Film project to focus on teens
Buddingfilmmaker Damon Cox, from Stanstead, may turn fifteen teenagers from the area into filmmakers too with an interesting project that he has in the works. “Through our Eyes” is the tentative title of a film that he hopes to create with teenagers who either live in Stanstead or live in a neighbouring community and spend much of their time there.
“After I came here in 2008, I heard a lot about the history of the town, how it was once a bustling community. The overall morale in the town seemed low but I saw that change with Hockeyville. I started thinking about making a film that would be interesting and engaging about the community and because the youth are an important aspect of any community, I wanted to involve them,” explained Mr. Cox in an interview with the Stanstead Journal.
When Damon’s mother died unexpectedly last year in Ontario, at first he put the movie idea on hold. “The com-
munity where my mother was living, although they didn’t know us, came out and supported us. That reminded me of the importance of community. I thought why shouldn’t I do this movie, I have all the tools available to me.”
“The overall theme of the film is about how these kids see their own town and where do they belong in it. And having to do research about the town, how will that impact their perception. I saw the film as a mobilization project that the community can get behind and, at the same time, the kids can tell their story. There is a pedagogical aspect in that they will have to research the history of the town and the history of their own families. This gives them a tangible way of understanding their own sense of belonging,” commented Mr. Cox.
“It should take about a full year to make it. The goal is to create five vignettes, having the kids work in groups of three. They will have to come up with ideas, pitch the ideas to their peers, find subjects to interview and do research. Albert Neremberg, the filmmaker, has agreed to come and talk with the kids and so has independent documentary filmmaker Pierre Samuel Rioux. They will learn how to make a film. And what’s unique about this project is that while they are making their movies, we’ll film what they’re going through, how they change during the process,” said Mr. Cox. “It will also be a bilingual film because that’s one of the most important aspects of the town,” he added.
Damon is hoping to attract a diverse range of teenagers for the project. “I’m hoping to have kids from Stanstead College, La Ruche, Galt and some teens who have dropped out of school. They will learn the skill of creating a story and then having to communicate that story. No matter where they go in life, those kinds of skills apply. Taking part in a project like this can develop a sense of self-worth and it gets them engaged in the community.”
Once the film is made, Mr. Cox and his fellow filmmakers will then promote the movie, submitting it to film festivals like the Eastern Townships Film Festival and Toronto’s Hot Docs. The first screening will be held right in Stanstead during the Stanstead Centre des Arts
2013 program that takes place behind La Vieille Douane Restaurant during the summer. The second screening will be at next summer’s Shazamfest.
Although he is still in need of some funding, there seems to be a lot of interest and support for Mr. Cox’s film project. Townshipper’s Foundation, the
(CRE), and the town of Stanstead have granted him money. “I think it will cost about $35,000 to make the film. I’ve had nothing but positive feedback which gives me affirmation as an artist. People sometimes forget that arts and culture are as important to a healthy community as anything else.” Local musician Mike Goudreau has also come on board, promising the use of his music library for the film.
“I hope to find all the teens for the project by the end of June. Ideally half of them would be English and half French,” said Damon. “I’m sure there are some very talented kids out there and I want to meet them and hear their stories.” He is also looking for volunteers who would help with story-writing, cinematography, history research and people who could be interviewed about the town. There will be a celebration of life for the late wife of Denis Daviau at the Sacred Heart Church in Stanstead on Saturday, May 26th 2012 at 11 a.m. The family will be present at the church to receive condolences at 10 a.m. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to CAB Rediker, 112 Principale, Stanstead, QC JOB 3E5
Filmmaker Damon Cox, seen here behind La Vielle Douane Restaurant where the Cinema Under the Stars program takes place, is looking for fifteen teenagers to make a movie about Stanstead with him.