Celebrating The Learner

Carla Sinclair Nears End of Healing Journey

FilmMaker Carla Sinclair's Creative Spark Came Seven Years Ago


There are so many great stories to tell about Selkirk College students, grads and alumni. These student success stories are something we are going to be providing our staff with more. The latest is a story about Carla Sinclair, a 2006 graduate of the Multimedia and Design Program.

Filmmaker Carla Sinclair’s creative spark came seven years ago while she was in a small Nelson music venue. A  Selkirk College student at the time, she had no idea how the flames would be fanned.

Behind the microphone that night was Kate Reid, a passionate folk-roots musician who delved into themes that hit home with Sinclair.

“When I first saw her perform in downtown Nelson I remember not being able to peel my eyes away from this woman on the stage,” says Sinclair. “I had never heard anything like this before and I thought to myself: how can I get everyone to listen to Kate’s music because what she sings about resonated with me.”

Today Sinclair is part of Empty Cup Media, a bustling photo/video company serving clients in and around the Greater Toronto area. Though now a long way from the Kootenays, the spark seven years ago ignited a full-length documentary project about Reid that now nears completion.

Heal Myself follows Reid on her journey as a musician, activist and teacher. Standing up for gay rights and teaching tolerance, Sinclair has pointed the camera at the alt-culture artist as she has crossed the country doing shows, speaking at schools, conducting workshops for gay-straight alliance groups and doing sensitivity training.

Sinclair comes back to the Nelson/Rossland area every winter to get her taste of quality Kootenay snow.

Part of the continued attraction of the Kootenays is where Sinclair honed her skills as a filmmaker. She says Selkirk College will always hold a special place in her life.

“I talk Selkirk up everywhere I go because I loved it so much. It really did give me a good foundation,” she says.

“One of the most important things is not the building you are in, but the people who make up the organization. I can say from personal experience that Selkirk College was a goldmine of amazing instructors who not only fostered the work we were doing in class but gave me opportunities outside of class. They continue to be a support long after and those are the kinds of connections that are actually going to really help you in your career. Those quality, long-term relationships are the ones that really matter.”


Filmmaker Carla Sinclair (left) and the main subject of her Heal Myself documentary Kate Reid (right). 


Find out more about the Digital Arts & New Media Program and visit the program on Facebook.