News / Edmonton

Edmonton-produced doc series wants to remember your firsts

The First Kiss and Other Rites of Passage asked ordinary people to open up about their first time

Filmmaker Ava Karvonen interviews a subject for her new series.


Filmmaker Ava Karvonen interviews a subject for her new series.

First kiss, first job, first car: Often awkward but always memorable, these pivotal life moments are the subject of a new series of Edmonton-produced short documentaries.

To produce the first 10 episodes of ‘The First Kiss and Other Rites of Passage’ (all available online) the  spent three months interviewing friends, acquaintances and even strangers off the streets about things like losing their virginity, trying drugs for the first time, or getting their first pets.

“It was interesting to hear other people’s stories, and there were a lot of really sweet ones that just made you think about your own story,” said series creator and director, Ava Karvonen.

“As a mother of a 17-year-old I think of the all the firsts she has ahead of her, and the pain and heartache that comes with firsts, but they shape who we are,” she said.

Stories range from the painful to the funny.

The episode about first drinks includes tales of sneaking beers out of parents fridges, puking up vodka and orange soda, and getting stuck on the school roof after consuming a few too many.

“You learn at a very young age what you can and can’t do,” said interviewee Tyran Ault.

The team made an effort to include as many perspectives among their 50 subjects as possible, with ages ranging from 16 to 80. They spoke with people in Edmonton, Grande Prairie and Fort McMurray.

Karvonen and her crew also pop up in the episodes as interview subjects—a strategy she said was important to help people to open up.

“We felt that it was important to take that risk and share some of our stories as well,” she said.

Karvonen is currently seeking funding to continue the series beyond the first 10 episodes, so she can keep telling these stories.

“I think in our society we forget to take time to acknowledge those moments and have a place for ritual in our lives, I didn’t even go to my own university grad,” she said.

“It gives us a chance to pause, and reflect on who we are and where we’re going.”

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