A short environmental documentary about saving the alpine, glaciers, and forests on Vancouver Island by young filmmakers Jaiden George and Tristan Hinder-Hohlweg premiered in Tofino and Ucluelet over the weekend.
Ucluelet Secondary student Hinder-Hohlweg, 16, and Indigenous artist George, a second-year student at Emily Carr University, spent over two years working on the film that takes viewers to some of the most remarkable places on Vancouver Island, including Canada’s highest waterfall Della Falls.
“At just the age of 14, I was growing increasingly disturbed by environmental issues on our Island and around the globe. It was really hurting me and I was going through environmental depression,” said Hinder-Hohlweg.
“[The environment] is a really touching subject for me, so I thought what better way to use my talents as a filmmaker and take them to produce something that really meant something to me,” he said. “It sometimes makes me cry when I see people that don’t care about our environment. I’m speaking from the bottom of my heart.”
George introduced his film at the Tofino premiere on Nov. 16.
“There is one thing that I want to stress is that this film is about protecting our lands, and this is something that we need to come together to do. Even if we operate within a settler colonial society, we need to create a collective future, not only for Indigenous peoples, but for all peoples,” said George who is a future Hereditary Chief for the Ahousaht First Nation.
He hopes ‘Finding Solitude’ will inspire people to make change.
“My favourite quote from the film is that there are things that we can be doing to create change. There are just little things like shopping sustainably and voting sustainably,” he said.
The film’s narrator, established Tofino thespian and educator Gary Marks, said the message is so important.
“I know my generation has kind of let the younger generation down. But that shouldn’t discourage us. When we see these guys, it gives us hope. Like Greta Thunberg said, ‘You do what you can do’,” said Marks after the Tofino debut.
“These two young men are the most talented filmmakers I’ve ever worked with,” Marks went on to say. “Jayden was my kindergarten student so it’s a particular honour for me to see him come as far as he’s come. I always knew he was going to be something big and this proves it.”
Hinder-Hohlweg said it was wonderful to see everyone come together to support youth and the environment. Sunday’s double screening at the Ucluelet Community Centre raised over $1,500 for the local Surfrider Youth Club.
“I really hope people take away that we have to work together in order to collectively achieve a sustainable future. We can’t just make one simple change in our lives. We need to all do it. We can’t be one person, we need everybody to come together and collaborate,” said Hinder-Hohlweg.