As a film director, Barbeau had previously worked with children living on the streets of both big cities and reserves. She had experienced the joy of co-writing scripts based on their lives and turning these into short films. Such films have healing powers, both through the artistic process of their creation and through their many screenings to a variety of audiences. But Barbeau knew that the departure of the traveling film studio after about a month of intensive work on site would leave a void behind in any community. Therefore, she decided that the van with its crew of filmmakers, trainers and social workers should make a yearly return and, after some preparation by the local organizers, spend another month on each reserve. Since 2004, Wapikoni Mobile has trained more than 5,000 people, inspiring them to create their own documentaries. As a result of the trainings, and with this new opportunity to be seen and recognized, participants have had a boost in self-esteem and improved their ability to manage stress. They feel less isolated, less invisible and therefore less dependent on drugs and alcohol. This is how making short films about your own culture can save lives.
The new program series at the Verzió film festival was the result of years of cooperation between Wapikoni Mobile from Canada and the Visual World Foundation in Hungary. There were three events in the framework of the programme series called ”WAPIKONI’S FRIENDS” at the festival, showcasing a total of 12 Canadian indigenous documentaries. “Wapikoni’s friends” at the film festival included trainers of Visual World Foundation, Ambassador of Canada Isabelle Poupart, the festival’s organizer Oksana Sarkisova and over a hundred participants.