Celebrating 10 years with Reel Youth

This month marks Reel Youth’s 10-year anniversary with Tides Canada and 10-year anniversary leading the youth component of the Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF).

Reel Youth is one of Tides Canada’s longest-running shared platform projects. Reel Youth began in response to the challenge that most media is controlled by adults but young people have unique perspectives, and can use film making to express themselves and be advocates for positive change.

Fort Liard Film ProgramReel Youth leverages media and filmmaking as tools in programming that empowers youth and delivers community development. Over the past 10 years they have produced over 2,000 films with 4,000 people in BC, Alberta, Yukon Territory, Northwest Territories, Morocco, Vietnam, India, and Nepal. Community organizations, companies, and funders can engage Reel Youth to host workshops and create programming that culminates in tangible outcomes – films – that participants can be proud of.

On October 6 and 8, the Reel Youth Film Festival brings a youth element to VIFF, screening a collection of youth-produced short films from around the globe that focus on social and environmental justice. What an honor and an opportunity for youth to be in the spotlight at one of Canada’s biggest film events! And, in turn, the Festival provides a rare and rewarding opportunity for audiences to hear youth voices telling their own stories. Learn more and buy your tickets before they are gone.

Reel Youth's Mark Vonesch.

Reel Youth’s Mark Vonesch.

After a decade of working together, we asked Mark Vonesch, Project Director at Reel Youth, what he sees as the greatest value in being a part of Tides Canada’s shared platform.

“It feels like there is a whole family of people behind us doing all the pieces that make the back end work. Knowing that gives me confidence in the work that we are doing. Knowing that someone is making sure our payroll taxes are right. And making sure that charitable board meetings are happening, and someone’s getting our mail, and making sure our grants are signed. It feels like there is a silent team behind us that allows us to focus on what we’re passionate about,” said Vonesch.

Reel Youth is creating space for positive change in the lives of marginalized youth and communities more broadly. Their programming facilitates mentorship, intergenerational learning, self-empowerment, and creative expression. Tides Canada is proud that Reel Youth is part of our shared platform family.

If your organization is looking for ways to produce and distribute media and community change, contact Mark Vonesch at and visit

Interview with Tara Marsden, Gitanyow Hereditary Chiefs Office

Gitanyow is a community nestled along the Kitwanga River in Northwestern BC. They are represented by the Gitanyow Hereditary Chiefs to establish modern treaties and implement First Nations conservation practices and land use planning for their territory. We interviewed Wilp Sustainability Director for the Gitanyow Hereditary Chiefs Tara Marsden and learned more about the Gitanyow model of long-term conservation planning, the significance of observing and adopting First Nations values and methods in conservation, and the importance of flexible, multi-year granting.

Community stories share local food successes in northern Manitoba

928 kilometres north of Winnipeg, Manitoba lies Barren Lands First Nation and Brochet. Facing high food costs, the community of just over 600 people expanded on an already existing interest in gardening by building a 14 x 20-foot greenhouse in 2013 in coordination with their local health centre and the Northern Manitoba Food, Culture, and Community Collaborative (NMFCCC). This is only one of many inspiring examples from the NMFCCC 2016 Community Stories booklet, which shares learnings from 18 communities.