Short films and young filmmakers will be spotlighted in a pair of upcoming screenings.
Tidelines Journey Residency, a roaming residency through the Island Institute, is bringing short movies and four tenderfoot directors to Juneau to show off selections from“Our Alaskan Stories” short films.
“We really wanted for this year’s Tidelines to touch on climate change,” said Makenzie DeVries, Tidelines coordinator for the Island Institute. “We wanted that to be a theme that was present. We selected films that touched on climate change in someway, specifically films that viewed climate change through the subsistence lens.”
“Our Alaskan Stories” is a program designed to teach Mt. Edgcumbe High School students about video and audio storytelling.
“Their themes really can very from film to film from student to student,” DeVries said. “A lot of the films touched on subsistence. A lot of them have talked about the way their communities have changed as Alaska has changed.”
Tidelines, which launched in 2016, transports filmmakers to various communities using the Alaska Marine Highway System, but a few of the auteurs featured in this year’s iteration of the residency have Juneau ties.
Michael Martin Jr. resides in Juneau, Andrea Cook is a University of Alaska Southeast student, and Haley Shervey previously studied there too, DeVries said.
Alyssa Afcan, a University of Alaska Fairbanks student, rounds out the foursome, who will screen their movies at the Gold Town Nickelodeon at 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 17 and 6 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 18 at University of Alaska Southeast’s Egan Library.
Martin said as each person made their films, they would watch each other’s work, critique it and edit together.
Gina Cole, a writer from New Zealand, will also be part of the travelling group, who will visit schools during their stops.
“Her work isn’t going to be a focal point, but I’m hoping she’ll do some readings,” DeVries said.
Martin’s film, “Adapt,” typifies the sort of work that will be front and center during Tidelines.
“It’s about how I live in Juneau, and how I live a balance in a sort of city-like town, and how that can affect my cultural practices,” Martin said. “I go between here and Hoonah every year to fish and get involved culturally.”
Martin, whose heritage is Tlingit from Hoonah, said he’s been making movies since second grade and preserving cultural identity is something that’s important to him.
“One thing that we’re facing nowadays is our cultures are being not practiced as much, and the more we ignore it, the more assimilated we become. It’s just important that we know where we come from. These movies are mainly about who we are as a people and who we are as a culture.”
Cook’s film explores similar territory but for a different culture.
The UAS student is from Hydaburg, and “Paddling to Shore,” which shares a name with a poem by Cook, depicts Haida culture.
“At the time, it was an opportunity to share about my home, and I guess a lot of it was about cultural reviatlization,” Cook said. “It was highlighting my culture in general. I think there’s beautiful shots of my people.”
Cook said “Our Alaska Stories” was the first time she had an opportunity to make a film, but she’s since made a second one.
Martin said spreading awareness of filmmaking and encouraging others to make their first movies is something he will relish.
The young creatives will be talking to his near-peers in schools around the Southeast about making movies.
“I think film-making is really something that should be pursued in more schools,” Martin said.