Blog Posts

November 10 | 2021

Aspen Films Blog

Story-telling with a video communicates through many elements, visual, audible and musical.

The Stories We Share

By Tianna Neudorf, Aspen Films

Every so often our paths cross with incredible people and, if we are lucky enough, they stick around long enough to tell us their story. One of these people is Tammy Cook-Searson, the first female Chief of the Lac La Ronge Indian Band. Her accomplishments in Northern Saskatchewan caught the attention of CCAB, the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business. Through footage and photos of past events, and video captured by the Aspen Films team, a piece of her story has been captured and preserved in this short video.

The accomplishments of Chief Tammy are the central focus of this video, including her encouraging funding for a recovery centre in La Ronge, which was to be completed in October of 2021. She also played a crucial role in communicating with the community during the Northern wildfires of 2015. These examples of her strength and leadership, along with her presidential role with the Kitsaki Management Ltd, made her the perfect recipient for the 2021 Indigenous Women in Leadership Award, given by CCAB in May 2021.

By using video, viewers can not only hear about the achievements of Chief Tammy but see examples of her in action. This allows anyone who watches the video to understand why Chief Tammy deserves recognition. The footage seen in the video from past events was sourced from local events, friends and family. This gives it a personal, unscripted feel, as though the audience is present in those moments.

This feeling continues through the interviews with those close to Chief Tammy, those who have seen her in action; Shannon Louttit (IISB CEO), Simon Bird (Director of Education), her husband, Jim Searson, and the extra-special appearance of her parents Miriam and Charlie Cook. In the opening lines of the video, spoken by those listed above, the attention of the audience is captured, and the desire to learn more is cultivated. “Tammy is an extraordinary role model,” “One of the most dedicated, toughest people I have ever met.”

Almost more impactful, however, may be the words of Chief Tammy herself, as she talks about her care for the people that are under her leadership, her care for her community, as well as the struggles she has faced personally. It is clear that she has genuine interest in the lives of those around her, and she tears up remembering the difficult time her community went through during a teen suicide crisis. Her ability to open up about her own struggles, the losses she has faced and the challenges she has overcome, reaches out to tug on the heartstrings of the viewers.

A good novelist invokes feeling in the reader through their writing, a good musician does the same in the listener through their song, as does a painter through their art. Video combines all of these elements, story-telling, music and visuals, into one entity that invites the viewer to take part in the lives of others. This video carries the viewer along as it tells the story of an incredible woman who overcame incredible odds. People will always tell stories, and using a medium such as video can expand the reach and impact that their story will have.

Vulnerability allows the viewers to connect with the those in a video, giving them space and time to reflect on the events of their own lives.