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Nelson filmmaker Amy Bohigian named cultural ambassador

Amy Bohigian shows off the new Cultural Ambassador sash with Nelson cultural development officer Joy Barrett looking on. - Sam Van Schie photo
Amy Bohigian shows off the new Cultural Ambassador sash with Nelson cultural development officer Joy Barrett looking on.
— image credit: Sam Van Schie photo

Amy Bohigian has been named Nelson’s 2014 Cultural Ambassador for her work in the category of film/television production.

Bohigian was recognized at the City of Nelson annual reception on Monday night, where she delivered a brief acceptance speech.

“This is as close as I’m going to get to making an Oscar speech, so I thought I would get my two minutes of fame in right now,” Bohigian told the crowd of city officials, staff, volunteers and guests.

Bohigian started by thanking her partner, poet Jane Byers, and their six-year-old twin children, Franny and Theo, for inspiring her. She went on to reveal a white sash printed with the words “cultural ambassador” that her mother had made for her.

“I’m going to wear this every single day of 2014,” she joked. “If you don’t see it, just yell out, ‘where is your sash!’”

Bohigian moved to Nelson in 2006 and went through the film program at Selkirk College before founding her own production company, Watershed Productions. She has produced short and feature-length documentary films. Her recent projects include Rural Transcrapes, about transgendered folks in the Kootenays, and Conceiving Family, about same-sex couples adopting children.

She’s currently working on a 12-part documentary series for the Columbia Basin Trust called Basin Stories and this past summer was commissioned by the Knowledge Network to produce a series of 10 two-minute films called If These Mountains Could Talk: A History of Nelson and the Kootenays.

She founded the Kootenay Shorts film festival to showcase short films by local filmmakers and has conducted a series of summer camps for kids and teens, inspiring and teaching the art of filmmaking to more than 200 young people.

Nelson cultural development officer Joy Barrett said Bohigian will make an ideal cultural ambassador for the city.

“Her work represents Nelson and the Kootenays creatively, honestly and with professional excellence, while encouraging and teaching the next generation of filmmakers,” Barrett said.

The ambassador title comes with a $1,000 prize and the expectation that she will represent and promote Nelson on her travels during the year. She'll take over these duties from this year’s ambassador Lucas Myers, who was recognized in the category of theatre.

Previous cultural ambassadors include dancer Hiromoto Ida, author Anne DeGrace, fibre artist Angelika Werth, and the Corazon Youth Choir.

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