Yesterday I spent a glorious Spring afternoon hanging out in the beautiful St. Ann’s orchards and gardens, at Victoria’s newest community building celebration: Creatively United for the Planet Festival. For the second year in a row, photographer Frances Litman has wrangled a wholistic carnaval of eco-minded creators, entrepreneurs and activists to create an uplifting blend of public engagement, art showcase and music fest. Community engagement in colourful action. Serious kudos to Frances!
It was a great opportunity to get the Get on the Doc Bus conversation rolling in a community setting. So I headed over to join the party, armed with curiosity and handbills for both our crowdfunding campaign and our upcoming OPEN CINEMA Season 10 finale and fundraiser. I discovered people like to talk about documentary and community building! I found myself in conversation with filmmaker Riel Marquardt, whose documentary “The Incomappleux” screened on Friday night as part of Creatively United. Our exchange was such a perfect illustration of the information gap that Get on the Doc Bus plans to help bridge.
Documentary + Community Building = Connection
Riel isn’t a career filmmaker, he stumbled upon documentary producing and directing through his passion and experience. An engineer by trade, he’s spent a lot of time hiking in the Inland Temporate Rainforest, a rich biodiverse corridor of wilderness that stretches from Northern BC into Washington State. Much of this huge unique ecosystem has been systematically logged and developed, and is the only home to the endangered Mountain Cariboo species. Riel feels compelled to raise awareness about one of the few remaining pristine valleys, The Incomappleux. His hour-long film is a heartfelt tour of a unique and breathtakingly beautiful ecosystem that could be logged at any time.
Riel has been scratching his head since he completed the doc in 2010, wondering how to share his film and get it screened in other communities. Unfamiliar with the world of film festival submissions and community arts programs, he appeared frustrated in his search for support or information. He wanted to learn more about crowdfunding, community screening opportunities and other filmmaking resources. I gave him the names of a few local resources, but when I explained that Get on the Doc Bus hopes to facilitate these vital connections between filmmakers, screening programs and audiences, his face brightened visibly. “I just never imagined that such a network of support and information could exist!” BINGO!
Win + Win + Win
The proposed Cross Canada Community Cinema Network will not only serve to connect filmmakers to community screening programs, but it also has the potential to help audiences find films, social action groups find topical outreach materials and values-based businesses and services connect to new customers and clients. Add venues, funders, distributors and restaurants, cafes and virtual engagement into the mix and we have the makings of a dynamic local exchange network with documentary film screenings at the centre. OPEN CINEMA has been thriving off this kind of community engagement for a decade now.
Contribute Now = Win a DVD!
So let’s put this network of connections into action right away: Riel offered me two DVD’s of his film to give away to the next 2 people who contribute over $75 to the Get on the Doc Bus Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign! You will definitely want to see the magic pool that Riel discovers during the film, an azure blue natural glacier fed cold spring that appears to be alive under it’s still surface. Amazing!