HAPPY VALLEY-GOOSE BAY, N.L.
ArtsNL awarded grant funds earlier in December to 41 projects throughout Newfoundland and Labrador.
One of the projects funded by the organizations Professional Project Grants Program is a short film by Percy Ponniuk of Happy Valley-Goose Bay.
The film, titled “Papok”, is based on stories Ponniuk heard as a child.
“It’s a children’s ghost story basically,” he told The Labradorian. “The ghost goes into a teddy bear and comes to life and terrorizes a kid and a parent.”
He was provided with $3,220 to complete the five-minute film, which will be a blend of live action and stop motion. He is also waiting to hear back on another grant to help with the filming of “Papok”.
Ponniuk said he’s been working on the film for a while and is also in the midst of another short film he wrote, “Life”, which will start filming in March. He received funding from the Canada Council for the Arts to complete that film.
Ponniuk said he plans to make more films, a dream he’s been working towards since he attended the National Screen Institute as part of their New Indigenous Voices program in 2011. He also studied film at the College of the North Atlantic.
“There are so many stories here that have never been told,” he said. “I have a lot of ideas, some about Labrador and some contemporary ideas.”
One of those ideas is a film about Okak and the pandemic that nearly wiped out the community 100 years ago. Ponniuk had family who were impacted by the pandemic. He wants to focus on what happened to the survivors after they left.
Ponniuk is also working on setting up his own corporation, tentatively titled Polar Paw Productions, which will give him potential access to more grants and funding to complete his films.