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Knowledge Network – Season Launch

Knowledge Network – Season Launch

I was invited to present one of the eleven stories from Dreamers and Dissidents at Knowledge Network’s Season Launch at the Vancity Theatre in Vancouver in September. As we put the final touches on this documentary, it was a real boost to see one of the stories on the big screen with a live audience. It served as a great reminder of why we dug into this project over one year ago.

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The stories that are featured in Dreamers and Dissidents are all first person stories about the range of people who lived and moved to the Kootenays over multiple generations. Each story speaks to the resilience and independent spirit that is reflected in this region today. The particular story we shared at the Season Launch was about Bruce Rohn and his family, who were forced out of his childhood home in Renata by BC Hydro when they cleared the land and displaced over 2000 residents to make way for the dams.

It was my honour to be interviewed by Shelagh Rogers prior to screening the history short. She is as warm and down to earth as her radio personality. I was proud to wear my sash onto the stage, which of course could not go unnoticed. She asked all about it and I am happy to report that I represented Nelson’s vibrant arts scene as any good cultural ambassador would do.

The final documentary will air on Knowledge Network early next year. The World Premiere will happen right here in Nelson and you will be the first to know more about it.

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Art for Social Change – Course at Mir Centre for Peace Nov. 7/8th

Art for Social Change – Course at Mir Centre for Peace Nov. 7/8th

Amy Bohigian will be offering the course “Art for Social Change” through the Mir Centre for Peace at Selkirk College. It will run Friday and Saturday, November 7th and 8th from 9am-3pm for $129 plus tax. It’s a great fit for individuals who work at community-based organizations or within the fields of social planning and community development looking to create unique and lasting impact.

This course gives participants the analytic context and the practical tools to better understand and organize arts-based community development and social change related projects. Topics include: models of arts-based social change, best practices on community engagement, project planning, and examples of this theory and practice given by a panel of local artists.

Instructor Bio: Amy Bohigian is the founder and CEO of Watershed Productions, Inc. where the tagline is “Our Stories are Worth Telling.” Amy engages communities and organizations to inspire social change as a documentary filmmaker and new media artist. She has over 20 years experience as an educator in a variety of settings and holds a Masters Degree in education from Harvard University. Amy was awarded the honour of “Nelson’s Cultural Ambassador” for 2014.

To register call 250.365-1208 or visit http://selkirk.ca/ce/courses/mir-centre-peace/mir-centre-workshops/art-social-change

The great image for this post is by a street artist named “Meek” from Australia. Check out his work here: http://twistedsifter.com/2009/06/street-artist-meek-excellence-in-stencil-graffiti/

Knowledge Network History Documentary

Knowledge Network History Documentary

These days, I hear a lot of “How’s the Knowledge Documentary going?” as I get around town. Well, glad you’ve asked. The project is coming along nicely as we are now into the post-production of 11 unique historical shorts that will comprise the final half-hour documentary to air on the Knowledge Network. Ben Euerby is busy composing music for each piece as John Tucker looks to design the sound. Daryl Jolly has been hard at work in the heat of the summer piecing together photos in his editing bay and bringing them to life with the magic of After Effects. We’ve worked with over 30 regional archives and a pile of family photo albums to pull together hundreds of images, as this documentary is comprised only of archival photos and documents. Laura Fortier of Touchstones has been instrumental in helping us get many of the photos for the a handful of the stories.

One of the big pieces to report is that title has changed. Whereas, it was originally called “If These Mountains Could Talk”, it was becoming clear that the strongest stories that emerged for the series all centred around people and their experience of living and moving to the Kootenays. The mountains and landscape certainly play a role in the stories, but as Murray Battle, Director of Independent Production at the Knowledge Network, pointed out, “Amy, the mountains aren’t the ones talking anymore.” So, we reluctantly let go of the original title and looked for one to more directly frame the stories. This lead to the name “Dreamers and Dissidents: A History of Nelson and the Kootenays.” From a fierce Sinixt Chief to an emigre princess from Russia to the Draft dodgers and Doukhobors, the stories lead us to what shaped the character of the place we call Nelson and the Kootenays today.

The Knowledge Network has tentatively planned a World Premiere at our very own Civic Theatre in the spring of 2015. We hope to wrap the production this fall after we get our last pieces in place. History takes a long time to create and we are learning that historical documentaries take even longer! We’re looking forward to sharing it wide and far, but locally most of all.

Film Camp 2014

Film Camp 2014

Three weeks of the Summer Film Camp has just wrapped up and there are now 48 more young filmmakers who have been super-charged and sent into the community with new filmmaking skills.

We had many returning participants, including some 4, 5 and 6 year veterans of the film camp! The Senior Director’s Seat has made a tradition of screening their new films at the Civic on the last day of the program. This year, 11 proud young filmmakers screened to a friendly audience to great acclaim. Jason Asbell and Andrew Fry worked with these 14-18 year olds throughout the two-week intensive program, with Bryan Webb helping out during a few days of production.

Lily Miller, James Tucker and Noah Gaffran were the recipients of the Kootenay Emerging Filmmaker Award made possible by a grant from the Osprey Community Foundation’s Arts Legacy Fund. These three youth received a full scholarship to attend the two-week intensive film camp and each will get further mentorship as they move forward in their filmmaking careers.

For the first time ever, we had a 6-7 year old program Production Crew. These little filmmakers had big heart and made three films in just 15 hours of film camp. The Junior Director’s Seat and Director’s Seat program saw 28 young filmmakers come to the 10th Street Campus where 11 films between 28 participants.

Check out our Summer Film Camp Youtube Channel where you can see all the movies from this past summer and many of the ones we’ve made since the camp was founded in 2007.

Wide Shot/Close Up – Opening at Touchstones November 14

Wide Shot/Close Up – Opening at Touchstones November 14

Amy Bohigian of Watershed Productions finished the casting call for her new project, Wide Shot/Close Up. 25 people from all walks of life and of all ages attended one of the castings calls held in July. They were asked to do a variety of ‘on camera exercises’ that all hit on the themes of personal and community identity.

Wide Shot/Close Up is a new work to be exhibited at Touchstones Nelson: Museum of Art and History starting from November 2014 to February 2015. One part art installation, one part social experiment and one part community development exercise, the project is intended to expose and explore how individuals present their own identity to others and how this impacts the way community is built. It is meant to engage a larger audience about the questions of how people from various backgrounds and beliefs can connect in meaningful ways.

The footage from these casting calls will be part of what goes into making the final exhibit later this year. The exhibit will be a multi-stage experience with various video-based stations around the gallery, each exploring the themes of the project.

This project is funded by a major project grant from the Columbia Kootenay Cultural Alliance and the The Mir Centre for Peace is partnering with Watershed Productions on content and delivery.

ARTiculate Magazine

ARTiculate Magazine

Margaret Tessman, the Editor of ARTiculate magazine, wrote this article for the Spring 2014 magazine. Margaret has been highlighting and supporting the artists around the Columbia Basin for years with her great work at the helm of this important magazine. She managed to captured the work of Watershed Productions so eloquently in this article. ARTiculate magazine, the first word on arts culture and heritage in the Columbia Basin, is a twice yearly publication that covers arts, heritage and cultural stories and events throughout the Columbia Basin.

Cultural Ambassador 2014

Cultural Ambassador 2014

I have never been an ambassador until now. Since moving here in 2006, I’ve shown family and friends from out of town what Nelson has to offer from the freshly baked fougasse at the French Bakery to the beautiful backcountry of Kokanee Glacier Park. I’ve always marvelled at the quality and breadth of cultural and artistic initiatives that go on in a city of 10,000 people. As I dig deeper into research for the Knowledge Network history series entitled “If These Mountains Could Talk” I only get clearer how this community was founded by a creative spirit. It takes imagination to live here – many of us traded in steady paycheques and a bit of our rational brain to move to this remote mountainous town. Unlike big city living where closing doors and saying no is habit, here, in Nelson, people are ready to say yes – to a conversation in the grocery line-up, to reinventing the local movie theatre, to giving folks like me opportunities to make a living here. Now, it’s my turn to say YES! – Nelson is a unique and special place to live. As the cultural ambassador (I know many of you play this role with me), I get to make it my official duty to turn attention to what people have known for generations about living here – it’s the relentless creative spirit of Nelson that captures people’s imagination and supports the claim that it’s Canada’s best small arts town.

Nelson Star’s article: