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A howling accomplishment at imagineNATIVE

FIRST TIME – Shane Snook

It’s been a big week for Shane Snook and it’s all over something short. The local Mi’kmaq native originally from Newfoundland has just returned from Toronto after screening his short film The Story of Two Wolves at the 15th Annual imagineNATIVE Film and Media Arts Festival in Toronto.

Snook confesses that he is not an experienced filmmaker.

“It’s my first time trying anything of the sort. I haven’t even touched my sketchbook in five or six years. I’ve never tried animating before,” he said. “This is all new to me.”

A few months ago, he was first told about the request for submissions. The heat treatment technician said the opportunity sparked in him an idea to realize the old aboriginal story of the two wolves, with a bit of a creative update.

“It’s just a good story and a very important one. It’s an old aboriginal story that’s been passed down for a long time now. I thought it would be a really good fit but I wanted to take a newer approach to it. The original story is a grandfather telling his grandson, but I wanted to go with the grandson telling his daughter. That would be an opportunity for me to make it a little bit more modernized.”

The story focuses on the lesson of two wolves fighting inside everybody: one is evil and the other is good. The listener asks, “Who wins?” The answer is “The one you feed.”

He proposed the idea for the film and it was accepted. That meant that he had to get to work. He started working on it in the spring but wasn’t able to really shift gears until just a few months ago. He admitted that, at first, he had no estimate of the time that would be consumed with the project. “A lot more than I expected,” he laughed.

“I didn’t really start making progress until maybe the middle of summer. The last month or two is where I really was able to get my nose to the grindstone. It was a very challenging summer for me.”

The three-minute finished product is entirely hand-drawn and animated with the computer program called Flash.

According to its website at www.imaginenative.org, imagineNATIVE is the world’s largest indigenous art and culture festival, taking place each fall in Toronto. The world premiere screening took place on Thursday morning at the TIFF Bell Lightbox, a major cultural centre that houses office space and a cinema complex for the Toronto International Film Festival.

There were 10 shorts that screened as part of a series called Opening Scene: Youth Shorts. Two Wolves was the second commissioned as part of the No’kmaq Village/imagineNATIVE Mentorship.

He said that it was a pretty good moment for him, with a theatre packed full of hundreds of people. “It seemed to go over pretty good. I didn’t get booed off the stage or anything,” he joked, adding that he was more nervous about the brief Q&A that took place afterward.

Scott Hayes: Scott Hayes joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2008. Scott writes about the arts, entertainment, movies, culture, community groups, and charities. He also writes general news, features, columns and profiles on people.