Filmmaking is about telling stories. What makes a meaningful film is the story you tell and how you capture it. Filmmaker and radio-host, Valécia Pépin has the courage to share real stories on screen and the talent to produce them. InFocus Film School is proud to announce that Pépin has been selected as the winner of the InFocus $10,000 Scholarship. Her short film Illusion: The Fear documents her own experience as a young woman struggling to free herself from a pimp who was taking advantage of her. We were touched by her story, her talent, and her relentless courage to push forward and keep creating in spite of her difficult past. We cannot wait to have her become a part of the InFocus family this September and see what she creates next.
Pépin was born in Haiti and was adopted by a family who resides in Quebec City. At nine months old, on Christmas Eve, 1989 she moved to Canada. She grew up in Quebec, surrounded by painting, cameras, and media from an early age.
“I have always been an artist, if I can say, because my mom was bringing me to workshops, she was always painting,” she said. “I used to be a model from two years old, so I started being in front of the camera very young.”
Pépin has always been fascinated by media and its capacity for storytelling. She was the host of her high school radio show and went on to work for CBC radio in Edmonton for many years. She knew by the age of fifteen that she wanted to be in front of the camera telling stories. It wasn’t until someone prompted her to share her own story that she decided to take a stab at behind the camera.
“At first I didn’t want to share my stories. I moved from Quebec to Edmonton because people were telling me, because of my past you will never reach your goals or your dreams. You can forget it.”
However, this didn’t stop her. She shared her past of getting caught up with pimps as a young girl and forced to do things that she didn’t want to do. Pépin has begun to share her story through film in order to help spread awareness about this taboo subject that isn’t widely discussed.
“I can help, I can share, I can listen. People will come to me and tell me I went through this, or my sister, or my child, or my nephew. If someone told me how these things happen, or saw it on TV, I would know the red flags and be aware. I want to spread awareness on this whole world.”
Subjects like sex work, prositution, and its dangers are often taboo in our mediascape, but its out there. It takes a lot of courage to share your own difficult past, but it makes a real story – a story that we can’t wait to see on the big screen.
With her scholarship, Pépin will be enrolling in our 12-month Film Production Program starting this September.
“I fell in love with the camera, the angles, what you want to project, and what you want to see and share and all that. I fell in love with the lens, how it works. I am comfortable being in front of the camera, but I need more experience. I need to learn how and know everything and make my own decisions behind the camera. I need the skills to do what I love” she added.
Valécia Pépin has unbelievable resilience, talent, and passion for storytelling. She has never given up, even when things have gotten tough. Her dedication and hardwork has got her so far already and we cannot wait to see what she accomplishes during her time at InFocus.
“When life wants you somewhere they will bring you there, and this is why I keep doing this.”