(Image courtesy Braid Films)

Eyes of Society selected for Banff Mountain Film Festival

Decades ago, W. David Ward toured Haida village sites in what is now Gwaii Haanas and came away seeing art in a life-altering new way.

“It just really struck me that civilization, in that village, had come and gone, and the only thing left as a sign that they had been there was a piece of art,” says Ward in Eyes of Society, a short documentary by local filmmakers Allison Smith and Joseph Crawford.

“I went back to Toronto, I quit my job in a month, and I ran off to Mexico to be a painter.”

Eyes of Society was recently chosen for this year’s Banff Mountain Film Festival, and has already screened at festivals in Vancouver, Washington D.C., at several art galleries and on Air Canada flights.

Filmed last summer, the nine-minute doc features different reflections on the role of art in society from six artists, including Haida painter April White, as they kayak from Tanu down to SG̱ang Gwaay. Other artists include Ward, Andrew Sookrah, Anja Karisik, Gary Landon, and Sophie Lavoie.

Islander Allison Smith, Braid Films’ creative director, said it was a breathtaking opportunity for she and Crawford to film above and below water at SGang Gwaay, and to speak with the artists each night by a campfire.

“This little film has gone different places that we thought from the beginning,” she said.

Rather than a conventional story arc that follows a single character, the film moves through the reflections of the half-dozen artists, with photography and an original score to match.

“That was a huge learning, and piece of the project that we’re super proud of,” said Smith, speaking of Patrick Wade, aka Dead Horse Beats, who composed a score that builds in a new instrument each time the audience meets a new artist.

Besides shooting underwater during the interview with Sophie Lavoie, who paints kelp forests and other submarine landscapes, challenges in making the film including flying a drone in the windy Gwaii Haanas air as the artists made an open crossing.

“It was exhilarating,” said Smith.

Eyes of Society will screen next October when the 2018 Banff Mountain Film Festival tours Haida Gwaii, but Smith said they would like to arrange an earlier showing together with some of the several other short films shot on Haida Gwaii this year. The project was supported by Seaward Kayaks, Gwaii Haanas, the Council of the Haida Nation, Green Coast Kayaking, and Moresby Explorers.

To find out more or request a community screening, visit www.braidfilms.com.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 20 to 26

Rabbit Day, Hobbit Day and One-Hit Wonder Day are all coming up this week

Single-engine aircraft crashes near Telkwa

Two occupants of the plane sustained minor injuries and were transported to hospital

Cullen announces bid for provincial NDP nomination for Stikine riding

Current MLA Donaldson not seeking re-election

Northern Health records 1st fatality due to COVID-19

Six people died from the novel coronavirus on the weekend, health officials confirm

Police look for vehicle, male driver after incident involving girl, 11

The driver was described as an older Caucasian male with white hair, no glasses, and no facial hair

B.C. or Ontario? Residential school survivors fight move of court battle

It’s now up to Ontario’s Court of Appeal to sort out the venue question

B.C. transportation minister will not seek re-election

Claire Trevena has held the position since 2017

Young B.C. cancer survivor rides 105-km with Terry Fox’s brother

Jacob Bredenhof and Darrell Fox’s cycling trek raises almost $90,000 for cancer research

B.C. migrant, undocumented workers rally for permanent residency program

Rally is part of the Amnesty for Undocumented Workers Campaign led by the Migrant Workers Centre

Preparations underway for pandemic election in Saskatchewan and maybe B.C.

Administrators in B.C. and around the country are also looking to expand voting by mail during the pandemic

Nearly 20 per cent of COVID-19 infections among health-care workers by late July

WHO acknowledged the possibility that COVID-19 might be spread in the air under certain conditions

Ferry riders say lower fares are what’s most needed to improve service

Provincial government announces findings of public engagement process

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Application deadline for fish harvester benefits program extended

Those financially impacted by the pandemic have until Oct. 5 to apply

Most Read