Indigenous cinematographer and director James Kinistino is hoping to inspire the students at his old school by featuring them in his new film.

Kinistino attended St. Michael Community School in Saskatoon nearly 30 years ago and has recently been living in Toronto, but he has come back to Saskatoon to film a documentary.

“It really is centered around the music, the fiddle itself and the cultural aspects of that,” Kinistino said about the film. “This is kind of one of the homelands of Métis people. That’s a thing I find really great about this school.”

The idea for the documentary was sparked after award-winning fiddler Karrnnel Sawitsky told Kinistino about his involvement with the artist-in-residence program at St. Michael Community School.

“He told me about the project and about how he was coming here and working with the kids and that he would try and find some resources to bring me out,” Kinistino said. “We just want to shine a light on the importance of music in schools and what that does for kids. It’s all about the kids spreading their wings and preparing to fly.”

The film doesn’t currently have a name or a release date.

“This could be completed next year or we could follow the great success stories of some of these kids inside the program,” Kinistino said. “I really think it’s important that kids of colour and kids from diverse backgrounds see people like me operating cameras. Some kids don’t know that they can do these things until they see somebody from their own community doing it.”

(PHOTO: James Kinistino filming at St. Michael Community School in Saskatoon. Photo by Brendan Mayer.)