A student-created documentary that focuses on missing and murdered aboriginal women and girls will soon be in the spotlight at Niagara College.
The College’s Centre for Student Engagement and Leadership (CSEL), and First Nations Inuit and Metis Student Services (FNIMSS) are hosting a special public screening of the documentary, Our Sisters in Spirit. The screening, to be held at the College’s Welland Campus on Nov. 30, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., will be followed by a question and answer period with the student filmmaker.
Writer, director and producer Nick Printup – who is a recent graduate of the College’s Broadcasting: Radio, Television and Film program and currently enrolled in the International Business Management post-graduate program – need aimed at exploring the question of calling a national public inquiry to Canada’s missing and murdered indigenous women and girls, or whether there may be a better approach. He launched the idea in his scriptwriting class in spring 2014. That fall, he pitched the idea of creating the documentary in his Film Production class, gaining support of his peers. While the College provides $1,600 for each film project in that class, Printup and his crew raised more than $12,500 after 30 days of online fundraising, to enhance the quality of the project, which was completed in July 2015.
The Welland resident, who is originally from Ottawa, is passionate about the topic due to his personal connection to nine victims, through his family, friends and communities. “It is an issue that directly affects everyone around me and it is a very real and scary subject,” said Printup. “I wanted to educate people on the issue and, most importantly, educate those who never heard of the issue before or have just come to learn about it.”
The College’s FNMISS department was involved in the project from its inception. Aboriginal student success advisor Bernadette O’Grady-Bomberry recalled preparing for the first Sisters in Spirit vigil held at the College, when Printup counted nine women he had known that had become statistics. “That is nine women removed from their families – nine sisters no more, nine grandmothers no more, nine mothers, nine daughters-no more,” she said. “We listened when Nick was discouraged, disheartened, and needed a sounding board. We encouraged, we sympathized. We heard.”
Now that the labour has come to fruition, she noted that the screening comes with a sense of vicarious accomplishment and a sense of something just being realized. “This movement to recognize our missing and murdered women has become noticed by mainstream Canada,” she said. “The inquiry has been promised and is awaited. But we are still, missing our Sisters in Spirit.”
“The issue of our missing and murdered Aboriginal women is important for our local communities as well as Canada, and it is great to see Niagara College students addressing this issue in a profound and deeply meaningful way,” said Jeff Sinclair, community engagement coordinator for CSEL. “The Centre for Student Engagement and Leadership is proud to provide support to the student filmmakers and First Nations, Métis and Inuit Student Services to bring this film to our on-campus and broader communities.”
The experience of documentary filmmaking led Printup to pursue education in business after graduating from the College’s Broadcasting program earlier this year. “The most rewarding experience about this project, for me, has been the ability to utilize my education as a tool to help my communities, my people and my family; and the opportunity to do more and take physical action to make a change, create awareness and educate the general public on a serious human rights issue,” he said.
Those interested in attending the screening on Nov. 30 may reserve seats online at or contact Jeff Sinclair at 906-641-1152 ext. 4610 (leave a message with your name and number of attendees).
For more details about the film visit www.oursistersinspirit.com.
Niagara College offers more than 111 diploma, bachelor degree and advanced level programs at campuses in Welland, Niagara-on-the-Lake, and Niagara Falls; as well as more than 600 credit, vocational and general interest Part-Time Studies courses. Areas of specialization include food and wine sciences, advanced technology, media, applied health and community safety, supported by unique learning enterprises in food, wine, beer, horticulture and esthetics. For more information visit https://vnmanga.info.