Cape Breton Island has been showcased as a top tourist destination in Canada for many years. A great deal of chatter has been for its incredibly stunning landscapes and charm. Too add, the vibrant Scottish culture is embedded in the fabric of many communities in Cape Breton. The strong Mi’kmaq and Acadian communities further add to this vibrant Island.
With a deep history as a nautical paradise, the Island also has a long history as an industrial hub in North America. It would be amiss not to recognize the emerging potential from this Island, and it is clear there is some growth in the area of film production on the Island. Just this past weekend, a film showcase was held at Cape Breton University, organized by the newly formed Film Cape Breton. Follow the linkto recent media on the Film Collectives efforts to highlight filmmakers from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. You can find more on Film Cape Breton on their Facebook Group.
In 1907 Dr. Peter H. Bryce, the Chief Medical Health officer for the Department of Indian Affairs wrote a report documenting the inhuman and unsanitary conditions in Canada’s residential schools. Bryson’s report was discredited by the department’s chief bureaucrat Duncan Campbell Scott and he was subsequently relieved of his duties at Indian Affairs.
Decades later, Andy Bryce, great-grandson of Peter Bryce opens a box of family memorabilia that inspires a journey into tracing Peter Bryce’s story from his childhood in rural Ontario to his mysterious death on a cruise ship in the West Indies.
Directed by Peter Campbell and produced by Andy Bryce and Peter Campbell, Finding Peter Bryce: The Story of a National Crime screens at at the historic Mayfair Theatre tonight, May 10th at 6pm. Admission is free, first come, first served. (Presented by Peter Bryce, the Bryce Family and the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society)
It was a rainy, cold afternoon in Ottawa, not to be unexpected in mid April. The MayfairTheatre in Ottawa was having a Premiere screening of 8 Minutes Ahead, so as part of Ocan Film Festival, I ventured out to see what the film had to offer. This film brought geographical landscapes together beautifully, with rich cinematography. It also had the edge a suspense film needed. Good plot, and visually appealing imagery. A very urban experience as it was filmed in three major cities, Ottawa, Vancouver and Hong Kong.
Canadian film needs the encouragement Ben Hoskyn’s brings to the table with this feature. What is also a message from Hoskyn’s, is that no matter the time it takes to make a film, make it.
During the Q & A session many of the challenges, benefits and rewards of producing a work readily came through in the filmmaker’s own words. Dedication was a key element of bringing this film to the screen.
If you are living in a city that offer’s a rich film culture, it can only be recommended you treat yourself to one of the Film Festival experiences offered in Canada. Whether you are vacationing in a City or live in it, you can be sure there will be something to see.
UPDATE: January 11, 2019.
The film is available for pre-order oniTunes.
Rise is a Canadian documentary series directed by Michelle Latimer and hosted by Sarain Carson-Fox which profiles indigenous activists in various parts of the Americas. Several episodes received a preview screening at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival shortly before the program’s television premiere on Viceland and APTN.
“This year, Sundance has a special climate program. It’s the first time the festival has done a thematic program. And so we showed three episodes that kind of deal with climate and environment,” Michelle Latimer says in an interview with Peter Knegt from CBC Arts. She goes on to state that Rise is about more than the environment, that it is a political fight for sovereignty and liberation. “They’re not just Native issues — they affect everybody,” she says. “Our water’s not for sale; our land is not for sale. We were the original stewards of that land, and we have to be able to protect it.”
Ashley Mackenzie undoubtedly added to Canadian film culture with her feature film Werewolf. As a fellow Cape Bretoner, seeing a film of this caliber made about life on the Island made me very excited for the future of film in Cape Breton. The authenticity of this film was moving, having seen Cape Breton struggle with many issues, particularly with opioid addiction. The main characters of this film show us the true depth of this way of living in a very candid way. Centering on addiction, love and reality the film pulls you in all of those directions. This wonderfully shot and edited film is of worth note for its authenticity.
A young Canadian filmmaker, Ashley Mackenzie is sure to build from here and you can see why in this short roll up of her Q & A after her screening at The Ottawa Arts Court in April 2018 on National Canadian Film Day hosted by The Canadian Film Institute.
This film should be celebrated for many reasons as the cinematography, emotion and raw aspects of lives mundane suffering, longing to break free platitudes are all encapsulated in this work.
See a few highlights of her post screening Q & A here.