In BC’s Okanagan Valley, the En’owkin Centre in Penticton is home to a series of Indigenous-run programs of holistic education, community building, arts and career training. These programs are putting into practice principles of self-determination based on validation of cultural aspirations and identity.
For National Canadian Film Day 150 (NCFD 150), En’owkin Centre will be presenting EMPIRE OF DIRT at Shatford Centre at the Okanagan School of the Arts (OSA). These institutions are both proudly committed to the expression of creative arts. In fact, Shatford Centre recently wrapped up its sixth year of holding its annual We Love Documentary festival. So, these centres joining up to celebrate Canadian stories on film makes perfect sense. This special NCFD 150 program is a collaboration between Dr. Greg Younging, PhD, Theytus Books, En’owkin Centre, Okanagan School of the Arts and Penticton Arts Council.
EMPIRE OF DIRT is a 2013 drama directed by Peter Stebbings, written by Shannon Masters, and produced by Jennifer Podemski. The film stars Podemski , Cara Gee and Shay Eyre as three generations of women reluctantly working through their complicated relationships together. Masters won a Canadian Screen Award for her screenplay; this powerful story centres on complex, flawed and sympathetic characters and is part of an Indigenous New Wave cinema movement that explodes old stereotypes of Indigenous characters.
The Syilx (Okanagan) concept of en’owkin refers to the process of coming to consensus through dialogue for the betterment of a group, so it is a fitting choice to screen this film about a family working through painful feelings and mending relationships. The event will feature not only the film screening—with popcorn available!—but also workshops and artist talks from local filmmakers. This partnership through several local institutions is a great way to bring the community of Penticton together.