‘Freedom Swell’ shows the efforts of the organization’s volunteers as they attempt to empower young African Nova Scotians to connect with the ocean around them
What started as an effort to involve a more diverse group in the surfing community in North Preston has now grown into a feature documentary selected by FIN.
Freedom Swell – following LaMeia Reddick, co-founder of North Preston Surf, shows the efforts of North Preston residents, volunteers and community members as they try to empower young African Nova Scotians to connect with the ocean that surrounds them.
âI feel really excited about this outing. This is an opportunity for people to have a more complete picture of the program. People, even within the community, have heard about it but don’t know the full story, âReddick said.
âI’m looking forward to this screening, but there is also some pressure. It’s a tough topic to discuss, and I could be the talking point in town.
The lack of diversity in the community has its roots in racism and a number of other factors, which will be explored in the film.
“This film has been in the works for a year and a half, and people will finally be able to see this exciting project,” said film co-director Marie Wright, who has directed and produced with her sister Meaghan.
“So many people have put so much work into this one, and I’m so glad the community is seeing it.”
The sisters have had documentaries in FIN before, including the 2018 film Transform, an autobiographical look at spinal injuries.
âWe are really excited to be going back to a theater. With the restrictions and things online last year, we missed some things, âshe said. âHearing the audience’s reaction is one of my favorite things. It is so rewarding.
It was also an opportunity for the public to see the community of North Preston differently.
âA lot of the media has portrayed North Preston in a pretty negative light. I am delighted to present this story and hopefully bring the positive impacts to the fore, âshe said.
“LaMeia is our protagonist and co-writer, and we are grateful that she knows us and trusted us to do this special project with her.”
Reddick said it was an easy decision to trust the filmmaking sisters with this project.
âI knew the caliber of their work. I knew they could deliver visually. I’m also a filmmaker and I needed that level of cinematography, âshe said.
âWe knew each other before and had worked on projects together. There was confidence and openness, and I was comfortable sharing this story with them. It was a difficult process, but we learned a lot.
Reddick says this story is personal and beautiful to her, and she’s happy it’s spreading.
âI’m just here to speak my truth, and that’s what is at the heart of it all. Having voices present, and a place and a space to have these conversations, is a privilege in itself, âshe said.
âBut there is also a sense of responsibility when it comes to raising issues of discrimination and lack of representation.
The film can cause people to look around and possibly try to correct other inequalities that they notice.
âOnce we show how white the surfing community is, I hope people can watch other sports, the arts and culture industry and more, and have some deep thinking,â she declared.
âI really hope the film and its themes inspire action. Ultimately, the story needs people to do things to make the change happen.â
Reddick is so happy with the film and the fact that it is showing at the END: Atlantic International Film Festival. It was also taken over by the CBC.
âI hope this shows that stories like this can continue to break through, and continue to be supported and funded when there is passion behind them,â she said.
âWe have to think beyond the film and engage with what is seen. People including myself are locally engaged, and we want to hear people’s thoughts. This is an opportunity to learn more about North Preston and to challenge ourselves to look at the networks and clubs in our own lives, see who is not there and invite them.
Freedom Swell plays Sunday, September 19e, 2021, as part of FIN at Park Lane Cinemas at 12 p.m. It is also available on FIN Stream from the 16the to 23rd. For more information or to buy tickets, Click here.