Amy Bohigian of Watershed Productions, a video production company based in Nelson BC, is looking for a select group of individuals to participate in a series of video shoots over this coming summer.
Wide Shot Close Up is a new work to be exhibited at Touchstones Nelson: Museum of Art and History opening in November 2014. One part art installation, one part social experiment and one part community development exercise, the project is intended to expose and explore how each of us present our identity to ourselves and to others. It is meant to engage a larger audience about the questions of how people from various backgrounds and beliefs can connect in meaningful ways.
People from all walks of life and of all ages are encouraged to attend one of the upcoming castings calls the week of July 14th in Nelson. Eight individuals will be chosen to be featured in the video installation and exhibit based on their ability to be authentic on camera. Nothing should be acted and everyone should come dressed as they would on a normal day. There is no need to prepare anything to read, as each person will be directed through a series of on camera exercises. This is not a typical casting call.
The eight individuals who are selected will participate in at least one additional video shoot over the summer and will receive an honorarium. To express interest in attending the casting call and schedule a screen test, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org. You will be sent further information about location and available times.
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.
Hot Docs international documentary festival and conference is the place where documentary makers and lovers gather from all the corners around the globe to pitch, discuss and watch documentary films. I was selected to participate in the documentary Doc Accelerator Scholarship Program for 2014, designed to advance the career of eight emerging filmmakers from across Canada. The first weekend ‘lab’ for the group was spent meeting the best documentary producers, director, editors and cutting edge thinkers of non-fiction storytelling, including Julia Ivanova, Joe Berlinger, Mickael Brock, and Kate Amend.
The industry week, starting on Monday, was open for the scholarship participants to attend all the industry sessions, screenings and parties that one person could possible endure. The documentary Doc Accelerator program places each emerging filmmaker in a mentorship with an established filmmaker from the documentary community for 200 hours of hands on job shadowing.
I met Barbara Kopple, the pioneer director of Harlan Country U.S.A. and had a run in with the president of the free world (or his impersonator featured in the film Bronx Obama. The stand out films that I caught on the big screen were 112 Weddings and Before the Last Curtain Falls. The Forum where 16 pre-selected projects pitch for big money from international broadcasters was a highlight, given the best directors and producer are placed in the spotlight for 20 minutes having to articulate why they need hundreds of thousands of dollars to complete their passion project.
The marketplace is full of a range of perspectives of the current funding landscape for documentaries. Many filmmakers are starving to get their films made while an established few are getting broadcaster support that is dwindling by the year and competing with reality TV. The irony is that documentaries have never been more popular with audiences, as evidenced in the exponential sales in ticket sales over the years at Hot Docs. Broadcaster, while losing their power to less traditional distribution platforms and egregious government cuts, are playing it safe by backing fewer projects and less controversial ones. A group of three women filmmakers from Turkey pitched a project about a female to male trans actor in Turkey who risked everything to transition. They received the award for best pitch from the observers at the Forum and were looking like they would get all the money they needed to make their film happen. This is a sign of hope that great stories will still rise out of the pile and be told on a larger scale.
Either way, this is an art form (like all, really) that is best done for the love, not the money. The inspiration I carry from the week I was at Hot Docs is proof that the predominant current in the documentary industry is a get it done under any means necessary attitude. And, don’t quit your day job.
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.
Commissioned by the Knowledge Network If These Mountains Could Talk is a thirty-minute documentary that tells an original and personal history of Nelson and the Kootenays. Currently working on the production are Amy Bohigian – Director/Producer, Nicole Tremblay – Researcher, Ben Euerby – Composer, Daryl Jolly – Editor and Gregory Mackenzie – Executive Producer. Dozens of local experts and historians have been consulted on this exciting project set for full release and broadcast in the fall of 2014 with the premiere tentatively planned this summer at Nelson’s own Civic Theatre.
Basin Stories is a series of eleven short documentaries, each between 5 and 10 minutes in length, that were created from over sixty interviews conducted throughout the Columbia Basin with displaced residents, biologists, First Nations people, elected officials, historians and former BC Hydro employees. Each video centres around a particular topic, like agriculture, electricity, and ecosystems, exploring how each was experienced in the Columbia Basin before, during and after the construction of the Columbia River Treaty dams. To view the videos visit the Columbia Basin website here. Produced in 2013.
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:
Films Media Group out of New York City has picked up Conceiving Family to distribute to the educational market. I am very excited that we’ve found the right home for the film – for the next 7 years. Films Media Group works with schools K-12, colleges and universities, and educational groups of all kinds. It’s been fun self-distributing for this past stretch, as I have learned how to sell my film to the right markets and been able to connect directly with buyers and hear the impact the film is having in households and classrooms. Individuals can still get personal copies off the website here, but the educational market will all go through FMG. To all of you who have supported this film along the way, our little baby that we’ve all raised together is ready to go out into the big world on it’s own. Thank you for contributing to the film’s success in your own ways.
What a great summer at film camp and what a keen group of young filmmakers we had in each of our two programs this summer. We had many returning participants, including some 4, 5 and 6 year veterans of the film camp! Even two of the instructors for the Director’s Seat program were film camp participants back in the early days.
The Senior Director’s Seat celebrated their hard work and new film by screening their final projects on the BIG screen at the Civic Theatre in downtown Nelson. The younger group made over 10 films between 22 participants and held their final screening to a packed house at the 10th Street Campus. We have launched a Youtube Channel where we are in the process of uploading the films we’ve made over the past 7 years. Keep checking for the films that have been made by the young filmmakers across the Kootenays and beyond. We hope to have a majority of the film uploaded by the end of the fall.