UCDSB Film Festival goes International!

The Upper Canada District School Board celebrated their annual “Real to Reel Film Festival” today at the Galaxy Theatre in Brockville.  This was really special for us as they had asked our own Stephen MacKinnon to be the key note speaker.  As you may recall from a previous blog posting, Stephen had submitted some of the Chausy Orphanage kids videos to the festival and they chose to show a documentary that Karina made.  While we were in Belarus a few weeks ago, Stephen presented Karina with a plaque from the Festival.

DSC_0776The theme this year was “Character Always” and it was felt that Karina’s documentary about a new student at the orphanage really hit the mark in telling this story.  This was also a great opportunity to connect with a large number of young people in our community and let them know about the work we are doing.  Stephen gave them a quick overview of where Belarus is and why we are working there.  He included slides and pictures to tell the story.

DSC_0014He also talked about the value of the programs that we do specifically at the orphanage and how video making is such a great learning experience for the children.


His speech was followed by a showing of Karina’s video (with sub-titles) and then a video message from Karina herself.


The entire presentation was simulcast on the internet and we are hoping that Karina and her teachers and friends were able to tune in a see the recognition she is getting half a world away!  Stephen took the opportunity to encourage the students to give back in their own way to their community and their friends.  He mentioned that we had a display set up in the hall with more information and a donation jar that they could drop a dollar or two in if they wanted to be a part of helping these children.


After the presentation I went out in the hall to get a picture of our display (with Chantal Seguin, Annis Moreau and Nadia Nielsen) and discovered that the “jar” was not only filling up with loonies and toonies, but there were a lot of $5.00 and $10.00 bills in there too!  I think the presentation had a very positive impact and it sure looks like the School Board, teachers and parents can be proud that we are raising a generation of caring children!

Eric McKenzie