As part of the Festival du nouveau cinéma (FNC), Wapikoni Mobile celebrated its first international launch yesterday with the screening of the year’s best films. Among the special guests of the night were some thirty young filmmakers from First Nations of Quebec and Latin America who have traveled a long way from their remote communities to share their work. Ghislain Picard, Chief of the Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador, attended the screening and came to salute and encourage the work of these young artists. The Anishnabe rapper and spokesperson for the Wapikoni Mobile, Samian, also joined the night through video. He announced the concert that he will give for the benefit of the organization featuring Florent Vollant, Elisapie Isaac, Loco Locass, Richard Séguin, Anodajay and other friends on November 29that the Club Soda.
In addition to the screening of 19 short films, one of the strongest moments of the launch was the Astral People’s choice Award, which was given to Jérémy Vassiliou from the Innu community of Uashat mak Mani-Utenam for his film La joie de vivre. In this short film, Jeremy delivers a message of hope and speaks of the zest of life. The choice was not at all easy this year, since yet again, the young filmmakers who benefited from the mobile studios’ visit in their communities proved their high skills, presenting a program of high quality. “Today, the Wapikoni Mobile is still alive and striving, and the quality of the 2011 launch proves it!” explained Manon Barbeau; General Director and founder of Wapikoni Mobile. “For the 2011 launch, we’ve had to innovate in order to adapt to the challenges that Wapikoni Mobile has recently faced”, she added. Thereby, the public discovered this year’s international selection including films from Bolivia, Peru, and Chili, thanks to partnerships with Oxfam Quebec, SUCO, and foreign NGOs, CEFREC (Bolivia) and Télé Mapuche (Chile). Beyond the screening of the films, the launch allowed the young participants to express themselves through words and thoughts, and also through music, with the performance of Sakay Ottawa who closed the night with his songs.
Another new aspect of this year was a money-raising effort. “We are presently, and more than ever before, seeking new channels for financial support. Thanks to our governmental partnerships, both federal and provincial, to our private partners and to the engagement of the public, the Wapikoni continues to roll! Several new projects are in the makes and need additional funding support”, Manon Barbeau said. She invited the public to make an easy and concrete gesture that could be of great help by voting for the Wapikoni project submitted on the Aviva Community Fund Competition website, which could help finance Wapikoni Mobile’s visits to the communities.