Dunbar DIY Film Festival

Celebrating Neighbourhood Stories in a Time of Crisis

by Ellen from the Dunbar DIY Film Festival

     Hi! My name is Ellen, and I want to tell you a bit about my project: the Dunbar DIY Film Festival. I am an artist who works in the nexus of theatre, music and film. I grew up in Dunbar, but spent most of the last five years living in New York City. Like many young adults, I returned home to live with my family because of the pandemic. Working primarily in theatre and music, suddenly everything that my livelihood depended on was gone, with no chance of return for the foreseeable future. And so I returned to Dunbar, and began to think about what storytelling could mean in the pandemic age, in a time of no live audiences, and in a place much closer to home.

     The Dunbar DIY project is a community-sourced film festival and digital storytelling workshop. I came up with the idea while walking around the back lanes of Dunbar in the early days COVID-19. I found myself thinking a lot about community, displacement, the places we come from, and the places where stories are “supposed” to be told. Dunbar is a place as deserving of stories as any other. And it’s a place whose stories are under serious threat because of the ever-rising cost of living.

     As COVID-19 keeps us all closer to home, there’s no better time to celebrate the place we come from. And, as theatres and performances spaces across the city remain shut, we must look within ourselves for stories. Every community has stories to tell. Beautiful stories. Hidden stories. Unexpected stories…of the blocks we live on, the people we meet, and the places that define us.

So check out the Dunbar DIY Festival before it ends

     The live stream has already passed, but you can watch the recorded festival screening online until August 17th. At that point, the Dunbar DIY Festival will be begin to archive individual movies from participants who want their short films to be preserved forever. However not all will, so make sure to check out the full screening before then!

     These stories come from people of many different backgrounds. Individual submissions, people who learned how to build digital stories in the four-week workshop, and in two profiles I did of local residents. The festival represents the essence of DIY (do-it-yourself) culture. Making things with what we have at hand. Maybe you might even be inspired to create a story yourself!