Directors: Jim Agapito/Ervin Chartrand
DOP: Claude Savard
Editor: Randy Frykas
Written By: Jim Agapito, Ervin Chartrand, Kids of IRCOM
A project of the Winnipeg Arts Councils Public Art Program WITH ART brings together communities and professional artists to collaborate in giving voice to the community through art.
IRCOM (Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization of Manitoba) is a non-profit organization located on Ellen Street in downtown Winnipeg that provides transitional housing and delivers social and recreation programs to newly arrived refugees and immigrants to Canada. Artists Jim Agapito and Ervin Chartrand have been working with the youth of IRCOM over the past year on a rap video that explores newcomer life at 95 Ellen Street, written and performed by the youth themselves. Meanwhile the artists made a documentary about the process, capturing both the challenges and rewards experienced by the youth prior to and since arriving in Winnipeg. The artists and the youth worked with Winnipeg music stars to create the video including hip-hop artist Wab Kinew and choreographer Dammecia Hall.
The WITH ART project provided a vibrant and talented group of newcomer youth with the opportunity to share their voices and stories, using creative mediums that they resonate with film and hip hop. The artists Ervin Chartrand and Jim Agapito not only shared their valuable skills but also identified with the backgrounds and daily challenges of the kids in many ways. WITH ART is a powerful program - it impacts hearts, minds and communities alike. Abdikheir Ahmed, Program Co-ordinator and Noëlle DePape, Executive Director, IRCOM.
Jim Agapito is a Filipino writer, producer, director from Winnipeg. He has worked in Canadian film and television for both broadcasters and independent productions for the past four years producing documentaries, short films, music videos and DVDs. Working with the youth of IRCOM has been one of the most exhilarating and fulfilling experiences that I've ever had.
Ervin Chartrand is an award winning Metis filmmaker who resides in Winnipeg. He has directed multiple dramatic shorts, music videos and documentaries. Prior to his career in film, Chartrand was a gang leader who reformed his life after being incarcerated. He continues to speak to youth about his experiences. This created a special bond with some of the high-risk youth of IRCOM. I followed a path of destruction, before I found myself behind prison walls and overcame the most challenging times. I wanted to reach out to all the troubled youth and talking at schools wouldn't cut it, so I became a filmmaker.
The City of Winnipegs Public Art Policy was passed unanimously by City Council in October 2004. Established to direct the integration of artwork into public spaces, the program is administered by the Winnipeg Arts Council in collaboration with the City of Winnipeg. Over twenty projects have been completed or are in development including site-specific commissions, WITH ART community projects and Artist-in-Residence initiatives.