Don't Diss Edmonton

Edmonton surprises people. Look at our TV industry. We have a really strong independent film community here. The Alberta Motion Picture Industry Association (AMPIA) head office is here, and AMPIA is one of the strongest industry associations in Canada. And we've got a really strong Canadian film industry community here actively engaged in the arts business. You keep crossing paths with people from all parts of the arts community. So for me, as an independent filmmaker, it's a great place.

At the moment, we're working on the story of Canada’s first mosque. Now who would have thought the first mosque would have been in Edmonton? And in fact this mosque drew Muslim immigrants to Canada. They decided to come here because we had a mosque. You know, we don't usually think of Alberta being that progressive because we have this reputation for being rednecks. But that's not Edmonton. I think it's just that we're not so uptight. We're laid back. Yeah, it's a really laid back business environment.

And I know it's got advantages and disadvantages like everything. But when people in the rest of Canada are like, "Why would you want to live in Edmonton? Why don’t you move somewhere else?" I'm like, "Go diss some other city. I love this city." This place is home. Big sky country, boreal forest. You know beautiful colour in the fall, beautiful light every day. Sunshine.

Anyway, this mosque story makes me proud of the community I live in. That we were the frontrunner in establishing it. And Jews, Christians, Muslims all contributed to the cost of building it. This is back in the 1930's. The mosque still exists. It's in Fort Edmonton Park now and new mosques have since been built that's much larger of course because the Muslim community has grown.

So, anyway, I just think it’s a story that Edmontonians should be proud of. And it's a story a lot of people don't know about.

Where Next?

Ava Karvonen

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Ava Karvonen comes from a family of filmmakers and has been an active member of the Alberta film community for over 15 years. Her Edmonton-based production company, Reel Girls Media Inc., specializes in producing documentaries, children's television series, and new media that celebrate the arts, examine social issues, and explore the human relationship with the natural world.

Ava loves travelling (43 countries and counting) and hanging out in the back yard with her family.

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