NORTHERN PENINSULA, NL – Premiering on YouTube early last week, a short documentary about life on the Great Northern Peninsula is already piling up plenty of views and praise.
“Cold Wind & Water: Life on the Northern Peninsula” details the culture and lifestyles of communities along the Northern Peninsula straits, with a sharp focus on the lives and insights of the
Grade 8 class at Canon Richards Memorial Academy.
The project began last November when the school received a $5,500-ArtsSmarts grant from ArtsNL to show students first-hand the art of filmmaking.
English teacher Lavinia Beaudoin was school co-ordinator on the documentary, and says after posting the documentary to the school’s Facebook group, the students were all enthralled with the final result.
“They thought it was awesome,” Beaudoin said. “They could not believe it turned out as good as it did. I was totally amazed as well.”
Filming took place for a week in May. The students not only expressed themselves on camera, but also took part in technical and behind-the-scenes aspects of filming. From designing questions, learning the technicalities of sound with mics and booms, and learning how to work the camera and frame shots, the students got a detailed look into the industry.
With a background in filmmaking and the arts, Latonia Hartery and Victoria Wells mentored and collaborated with the students.
Hartery says the documentary’s strength is in how well the students show their appreciation and connection to their unique Newfoundland culture.
“Seeing those young Newfoundlanders fearlessly express their culture to the rest of the world is amazing,” said Hartery. “It just thrills me that people identify with their culture and know it so well. They embrace it.”
As of Friday, Nov. 24, the video had over 4,500 views. Hartery says the fact it has gained so much traction so quickly is proof of how powerful the students’ involvement was.
“With those numbers it has to be resonating,” she said.
With the involvement of ArtsNL and the St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival’s FRAMED Film Education Series, Beaudoin says the students were given an experience they wouldn’t have the resources to do on their own.
“The students really worked hard and enjoyed the process,” said Beaudoin. “It was well worth the learning that took place there.”