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Filmmaker engaged in crowdfunding to save institute

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Compiled by Shari Narine







Filmmaker, actor, and director Shirley Cheechoo has turned to online fundraising to keep her Weengushk Film Institute afloat after being turned down by band offices and government. Cheechoo, known for her films Johnny Tootall and Moose River Crossing, says she has seen many troubled youth turn their lives around after studying at the non-profit training institute on Manitoulin Island. “While they are making a film, they are learning how to read, write, do math, leadership, how to do their resumes, and how to work as a team,” said Cheechoo. “So they can move from where they are to a better life, and a better future.” In an effort to save the school, Cheechoo sent 600 letters to band councils across the country asking for $250 each annually and only got three responses. She says bands don’t want to fund the Weegushk Film Institute because it doesn’t give out official certification. She is currently crowdfunding to help cover the costs of rent, electricity and internet at the institute.