Last week I made the trek to Hartley Bay, a 160 person First Nations community only accessible by boat or float plane in the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest at the mouth of the Douglas Channel. The traditional territory of the Gitga'at people, it is a remote community surrounded by some of the most pristine forest in the world. Nicolas Teichrob, who I am working on the STAND film project with, had spent time in Hartley Bay last November shooting the trailer for STAND. After meeting the people and sharing his work, he and I were invited back to conduct a photo and video workshop with students and staff of the community school.Hoping to develop an audio visual studio at the school, they wanted to learn how to use their new Canon DSLR cameras along with how to use Adobe Lightroom and iMovie. Some of the teachers were interested in integrating multimedia in their language curriculum which seemed a great idea.
Five high school students and six staff participated, learning the fundamentals of photography along with the post production workflow. We gave them the task of shooting a 1 minute video or slideshow on any topic that they choose. Topics ranged from the salmon in the river to the natural beauty of the forest, the parallels between plants and women as they age and how there is beauty in each stage to the employment opportunities in the community. Over 3 days they participants shot and edited their shows before presenting them to the group on Sunday morning.
For myself it was a gratifying experience to share some of my knowledge and experience with people really eager to learn and tell their own stories. Being my first time in Hartley Bay, watching all the shows gave a unique insight into how the people themselves view their home.
By the final afternoon many had already begun work on their own personal projects on family or their favorite teen band while Nic and I became redundant as students helped the adults, mastering their new skills.
A big thank you to the school board for having us up and offering us such incredible hospitality. Most of all, thank you for sharing your stories.