On the Horizon

We are always looking for new ideas, trying to be innovative, and working towards connecting audiences with new subjects that challenge the way they look at the world. As a consequence, there is always something new on the horizon and the following list of funded projects are an indication of where we are headed at the moment.

Click on the title to go directly to the project.
The Lakehead At War
Toxic Time Bomb
Tracking Change
Le tireur d’élite

The Lakehead At War

“The Lakehead at War” is the working title of a docu-drama commemorating the First World War, including the events leading up to the decision on 6 July 1921 to adopt the poppy as Canada’s symbol of remembrance at the Prince Arthur Hotel. The film project includes the production of an interactive website that features a series of “spin-off” short vignettes/testimonials designed to highlight related aspects of the story. The film is funded by the City of Thunder Bay and other sources.

This project is both a commemoration of the sacrifices of the First World War and the documentation of the historical contributions of Thunder Bay and region in the conflict. The First World War (1914-1918) had a significant impact on the communities of Port Arthur and Fort William (now Thunder Bay). Thousands of men and women from the region served in the armed forces during that conflict. The Lakehead at War is a film project that links both the wartime experiences of the former cities of Fort William and Port Arthur, and events following the conflict. It is a story that follows the experiences of local soldiers and those on the home front during the war and intertwines with Flanders Field, Belgium with Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, Canadian doctor and poet. Of particular importance is the place in history Thunder Bay plays in the designation of the poppy as an international symbol of remembrance.

Toxic Time Bomb

Toxic Time Bomb is a co-production with French filmmaker, Sylvie V. Jacquemin. Sylvie has been making films for 30 years. Her films include “Playing through the changes: A portrait of trumpeter Wynton Marsalis “, “Masters of the Opera”, and ” Indians Like Us.” The  film examines the ongoing legacy of the production and use of Agent Orange during the Vietnam war. The film is funded by the Ontario Arts Council.

We begin in Elmira, Ontario, a picturesque farming community which was home to Uniroyal Chemical, now known as Chemtura, a manufacturer of Agent Orange. Agent Orange is a herbicide and defoliant used to remove the leaves of vegetation along railroad lines, walking trails, power corridors and other places where human activity takes precedence over nature. In Vietnam the United States used the chemical to defoliate and expose transportation corridors to aerial strafing and bombardment. Uniroyal was one of the companies contracted to manufacture Agent Orange and over 2.5 million litres of the herbicide sprayed on the jungles and people of Vietnam were produced in Elmira.

The focus in the first part of the film is on the legacy of Agent Orange in Canada (Elmira, ON, Gagetown, NB, and elsewhere), on its dangers and the attempts by various governments to manage the problem. Once the story of Elmira is established, the viewer is taken to Vietnam where the United States the decade of the 1960s spraying approximately 80 million litres over 30,000 square miles of southern Vietnam. This is where the film provides a glimpse into the possible future of communities like Elmira where people live on a toxic time bomb.

The second part of the film opens In the Mekong Delta, where Dr Dieu, a retired physician, is still fighting her ” Vietnam War ” 40 years after its end. Dr. Dieu has transformed her house into a Health Rehabilitation Center for children born with disabilities due to the lingering concentrations of dioxins in the environment and the trans-generational impact on children being born with disabilities today as a result of their grandparents having been sprayed with Agent Orange in the 1960s. Dr. Dieu, acting as a generous nanny, is standing by these Vietnamese handicapped children and gives them and their parents hope and happiness, inside a Vietnamese society that rejects them.

Tracking Change: Local and Traditional Knowledge in Watershed Governance

Tracking Change is a new research initiative funded by the Social Sciences Humanities Research Council of Canada and led by the University of Alberta, the Traditional Knowledge Steering Committee of the Mackenzie River Basin Board, the Government of the Northwest Territories and many other valued partner organizations. The video project follows local and traditional knowledge research activities in the Mackenzie River basin and sister projects in the Lower Amazon and Lower Mekong River Basins, with the long term goal of strengthening the voices of subsistence fishers and Indigenous communities in the governance of major fresh water ecosystems.

See http://www.trackingchange.ca for more information about the project.

Le tireur d’élite

This is a docudrama about Louis Riel’s nephew, Patrick, who was a sniper in World War One. The film is funded by the Ontario Arts Council and is a French language production.

2018 marque le 100e anniversaire de la fin de la Grande Guerre. Des cérémonies se déroulent au Canada, en France et en Belgique commémorant le rôle joué par les Canadiens pendant la guerre. L’une des histoires fascinantes de la Grande Guerre est celle de Patrick Riel, le neveu de Louis Riel et membre des Winnipeg Rifles, le même bataillon qui a combattu son oncle et les Métis en 1885 dans la Rébellion du Nord-Ouest. L’histoire traditionnelle des historiens concerne la résistance des Canadiens français à la guerre, mais l’histoire de Patrick Riel illustre le patriotisme des Métis et des Canadiens français hors de Québec dans les premières décennies du vingtième siècle. Patrick Riel était conscient des luttes des Métis pour être reconnues par le gouvernement canadien et il était prêt à sacrifier sa vie pour l’Empire britannique.

Le tireur d’élite est un film qui raconte l’histoire de Patrick Riel à travers une combinaison d’entretiens avec des experts, de dramatisations, d’images d’archives, de photos et de documents historiques.

Trente ans après la fin de la rébellion de Riel en 1885, le Canada se trouva en guerre lorsque la Grande-Bretagne déclara la guerre à l’Allemagne en août 1914. Des hommes et des femmes de tout le pays commencèrent à s’inscrire. Parmi eux, on trouve Patrick Riel, le tireur d’élite.

Patrick Riel est né à Chelsea, Québec, le 17 mars 1876. Au début de la guerre, il travaillait comme bûcheron près de ce qui est aujourd’hui Thunder Bay, en Ontario. Lui et d’autres hommes duLakehead ont rejoint les Winnipeg Rifles, une unité militaire qui qui était appelée les «Little Black Devils» (les petits démons noirs ) par son oncle et les Métis qui les ont combattus à la Bataille de Batoche en Saskatchewan en 1885. En 1914, ils étaient encore connus comme les Little Black Devils.

Les Winnipeg Rifles sont partis le 1er octobre 1914 pour la Grande-Bretagne, où ils ont commencé à s’entraîner. Le 2 février 1915, Riel débarqua en France où il combattait avec la 2e Brigade d’infanterie de la 1ère division canadienne. Bien que son oncle ait mené deux rébellions contre le Canada, Patrick était prêt à se battre avec d’autres Canadiens dans le cadre de la contribution du Canada au Corps expéditionaire britannique (British Expeditionary Force). Au cours de sa formation, les compétences de chasse de Riel ont été reconnues par ses supérieurs. Il a reçu un fusil Ross et suivi une formation de tireur d’élite. Pendant son service, qui a duré moins d’un an jusqu’à sa mort, il est devenu l’un des tireurs d’élite canadiens les plus accomplis.

En tant que tireur d’élite il a opéré non seulement pendant la journée, mais aussi la nuit, se faufilant tranquillement vers l’ennemi jusqu’à portée de tir. Sa guerre n’a pas duré longtemps, déployé pour la première fois en mars 1915, il a été tué en action le 14 janvier 1916. Patrick Riel était l’un des 61,000 hommes et femmes canadiens, dont beaucoup étaient de descendance française, décédés dans la guerre.