There was once a garden…
If the nature of art is to reveal, art also has the power to shape identities. In this sense, the creative process can be likened to a quest, with the ensuing work a testament to the discoveries made. There is self-discovery, of course — but there is also the discovery of others and of the surrounding world. This summer, for its sixth Les P’tits Loups cinema camp, the Festival du nouveau cinéma will offer some 30 children from Côte-des-Neiges the chance to explore and engage, through art and action, with such concepts as “you/I” and “us/them”. Between Mrs. Pilon’s community garden and their own “secret” gardens, the kids will unearth new questions as they search for a land of welcome. Working as a group, they’ll forge a connection with the garden to sow new seeds of hope and understanding. One at a time, they’ll also take a deeper look at themselves and their relationship to the environment.
This year, the organizers took their lead from Gilles Porte’s documentary Dessine-toi, in which children around the world were asked to draw their self-portraits on glass. Being open to others without denying parts of yourself; retaining what is learned; becoming without disappearing. In short, cultivating difference in the hopes of harvesting its many fruits and perhaps remembering… that the earth is a garden.
Since 2008, the Festival du nouveau cinéma has been offering kids from the Assistance d’enfants en difficulté and the Centre de services préventifs à l’enfance de la Fondation du Dr Julien a chance to express themselves through cinema. The project was carried out by Daphnée Cyr, who works toward giving a voice to marginalized populations. To encourage free expression, she doesn’t stop at observing and documenting human behaviour; she also invites the film’s subjects to take part in making it. In 2012, she directed Les premiers humains. The kids captured their surroundings in sound and image to create a cinematic work based on the emotions that Hochelaga-Maisonneuve inspires them. The question we asked was "What do you think of your neighbourhood?"