AJ Dhaliwal works with program facilitator Leah Seltzer filming Nathan Archer

Youth videos take on timely issues tonight

Terrace youths produced three short videos this summer about issues they are concerned about and are airing the films tonight (Nov. 18).

Terrace youths produced three short videos this summer about issues they are concerned about and are airing the films tonight (Nov. 18) along with other youth-produced videos from across the world.

The videos focus on water conservation, police as role models, and transgender inclusion, and were brainstormed and produced by 18 local youths in a four-day program last August.

The program was student-led, with the youths first listing topics they were concerned about, then narrowing it down to three and splitting into three groups to tackle the video production.

Terrace’s Ryan Kunar was the youth who inspired the water conservation video, and said the idea came from something he saw on Facebook about Nestle selling huge amounts of Canadian water.

Water conservation is “a real problem that we are going to be facing… and it’s a problem that could get more publicity,” he said.

Producing the documentary-style video, Kunar said he was really struck by an interview with a first nations fisherman they met at the Skeena River.

“His First Nations name meant provider for the village… and he said ‘this is where I get my fish, so that I can take it back to the village and back to my family… and provide for them and be more then just a figure.’”

Kunar said the message of the video was that the luxury of clean water will run out if we do not take care of it properly.

“Water is very important to everything we do. To preserve the luxury of water that we have today, we have to start making some changes – stop polluting, slow down on our water usage, things like that,” Kunar said.

He says another thing he learned through the program was filming skills and techniques.

Video is a “really neat way to get a message across,” he said. “Video production is so diverse in the sense that you can do so much with either half an hour or 30 seconds, because you can use audio or visual cues to portray something more than just the basic idea.”

Kunar said his group worked well together producing the video, with everyone throwing out ideas and open with their critiques.

The other two videos portray a message through story. One film shows how people follow police examples, both good and bad, and the second film challenges how there are no transgender bathrooms.

The program was led by filmmakers from a Vancouver-based non-profit called Reel Youth, and funded by the Greater Terrace Healthy Communities Committee.

The goal of the program was to engage and empower youths, said Sasa Loggin, a representative of Skeena Diversity on the committee.

The program also encouraged the youths to get involved in the City of Terrace Youth Advisory Committee, which is in the preliminary stages of producing a video about homelessness in Terrace.

Kunar says he’s thinking about joining the committee and bringing up the idea of opening a recreation centre in Terrace.

He also hopes to get involved with the video project on homelessness.

“People kind of go past [the homeless] as if they are just another person and it’s just whatever… But if you really think deeply about it, [what] if you were in their shoes? People hate being cold at night. If you don’t have a blanket it’s the most terrible thing, but then when you realize there are people sleeping outside without a blanket, without proper clothing, without shoes, that honestly is terrifying,” Kunar said.

“In Terrace, I feel like if we work together, we can close that gap and reduce the amount of people who are homeless.”

The Youth Advisory Committee will meet in January to discuss the video on homelessness. The videos the youths produced this summer, along with other short videos produced by youths in Canada and internationally, will air at the Skeena Middle School tonight (Nov. 18) at 7:30 p.m.

They can also be viewed on the Skeena Diversity website at http://skeenadiversity.com/. Videos will be posted shortly after the public viewing.