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Pulitzer Center Update April 20, 2017

Circus Comes to Winnipeg

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In the remote northern reaches of one of the wealthiest countries of the world is an aboriginal...

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Ashely, a high school student in Winnipeg, Manitoba, shares her observations on a performance by the team from Circus Without Borders at her school. Image by Ivan Hughes. Winnipeg, 2017.

Since 2015, the Pulitzer Center has taken the documentary "Circus Without Borders" on the road, holding lively screenings, discussions and performances with its school partners across the U.S. The film highlights the work of two extraordinary acrobats in Canada who use circus arts to inspire young people in their troubled home communities -- Igloolik, an Inuit hamlet in Nunavut in the Canadian Arctic; and Guinea, West Africa.

In March, the show headed North to Canada for the first time, visiting middle and high schools in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Some 2,700 students attended screenings and presentations by Pulitzer Center grantee Linda Matchan, director Susan Gray, and the two juggling, gasp-inducing acrobats/film stars, Guillaume Saladin and Yamoussa Bangoura. Guillaume led the students in a discussion – sometimes intense – of the issues raised by the film, including poverty, racism, depression and suicide.

The film had special resonance for the schools' many indigenous students because it deals with the sorry legacy of the Canadian residential schools which housed thousands of indigenous children who were forcibly removed from their parents over the course of many decades, beginning in the late 1800s. Students talk about the impact of the film in this video, shot by Ivan Hughes and produced by Jordan Roth: