A young boy with family roots in Sucker Creek First Nation was in the spotlight in the 17th annual ImagineNATIVE Film and Media Arts Festival in Toronto.
Colton Willier, 7, of Calgary, is the director and animator of Skateboarding Pants, short drama about a pair of pants that rages through town on a skateboard.
“I was amazed that my film was selected for the festival,” says Colton, son of Amy Willier, and grandson of Russell Willier of Sucker Creek and Yvonne Jobin of Calgary.
As the youngest filmmaker in the festival, he attended the event Oct. 19-23 in Toronto to show his one minute and 15 second film he produced with his friend Aspeslet-Asels, as the fun animation was created with cut-outs and original music.
“My mom signed me up for QuickDraw Animation Lockdown, I wrote the story, my friend Ethan and I animated it, and our moms helped,” says Colton, a member of Sucker Creek First Nation.
“We sent it in and they picked it.”
Making films is his dream and he loves to draw.
“I am always working on films, it’s my passion and hobby,” says Colton, a Grade 3 student, who made the film when was he was six years old.
“I think I have done about 90 films so far.”
“I have an ipad that I do the films on and I thought it was a cool idea.”
Colton has been invited to show his film and speak at the University of Manitoba’s Decolonizing Lens series on Dec. 10.
He plans to take acting classes, and has been growing his hair into a long traditional braid, states information from the festival.
Colton is described as an artist, filmmaker, and aspiring actor with the tribal affiliation of Cree and Blackfoot.
He has been inspired by Native contemporary and traditional art in Moonstone Creation, a gallery owned by his mother and grandmother Jobin.
“Growing up in an art gallery has influenced his life,” says his mother. “He has literally spent his life surrounded by art.
“Both my mother and I are artists and we have really nurtured his creative spirit.
“He loves to make films in his spare time, and who am I to stop his passions?”
His mother sees great potential for her son.
“He’s constantly challenging himself to try new methods, like using Lego, or water, and figuring out the challenges with that.
“I think his sense of humor really shines through his work.
“He knows how to weave a good story, and he just needs to work on the timing.”
ImagineNATIVE is the world’s largest presenter of Indigenous screen content, and a registered charity committed to inspiring and connecting communities through original, Indigenous film and media arts.
Our Festival, Tour, and year-round initiatives showcase, promote, and celebrate Canadian and international Indigenous filmmakers and media artists and create a greater understanding of Indigenous peoples, cultures, and artistic expressions.
To view the film, link online to vimeo.com/184703102, password: goat4.