Creative storytelling, lots of laughs — and horror.
That was the roller coaster experience waiting for unwitting community members who shuffled into the Hay River Heritage Centre last Thursday for the premiere of a community-made mystery thriller film.
The film, called Fiddle: The Haunting of Hay River, was created by a group of 14 youths between the ages of six and 17. It took them just a week at camp to write, direct and produce the film.
"There's this guy named Bill and he died and he cursed this fiddle after he died," explained 12-year-old Chayse Carnell, who said he loved being cast as a police officer in the film. "The family passed it on to here and that's why it's called the haunted fiddle. Whoever plays it dies."
His sister, Sini Carnell, 11, said she loved the plot.
"People die a lot, and there's doctors and nurses, and cops and nerds," said Sini. "It's funny!"
The cinematic camp was led by Linda Duford, the owner of Purple Pick Studio. She usually hosts singing, fiddle and guitar camps in the summer for youth in Hay River. Hosting a cinematic camp was new territory for her.
"We were actually going to take a week off that week… but then some of the kids wanted to come and do something," said Duford. "So this was just a last minute thing and it turned out to be the most fun of the whole summer."
Duford said the camp gave young people a chance to see their creative ideas come to life.
"They really helped in making the film as good as it is. Like some of the ideas that they came up with I would have never come up with," Duford said. "One of my favourite scenes is we have a doctor coming to bail out the nurse and the kids decided his name should be Dr. Kanye West, which I never would have thought of."
For nine-year-old Ila Dean, the experience has inspired her to want to do more acting.
"What I learned is how to speak loudly when you're acting so they can hear you. I definitely want to be in more movies in the future," said Dean.
Duford said she considered the Thursday premiere to be a success. The centre was packed with 35 community members in attendance to watch the film. Duford said she felt incredibly proud of the campers, who dedicated their film to the late Peter Magill, a former town councillor who was a big supporter of the arts.