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Alberta sweetgrass: special section providing news from Alberta: Dreamspeakers provides opportunity for young filmmakers.

EDMONTON

The Dreamspeakers on Tour youth film project is much more than a showcase of amateur films. According to Alberta's favourite top model, it gives kids the confidence they need to succeed in all areas of their life.

"Every time you give youth power and let them own something it increases their self-esteem and their confidence," said Canada's Next Top Model runner-up Linsay Willier.

Willier was a host along with So You Think You Can Dance Canada's James Jones at the Oct. 17 event that honoured 13 young filmmakers with a screening of their short films at Empire Westmount Centre Cinemas in Edmonton.

Dreamspeakers on Tour (DOT) gives Aboriginal youth between the ages of 15 and 25 the chance to write and direct a film with the help of a professional film crew and instructor. DOT's objective is to provide an opportunity for the voices of Aboriginal youth to be heard.

After putting herself in the spotlight to compete with models across the country, Willier understands the importance of taking advantage of once in a lifetime opportunities, even if it is intimidating.

"The first time is always the scariest when you do something new, but after that it becomes so much easier," said Willier. "It builds your confidence because each time you complete something that scares you, it makes the next scary thing not so bad because you have gone through something like that already."

Dakota Flamand is already planning to participate in DOT next year and has plans to go into a film program after high school. The 15-year-old said the experience of creating a film about anything he wanted was a thrill.

It was not hard to find inspiration for his seven-minute film. Flamand simply based it on one of his favourite hobbies. "I was just kinda like, 'Hey! Let's do a skateboarding movie,'" said Flamand, as he described his thought process to come up with a plot.

"Either than no profanity, there really are no requirements. They're pretty much on their own to decide what it's going to look like," explained Doreen Cardinal, Dreamspeakers youth day coordinator.

The young filmmakers were empowered to create a story about almost anything they wanted, even if it was dark.

"It's about two youths. One gets lost and the other one gets kidnapped and starves to death," said Chris Champagne, with a wide smile across his face as he described the story behind his four-minute drama.

"We just had to think up the idea and then they supplied the equipment."

Champagne encourages other young people to participate in the program.

DOT began in 2006. All successful applicants also have the opportunity to have their films screened at the Dreamspeakers Film Festival Youth Day.

Willier is originally from Sucker Creek First Nation on Lesser Slave Lake. The 22-year-old won the hearts of young fans across Alberta when she made it to the final two on cycle three of the reality show that crowns the nation's "top" model.

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By Isha Thompson Sweetgrass Staff Writer
COPYRIGHT 2009 Aboriginal Multi-Media Society of Alberta (AMMSA)
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2009 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Thompson, Isha
Publication:Windspeaker
Date:Dec 1, 2009
Words:503
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