Yes, Virginia, There Really Is A Film Career
On the last 2 Saturdays I delivered workshops to a Women In Film and Television in Toronto – about 20 people attended. I was blown away by most of the attendees. Their determination to get their stories told is something that I admire and learn from – especially the story that Virginia told me (yes, Virginia really is her name).
One of the women really blew me away. Virginia made a short film with relative ease – mostly because no one had told her how hard it was. She schmoozed a masted sailboat owner, talked her way through period costumes, as well as an historical fort and managed to tell a story that the schools are interested in – she’s even making money from her short.
The story is about a little known explorer, who isn’t a celebrated hero or anything, but who did some amazing things in his life. The explorer she used was Samuel Hearne – you can see his history on Wikipedia here.
When I asked her how on earth she came up with the story at all, she sent me the following narrative. I hope it gives you the same goose bumps it gave me:
“John, you might say my ancestors guided me. It’s a story that goes back into my family history. My great-great-great grandmother was a little girl in Fort Prince of Wales when the French attacked. The native women and children who were left behind (partners and children of the European fur traders) walked 150 miles to York Factory for help, but it too had been destroyed. No one died as a result of battle, but thousands died as a consequence.Thousands of natives died that winter of starvation and small pox. Hundreds of the Frenchmen died of cold and starvation before reaching France. My g-grandmother survived that whole ordeal. Her name was Margaret Norton, or “Nahoway”, as she was later called. Hearne’s wife, Mary Norton, was likely her her aunt or sister. Mary Norton died on the trek. Some years later, Nahoway married William Sinclair, a young fur trader who had been taken prisoner with Samuel Hearne. Their prolific family became one of the most important Metis families in Manitoba history.”
“The HEARNE story deserves to be a huge epic production, . . . big budget for sure. So I think I would be wise to work on some lower budget films first. I will try to put something together in a budget.”
I will definitely be staying in touch with her. You can see her YouTube clip here
(note: her husband is a musician and she and her husband composed the music herself).
Best / John