Kamloops teen explores the idea of lockdown through Indigenous lens | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kamloops teen explores the idea of lockdown through Indigenous lens

Marius Fernandes, left, and his two brothers worked together on the documentary.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Tiffani Lee

A Kamloops teenager is one of several across the Thompson-Okanagan who are wrapping up a year-long film project.

Marius Fernandes, 16, wanted to focus on the people in his Indigenous community who were fighting for empowerment - until the global pandemic changed his process.

“Due to the pandemic, we had to cut out the main members of our crew, and our family became our main crew, our only crew. We adjusted the film so the whole thing would be shot in our house, to kind of show our day-to-day,” Fernandes says.

The youth who participated in the project by Reel Youth and Telus Storyhive were asked to focus on web-related topics like connection versus disconnection, cyberbullying, tech addiction and online safety. When the pandemic hit and he could no longer film and interview as he had planned, Fernandes chose to focus on music as it has been a way for him to communicate with the world since he was young.

“It’s easier for me to put my message out through music or through film because I’m not the best at having face to face conversations, conversations in general. The main way I get my message out is through music,” Fernandes says.

When the film production shifted to an at-home project, his parents became co-ordinators and directors, his brother worked the cameras and set up the shots, and he recruited his younger brother to help with odd jobs. Fernandes is the main subject of the documentary, but the film also focuses on their day-to-day family life, and how lockdown wasn’t really a new feeling for his First Nations family.

“Sure, indigenous people are on lockdown now, but we’ve pretty much been on lockdown for generations… this lockdown isn’t anything new to us. We’ve been on our reservations for generations, we used to have to get passes just to leave town and get groceries, children were in residential schools and separated from their families, they were locked down into one yard, one place pretty much until they’re grown, so that’s what I wanted to explain.”

Tiffani Lee, a media relations associate with National Public Relations, explains that this is the first time Reel Youth and Telus Storyhive have brought their youth-focused project to the Thompson-Okanagan.

“We had a group out in Vernon who did a scripted teen drama that focused specifically on cyberbullying. The whole premise of the story was, this girl gets cyberbullied on social media and it causes her to question her self image, and basically she receives comments, and as she does these comments become real,” Lee says.

Ten groups participated in the project, and have submitted their first rough draft. Reel Youth and Telus Storyhive members will work with the teens on revising the drafts, and Lee says all films will be released on the Youtube channel and Telus Optik TV at the end of August.

Lee says although many of the youth had to adjust to COVID-19 restrictions, it is an interesting opportunity to showcase how the pandemic played out for these teens.

“They’re using it basically as a time capsule, in hopes that in the future people can look back on their short film, and say, ‘oh, this is how people experience the pandemic of 2020, this is how they went through it.’”

To contact a reporter for this story, email Jenna Wheeler or call (250) 819-6089 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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