Elevating the voice of Black filmmakers, Ime Etuk uses storytelling to raise awareness around poverty, homelessness, mental health, and the transformative nature of the outdoors. Ime is a Northwest Outward Bound School alumnus and former board member, and he was NWOBS’s first Pinnacle Scholar. Finding his passion for storytelling in high school, Ime began his career in TV news and eventually was accepted as one of the 14 finalists selected for the prestigious Directors Guild of America’s training program. Working alongside experienced directors in Hollywood, Ime has been on set with Paul Haggis (Crash), the Coen Brothers (The Man Who Wasn’t There), Antoine Fuqua (Training Day), and David Lynch (Twin Peaks).
Influenced by his time in nature, Ime’s latest film project, Outdoor School The Movie, tells the true story of Vin Shambry, a Black 12-year-old boy in Portland, Oregon, who faces the challenges of homeslessness and ultimately discovers the transformative power of the outdoors. The story follows Vin and his experience of escaping domestic abuse and sleeping under a tree with his 4-year-old sister and mother on a nightly basis. Vin and his 6th-grade class embark on a week-long experiential outdoor education program called Outdoor School and his worldview is transformed by the healing power of nature.
Ime’s experience on his own Northwest Outward Bound course helped inspire his vision for filming Outdoor School The Movie. “There is a strong power and healing that can happen when people are outside,” Ime expressed. “To be pulled away from all the noise of the day-to-day things that happen, you can finally focus on the truly important things. Often, that’s relationships – spiritual, emotional, or people relationships. There is a lot of power in the stillness of nature.”
“There is a strong power and healing that can happen when people are outside.”
Telling a story in front of the camera, Ime hopes to raise awareness of homeslessness, poverty, and the transformative power of nature. At the same time, Ime is aspiring to tell a story behind the camera that elevates Black filmmakers and provides them with more filmmaking experience. Ime is working with the nonprofit Lion Speaks, whose mission is to diversify the film industry through education, empowerment, and providing educational opportunities for underrepresented racial groups in mentoring, training, and job placement. Ime is also working alongside Open Signal, which invests in the future of Black filmmaking in Portland, Oregon.
Filming this summer, Ime will be working with his creative team to write and direct Outdoor School The Movie. Stay tuned and learn more about the film by visiting outdoorschoolthemovie.com.
You can donate to Ime’s film by visiting outdoorschoolthemovie.com/tiers.