Film project to fo­cus on teens

Stanstead Journal - - FORUM - Vic­to­ria Vanier Stanstead

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.

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