Young filmmakers from Tyendinaga win Road to Freedom film festival

Youth from Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory in Ontario are the winners of the Road to Freedom 2024 Film Festival.

The youth created the one-minute trailer called “The Girl in the White Dress” during a two-day workshop last year.

Jonas McCourt is an aspiring actor who participated in the two-day workshop said it was a shock to hear their piece has won.

“There were like 30 other communities, I was a little nervous.” McCourt added there were a lot of very good shorts.

Kyle Nobess is a Métis actor and the founder of the Road to Freedom program, said the Tyendinaga community really came together to support the youth in the competition.  They won with more 1,600 votes.

For the past 10 years, the Road to Freedom film crew have travelled to First Nation communities across the country inspiring youth to learn all aspects in the film industry, from audio and camera work, to writing and acting.

This year, Road to Freedom asked the youth to come up with an urban legend, in the horror genre.

“The horror genre seem to be the most fun, there’s such a wide range of creativity that can happen and requires special effects and makeup and everything right to camera to acting, so it’s able to bring out all of their creativity” said Nobess.

Neigj Snyder, 12, who played a witch in the short film, she said the whole workshop was fun.

“When we were making my costume, I had to go outside and burn little holes and stuff in the dress and like get it all dirty and that was awesome.”

The winning prize has the opportunity to expand their trailer to a feature film, something actor Shyla Sears is looking forward to.

“I want to be an actress one day and I think it’s really good for us as young people to have this experience and for this to come to our community.”

According to Nobess, plans are in the works for the Road to Freedom crew to return to the community sometime over the summer to help the youth expand their short into a feature film.

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