By Michael Best
“There have been a surprising amount of axe murders in Lunenburg,” says Charlie Frauzel, 15, with an objective matter-of-factness befitting his role as writer and director of a short documentary on the folklore and history of Lunenburg.
“And attempted ones!” chimes in Lorelei Smith, 14, who takes on the editing and social media role in the production.
Together with Gloria Hagen, 13, who was in charge of sound and music on the film, they are just putting the finishing touches on a five-minute documentary titled “Myths and Monsters — A Tale of Lunenburg.”
The short film is the result of the two-weekend long Lunenburg Doc Fest Youth Workshop, which has five participants this year working on two films that will make their world premiere at the 7th annual Lunenburg Doc Fest from Sept 24-27.
“I really try to get the kids to feel like they are part of an actual production company,” says Tim Reeves-Horton, a producer from Mahone Bay who is this year’s workshop mentor. “Everybody has certain skill sets and talents they can contribute to making a film whether it’s writing, hosting, recording sound, editing or publicity. It’s definitely a real-world experience.”
Myths and Monsters explores many ghost legends and superstitions in Lunenburg.
“Everyone has heard that the basement of the Lunenburg Academy is haunted, but we’ve talked to some people who say they’ve seen the ghost of someone who was hanged nearby—still with the noose around his neck,” says Smith.
The group interviewed several locals including Ashley Feener and Liz Powers who do walking tours of haunted Lunenburg.
“We found there were lots of superstitions in Lunenburg too,” says Frauzel. “People used to put shoes inside walls to keep spirits away or made the front and back door look exactly the same so the devil would not know how to get in. You can still see examples of this in town.”
Hanna Martin, 13, and Jayda Gabriel, 13, both from Lunenburg, are using the storytelling skills they develop in the workshop to shed light on climate change and how it is affecting our local community.
“We interviewed several environmental activists and found out things like rising sea levels are already affecting our local freshwater streams. The saltwater seeps in and affects that ecosystem,” says Gabriel.
Both she and Martin are passionate about this subject and have been deeply affected by recent events such as the Australian wildfires.
“You can see it here with hurricanes, more school cancellations, it’s the most important issue to us right now.”
The opportunity to create a short documentary is a great way for local young people like Martin and Gabriel to raise awareness about an issue they care deeply about. But you can have fun and learn some new things along the way.
“The best part was getting to explore a lot of local areas we had never seen before to actually film some effects of climate change and that was amazing!” say both young women.
Neither group was entirely willing to share a sneak peek of their films as they were still working on the final edits and the last-minute decisions all filmmakers have to make.
“It’s been really weird listening to my own voice,” says Frauzel, who narrates Myths and Monsters, “but I’ve come to terms with it. I’m used to it now.”
Sounds like a wrap!
For more information on Lunenburg Doc Fest’s youth programs click here.