Hochelaga-Maisonneuve through the eyes of a child
Over seven weeks this summer, the Festival du nouveau cinéma offered some 30 kids from the Hochelaga-Maisonneuve neighbourhood a chance to take part in the 5th edition of the Les P’tits Loups cinema camp, a camp for multimedia creation. Production took place at the Centre d’Assistance d'enfants en difficulté, where the at-risk kids co-directed an animated documentary with videographer and social worker Daphnée Cyr.
Helped along by director of photography David Guillemette and visual and sound designer Hugues Clément, the kids captured their surroundings in sound and image to create a cinematic work based on the emotions that Hochelaga-Maisonneuve inspires in them. The question we asked them this year was “What do you think of your neighbourhood?” Given free rein to express themselves, the kids spoke to the camera about some disturbing aspects of their surroundings, at times blunt and shocking, at other times lighthearted and funny. The rundown buildings, ever-present prostitution, bullying, trouble making ends meet gentrification were some of the eye-opening topics broached. But there was a bright side: the kids also offered potential solutions for going beyond the harsh reality of their neighbourhood. And at a time of upheavals in education, the kids also speculated about the possible connection between a community’s quality of life and its education level.
To produce the animated documentary, the kids actively participated in the entire creative process: after confiding in the camera, they illustrated their thoughts to create the film’s animated sequences, using archival images from the Atelier d’Histoire Hochelaga-Maisonneuve. Construction workers renovating the apartment next to the studio also gave their views about the changes taking place in the neighbourhood where they’re from.
These thought-provoking and creative activities led to the production of a short film that shows the neighbourhood through the eyes of the kids. Their film will be screened at the Festival du nouveau cinéma.
Since 2008, the Festival du nouveau cinéma has been offering kids from the AED 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?"
The camp benefits from the financial support of the Ministère de la Culture, des Communications et de la Condition féminine and the Ville de Montréal. It is made possible through support from the AED, the STM, Moog Audio, and the Atelier d’Histoire Hochelaga-Maisonneuve.