Big Top Without Borders

See on Scoop.itNunavut

About the Film

From distant corners of the world, two dynamic men come together and discover they share a common dream: to help their communities by creating a circus. Guillaume Saladin (tall, white, bald) and Yamoussa Bangoura (short, black, dreadlocks) meet as acrobats in Montreal’s acclaimed Cirque Eloize, and return home to transform their struggling communities with the power of performance.

Guillaume is from a tiny Inuit community in the Canadian Arctic called Igloolik (“Place of One Igloo”); Yamoussa is from Conakry, Guinea, West Africa, a large undeveloped metropolis teeming with life. Both places are reeling from a legacy of colonization which has decimated their cultures and triggered desperate social problems – drugs, apathy, and suicide in the Arctic; wretched poverty and massive unemployment in Guinea. Both men want to give back to their communities using the only skills they have: circus arts. Both appreciate the importance of rooting the young performers in their own culture by rediscovering their lost traditions. In Igloolik, this means bringing the youth back onto the land, teaching them about hunting, survival, shamanism and the beliefs of their ancestors, and incorporating these lost traditions and beliefs into their circus acts. In Guinea, it means drawing on age-old West African traditions of dance and drumming, and the brilliant acrobatic culture which is a legacy of years of Communist influence during the Cold War era, and the rigorous athletic training that came with it. Using the scarce resources at their disposal (an empty swimming pool and a flooded field, as makeshift gymnasiums), the two men recruit and train teenagers to form successful circus troupes – Artcirq on the vast tundra, which would make its way to the stage of the 2010 Vancouver Olympic games, and Kalabante whose members trained on the equatorial beach and eventually found their way to the professional circus world in Montreal.

Our story plays out at a time of great social and political turmoil in each community, and we are there to record it. The Inuit testify about mistreatment by the government before Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and the Guineans struggle through their first free elections after 23 years of brutal dictatorial rule. Visiting one another in their respective countries, the performers see that despite their differences, they are mirror images of one another. They gain perspective on their own cultures, traditions, and identities, through the comparison with their counterparts on the other side of the globe. The strength the two troupes gain from each other, and the friendships they build, help transform the youth. They begin to see themselves not as victims but as empowered participants in their lives determined to build a better future for themselves, their families, and their communities.



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About @mediamentor
Information Curation, Communication & Media / Cure d'information, communication et medias

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