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Film & Video, School for the Contemporary Arts
Film alumnus Kelvin Redvers receives Governor General’s Meritorious Service Medal
In 2016, SFU film alumnus Kelvin Redvers and sister T’áncháy founded We Matter, a non-profit organization that empowers Indigenous youth. Earlier this year the siblings were recognized with a Governor General’s Meritorious Service Medal for their work.
“This award belongs to anyone who's made a We Matter video, or even shared it on social media and spread the positivity,” says Redvers, “because I think there's a collective of people that have helped make this what it is today.”
Inspired by the It Gets Better project, We Matter gathers and distributes inspiring video messages of hope from people across the country.
“Indigenous young people are spread out across the country, and sometimes in small communities where it's hard to reach them,” says Redvers. “We thought the perfect format would be to make videos to share through social media and connect online to young folks that need it.”
The campaign began with 20 of videos and now comprises over 300. “It's actually been pretty remarkable just how much support we've received both from private industry and the government, and also the connections to Indigenous services,” says Redvers.
Growing up in the Northwest Territories, Redvers was interested in filmmaking from a young age. When looking for post-secondary programs, he was attracted to the SCA for its strong film program and also for the ability to study other subjects within a comprehensive university.
“From my perspective,” says Redvers. “It allowed me to both study the art and craft of filmmaking, but also get a broader education as well, such as some theatre courses, or English courses. SFU seemed like the best fit for that.”
Since graduating from the film program in the School for the Contemporary Arts (SCA) in 2010, Redvers has focused both on building his filmmaking career and founding We Matter. During his time at SFU, he volunteered with the First Nations Student Association (FNSA) and found that experience to be a great foundation for his future advocacy work.
“I think having the breadth of education where it's more than just filmmaking but also general knowledge and life skills, informed some of what we matter ended up becoming,” says Redvers.
While at SFU Redvers also made connections that continue to this day. For example, Spirit Lavallee, who he met in the FNSA, is a high school teacher who helps to review some of We Matter’s educational resources.
We Matter brings together a diverse team of people along with Redvers’ skill set to support Indigenous youth and provide them with encouragement and hope.
“The way that indigenous folks are presented isn't very positive,” says Redvers. “The media has a habit of focusing on the negative things.”
With We Matter, Redvers says they aim to change that narrative and focus on positive stories that will showcase role models and inspire youth.