Young filmmakers earn international acclaim

By on November 8, 2017
The promotional poster for “Because I’ve Been There.” (Photo courtesy of Citxw Nlaka’pamux Assembly).



A short film produced by local indigenous youth at the Nicola Valley Institute of Technology is garnering international acclaim, as it was nominated for the Emerging Filmmakers award at the eleventh annual L.A. Skinsfest Film Festival, scheduled to take place in southern California next week.

Because I’ve Been There is a short film that tells the story of two young indigenous girls struggling with life at home and the hectic world that surrounds them; both expressing their pain in different ways.

The film was produced by a team of 12 first-time filmmakers during the Citxw Nlaka’pamux Assembly’s Youth Multimedia & Arts Conference in 2016 — a summer camp which allows indigenous youth to learn the basics of filmmaking at the Nicola Valley Institute of Technology.


Tipped off about the nomination only a month prior, not all of the film’s crew will be able to attend the premiere and awards ceremony, explained Kristy Joe, program co-ordinator with the Citxw Nlaka’pamux Assembly and co-producer of the film. But those that do travel to Los Angeles will have the chance to take in films from indigenous filmmakers from around the world, as well as attend workshops and production tours organized by the festival.

Written and directed by the young filmmakers — who range from 10 to 18-years-old — “Because I’ve Been There” deals with the ever present issue of the high suicide rate among indigenous teens.

“It was one of the messages they wanted to get out, because of the suicide rates,” explained Joe. “And just to let other people know that you’re not alone.”

The film will premiere on Nov. 19 at the world famous Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard, but the award ceremony will take place on Saturday. According to the LA Skinsfest website, “winners will receive distribution opportunities that include upfront advances on film purchases.”

But judging by the response generated by Because I’ve Been There, the group of 12 amateur filmmakers have already made their mark.

“Everyone wants a copy, wants us to go into their community,” said Joe.

The group takes off for Los Angeles on Nov. 15. Another film shot in the Nicola Valley — River of Silence — will also be screened at the festival.


  1. Wanda Dexel

    November 9, 2017 at 11:47 am

    Please note the correct spelling for Sebastian Dexel

  2. Lynne Jorgesen

    November 10, 2017 at 12:07 am

    ….the world famous Chinese theatre on Hollywood Boulevard — as in Grauman’s??? Nicola Valley, we’ve hit the BIG TIME !!

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