FNC Presents: National Parks Project
Their 127 minute feature collection of 13 short films will be shown tomorrow, October 19th at the Imperial, 7:00 p.m., as well as Thursday, October 20th at Parallele, 5:15 p.m.
Also make sure to come out for their free live event happening Thursday, October 20th at UQAM's Agora, 8:00 p.m.
The live event will consist of footage taken during the summer of 2010 from 13 parks across Canada, one in each province/territory. Ryan J. Noth, filmmaker, editor and producer will be the evening's VJ.
Accompanying the footage will be ambient music from: Paul Aucoin (Hylozoists), Cadence Weapon, Daniela Gesundheit (Snowblink), Mishka Stein (Patrick Watson), Dean Stone (Apostle of Hustle) and Andrew Whiteman (Broken Social Scene, Apostle of Hustle and aRoaRa). Quite the impressive collection of talent!
According to Ryan, "In 2010 we were able to take one unique Canadian filmmaker and three amazing musicians to each park, for a total of 13 filmmakers and films, and 39 musicians participating in the project."
About two years ago, the National Parks Project offered a full-length film shot in Gros Morne, also accompanied by live music, which I covered previously. The overall intention from one film to the next remains the same.
"Our goal, as always, is to engage Canadians and non-Canadians in discussions about nature, but not in an overt or literal way," said Ryan. "We want to remind people of the uniqueness and privilege it is to have all this wonderful protected space, and to encourage them to help ensure it remains that way, and expands, in the future."
Though the intent of the films remains the same, film-goers can expect a few surprises from this new offering.
"Unlike the first film, each of these short films range between five and 15 minutes, and all of the music was written and recorded in the park, a really unique experience." said Ryan.
Furthermore, the diversity of terrains and weather featured in these films, at times, posed new and exciting challenges.
"Some areas we visited were super remote. In Wapusk, northern Manitoba, the group had to be choppered into a bear-proof fence, which keeps out polar bears," said Ryan. "In Kluane, Yukon, we took a 30 minute flight into the ice fields near Mount Logan, the highest peak in Canada, and setup instruments, including Graham Van Pelt (Miracle Fortress) with his computer!"
According to Ryan, the real challenge was for the filmmakers to decide what not to film, given all the beauty around them.
Similar to the nature of the films' content, the recording process itself was organic and harmonious.
"The musicians we were able to take with us were incredible in skill and diversity. We decided to mix up the musicians, so in most cases they had never worked together before visiting the park, and in some cases never even met," said Ryan. "Most of the filmmakers didn't know the musicians either, so it was as much fun making new friends around the campfire as it was making the films and music."
The project generated so much terrific music, much of which could not be included in the 13 short films, that those involved decided to partner with Last Gang Records to put out a double vinyl album, CD and iTunes release. The Nature Conservancy of Canada will receive all proceeds from the record, CD and download sales.
"The NCC is a great organization that basically buys land across the country for the sake of conservation, and as often as not, turns it over to the government or Parks Canada at some point," said Ryan. "We're really thrilled that of all these great trips we took and all the great multi-media components that came out of it, we've been able to literally give back to the land by using the music inspired by it to protect it for the future."
The National Parks Project has gained increased attention and recognition for the subtle, yet powerful visual narratives and mood-appropriate music that truly breathe life into its films.
Discovery Canada produced a 13-part television series that explored each park and the artists involved. A kind of making-of look at the artistic process narrated by Gord Downie of the Tragically Hip.
The film collection premiered as a feature at Hot Docs during the month of May, and experienced a two-week theatrical run in Toronto shortly after. The films have also screened as far as the West Coast and all over Canada to date. FNC is their Quebec premiere.
The project's award-winning site is meant to be the future home for the films as time goes by, offering all viewers in Canada the opportunity to stream the short films, and look a bit closer at the artists and parks involved. Video footage of the creation of a lot of the music, alongside some visuals that didn't make it into the films may also be discovered there.
These films' serene visuals gently transition from one image to the next with an effortlessness that speaks to the skill of the visionaries involved. Low-key ambient music communicates the somber peace of nature's woefully at-risk beauty. The project served only to confirm nature's singular impact on the human mind and heart.
"It was nothing short of spiritual the way both the musicians and filmmakers were able to channel their surroundings into their art," said Ryan. "The inspiration was so obvious, but no one had to talk about it, and in the end the films and music speak to the power of nature as much as the magic of art."Â
Tickets and more information available are at the Festival Du Nouveau Cinema's website.
Watch the trailer here.
Image from the Festival Du Nouveau Cinema's website.