Community helps to send art and film student abroad

OHSWEKEN – The Sweet Spot, in support of local artists, opened it’s doors to house a fundraiser for local art and film talent Jessie Anthony on Thursday, February 8.

Anthony will be participating in the Creative Mind Group Film Internship Program in Berlin, Germany and both her family and friends invited the community to enjoy a catered dinner and some theatre in the space to help raise funds for her travel and tuition expenses.

Owner of the Sweet Spot Denise McQueen was happy to share the space.

“If the space is available and somebody asks me or approaches me, I usually say ‘yeah,’” said McQueen. “It’s just to help support whatever is going on.”

And the support was noted. As progress continues to escalate in the film industry and more and more indigenous artists come forth to share their stories with their own voices through the medium, Anthony’s relative Andrea Curley also recognized the need for support immediately.

“I was very excited that she [Anthony] was chosen to do the internship,” said Curley. “She’s in her fourth year of film in university and she was accepted. So she got the acceptance letter about two and a half weeks ago and she was really excited, but realized how much money she needed.”

This prompted Curley to orchestrate the fundraising dinner and a silent online auction as she said understood the expenses of being a student.

“When you’re in school everything is expensive, I mean you’re a student,” she said. “We’re a family that get’s it and we know how hard it can be money wise, and at the same time we know we’re from a community that always helps when people are in need.”

As the space filled with supportive family and friends that paid for their entrance, Curley pointed out that the online auction items were also donated.

“This is something that I knew that people in the community would have no problem donating things to and I just thought ‘OK, I’ve seen online auctions before and let’s see where we can go with that.’ So we put items up and everything on there people donated, and it’s been going really well,” she said.

Along with the dinner however, Curley also orchestrated for youth that were a part of her group called Skywriters to perform acting skits in light of Anthony’s craft.

“[The Skywriters] wrote their own stuff and we’ll be performing,” she said. “I’ve seen [Anthony] do three characters in one play by herself and it was believable, so I really believe in her talent.”

As the entertainment skits received laughs and applause, the reality of the need for the event was brought forth as Anthony was due to call on Skype.

The program fee itself is more than $1000 without the cost of flights, and Anthony is due to check in on Wednesday, February 14. But the rewards are great as the short internship will count for an entire university credit for Anthony.

The last estimate given for how much the fundraiser and the silent online auction earned was a whopping $1400, and Anthony expressed her gratitude through the emotional Skype session from Vancouver, B.C., with those in attendance.

“’I am a reflection of my community,’” wrote Anthony to Facebook on Monday. “I am extremely excited to be travelling to Germany today. My spirit is vibrating with the love and support from my friends, family, and community who have in such short noticed come together to ensure I made it to Berlin. Having a strong support system as an artist allows me to live my dreams, pursue my goals and continue my path as a filmmaker and storyteller! My heart is full of love and gratitude; I send you all my love many Nya:wenhah’s.”

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