News / Winnipeg

Métis filmmakers preserving culture with film; call for submissions

Janelle and Jérémie Wookey will accept 100 videos in 100 days to create a mosaic of Métis stories to be shared for all time.

Jérémie and Janelle Wookey work on their latest project at their exchange district office.

Braeden Jones/ Metro

Jérémie and Janelle Wookey work on their latest project at their exchange district office.

Sibling filmmaking duo Janelle and Jérémie Wookey are trying to preserve a snapshot of Métis culture, and are crowdsourcing to broaden the scope.

They are asking 100 Métis people ages 15 to 40 to record videos sharing what their heritage and identity means to them, and upload those videos to their website,

“There’s a wide gamut in terms of how people process their Métis (identity),” said Janelle Wookey. “People still have a lot of questions about what it means and why does it matter... those are the questions we are trying to answer.”

She sees the website as a potential long-standing archive to preserve the modern Métis cultural identity, formed by stories and personal narratives of the past.

“If we are lucky, (the website) will be around for generations and people will learn who we were 30, 40 years ago,” she said.

Wookey learned about her Métis lineage 10 years ago, and made a film seven years ago about the last three generations of the Red River Métis.

During that project, a great niece of Louis Riel, Augustine Abraham, said in an interview for the film that her wish for the future was for Métis youth to “dig deep” to keep the spirit of the Métis alive.

The project is an answer to that call, and by giving people a forum for sharing their lived perception of Métis culture the Wookeys hope to show who the Métis are, where that identity comes from, and where they are going as a people.

“In the end we hope to have this online archive which will be kind of like a mosaic of 100 faces people can click and get a better understanding of Métis identity, and what it means for people to be Métis today,” Wookey said.

They are also creating a documentary about the process and will be accepting video submissions for 100 days.

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