Youth From Opaskwayak Cree Nation Shine Light On Suicide Epidemic In New Documentary

Still from the documentary The Secrets of the Bignell Bridge, which looks at the suicide epidemic impacting youth in Opaskwayak Cree Nation, Man. (Courtesy of Nu-Media)

Still from the documentary The Secrets of the Bignell Bridge, which looks at the suicide epidemic impacting youth in Opaskwayak Cree Nation, Man. (Courtesy of Nu-Media)

The youth ‘wanted to speak their truth,’ says Nu-Media president Jordan Molaro

CBC News | August 12, 2016

A new documentary created by youth from Opaskwayak Cree Nation is shining a light on the suicide epidemic in their home community.

The documentary was created in collaboration with Nu-Media, a production company from Winnipeg that tours First Nations to introduce Indigenous youth to film production.

“When we walk into a community, we don’t have any idea what we’re going to film, because we’re just the conduits. We just have the tools, we know how to use them,” said Jordan Molaro, president from Nu-Media.

The Secrets Behind The Bignell Bridge from Nu-Media onVimeo.

Molaro thought that when they went to OCN, the youth would want to make a lighthearted film – maybe a zombie or vampire story – but was surprised to find out they wanted to make a documentary about suicide.

“They wanted to speak their truth, they said that they were hurting themselves and that they were dying,” said Molaro.

Molaro says the youth were very courageous to make a film about such a dark topic, and they bring a unique perspective on the issue that Canadians haven’t yet seen.

“I think a lot of Canadians really don’t understand what is happening in our communities, and when we see stories that are shared, even on the CBC, we aren’t seeing it from the perspective of the youth,” said Molaro.

“We’ve never asked the youth what they truly want to do, we’ve never really asked them what they actually need, and they’re saying what we need to do is to just talk – because that doesn’t cost a thing.”

Molaro says that over the last year, there has been about 40 suicides in Opaskwayak Cree Nation. And since releasing the film this week, one more youth has ended their life.

Film premiere at Edmonton festival 

This fall the film will have its official Canadian premiere at Dreamspeakers Film Festival in Edmonton.

In October, Nu-Media will be holding a three-month Indigenous film internship in Winnipeg. The program is open to Indigenous youth ages 18-35 years, who are currently unemployed and living on reserve. The program is accepting 15 applicants, and Molaro plans to accept at least five youth from Opaskwayak Cree Nation.

http://www.cbc.ca/beta/news/aboriginal/opaskwayak-cree-nation-youth-shine-light-on-suicide-epidemic-in-doc-1.3719249

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