digital Filmmaking instructor at CNA’s Bay St. George campus. "It's a powerful and important story that sheds light on an often-overlooked part of Canadian history. We hope it will spark conversations and raise awareness about the ongoing struggles of Indigenous peoples in Canada and around the world.”

Buckle notes that it was especially important that the students get the information right when telling the story.

“Eric has been working with the students since January on writing, researching and vetting the script. The students have taken this project extremely serious, they know the importance of the story they are about to tell and they understand the responsibility they are taking on by telling this story, as a result they have been very careful to get the story right.”

In addition, the festival will also showcase, as it does every year, the short films, promotions, and documentaries produced by the Digital Filmmaking graduating class of 2023.

The genres of these films range from horror and drama to experimental pieces. The films to be screened alongside the second-year students’ intersession film are: A Deal with God, Frogs, Not a Celebrity, Library of Terror, Boba Dreams, Torn, and, A Behind the Scenes Clip.

“Every year we find a story from the Newfoundland and Labrador history books, our students then develop a screenplay around the idea through research with the community and produce a short film,” said Buckle. “They design all aspects, from locations and sets to shots and lighting, from there they edit the film within three weeks and at the end of the semester present the film to a live audience.”

The CNA Digital Filmmaking 2023 Film Festival aims to showcase the best in independent cinema and celebrate the diversity of voices and stories that are seldom told.

June marks an important month for the Indigenous communities throughout Canada as it is an opportunity to embrace the vibrant traditions, stories, and artistic expressions of the Indigenous peoples.

For information about Digital Filmmaking or other CNA programs, visit:
Media Contacts:

Peter Buckle, Festival Producer
CNA Digital Filmmaking 2023 Film Festival

Michelle Barry
Communications Manager
College of the North Atlantic