Fort St. John Filmmaker Makes Second Filipino Documentary

Ovvian Castrillo Hill has once again been selected as an Emerging Filmmaker for Telus STORYHIVE

Fort St. John artist Ovvian Castrillo-Hill has completed her EX-SITU: Thriving In Our New Bayan series, documenting the history of the Filipino community in the Peace region, and is already moving towards a new project.

She has once again been selected through the Telus STORYHIVE Voices program for emerging content creators and will produce a second series of EX-SITU, which means living and thriving in a place that is not your habitat.

“There was no guarantee that just because you participated in the first one you would be selected for the next one, so I was especially happy to continue,” Castrillo-Hill said.

While his first project focused on interviewing people about their experiences coming to Canada, the second documentary series, called EX-SITU Interaction, will focus on how Filipino-Canadian culture adjusts to a new environment.

“It’s about how Filipino Canadians in the city interact in various ways, for example through music, food, tradition, art and these kinds of things.”

The Filipino community makes up the largest immigrant group in the La Paz Region, and Castrillo-Hill, a first-time filmmaker, said she believes it’s important for Filipino Canadians to feel seen and heard.

She also hopes that her project will help children and future generations to learn about the journey their families took to reach Canada, show gratitude and share Filipino culture with Canadians as well.

“What I hope is that our culture, our food and elements of our way of life, what we bring here to Canada, is no longer foreign,” Castrillo-Hill said.

“We would like us to be no different than others and that can only happen by exposing the rest of Canada to what we bring.”

Castrillo-Hill made eight episodes of the first series of EX-SITU and says that while she has not yet mastered all the technical aspects of filmmaking, the community appreciates these stories being told.

“I may only interview a handful, but their experiences are a kind of mirror to almost everyone who has come, so they will see parallels to their own stories and be able to relate to them.”

He is currently working on EX-SITU Interaction, which will consist of six 25-minute episodes that he hopes to complete sometime this summer.

“This is a great learning experience for me. I’ve seen a lot. I’ve learned a lot of skills. I’m also discovering my weaknesses but it’s helping me grow and at the end of the day, that’s what I want to keep doing.”

Becoming an emerging filmmaker at age 50, Castrillo Hill also wants to encourage anyone with a story to tell to give it a try.

“I’d like to encourage anyone who’s interested in doing something like this to give it a try, because that’s what I did and I’m very happy to add that I’ve had this opportunity to do what I wanted.”