Living On The Edge – What a year!

LIVING ON THE EDGE – What a year!

We’re almost at the two-year mark. Who would have thought! Our story began in May of 2012, in a pitch for what was described as a web-based documentary. That original idea actually seemed straightforward, but too many good things happened along the way – including a major U-turn for Joan and me as we made the decision to go full tilt to produce a multimedia project (blog, Facebook, film) despite not having a lot of experience or proper funding.  Neither of those obstacles stopped us and we’re proud of that! Let’s hear it for climate change – it’s one powerful motivator!

LIVING ON THE EDGE – The subject!

Joan doing what she loves best.

Joan doing what she loves best.

When it comes to telling a human story of climate change, I could not have a more beautiful subject than Joan Sullivan to carry the message of concern, frustration and hope in this documentary.  Yes, it is the story about climate change in eastern Quebec and how people are being affected by and adapting to it. But it’s also Joan’s story – the story of how climate change has become her raison d’être. In my 15 years as a journalist, I have met few people who truly walk the walk.

No matter what the season, Joan is always ready to tackle a wind farm!

No matter what the season, Joan is always ready to tackle a wind farm!

In addition to the public side of ‘Joan the photographer,’ we also see a very real and raw side of her life: her struggle to establish herself as a climate change photographer and run an organic farm at the same time. As a first-time filmmaker, the cherry on the sundae for me is having Martin Charron as the project’s editor. I continue to be in awe of his poetic approach. He has forced me to stop and think about being creative in a way I never thought possible. I am truly blessed to have him on board.

LVING ON THE EDGE  – Heading into 2014

Martin will be editing the footage through January/February of next year. But the party doesn’t stop there. I then need to complete two other phases of postproduction. I will sit down with the talented James Darling who will lay down the original score for Living on the Edge. I hope he is not too frustrated with this newbie filmmaker’s many missed deadlines! That being said, James knows what it’s like to be busy. This guy is a new dad – baby number four, beautiful Viviane, arrived earlier this month.  He now has his very own family quartet! After James does his magic, Robin Servant will carry out the final phase of production – sound. Then translation and subtitles will be added, thanks to an in-kind contribution by UQAR professor Steve Plante and the Coastal Communities Challenges – Communities-University Research Alliance (CCC-CURA).

I’ll be back with more details on our screenings in Rimouski and elsewhere in eastern Quebec, as well as on the festival circuit.

Thanks so much to all those who have helped us along the way – crowd funders, sponsors and mentors.  We could not have done this without each and every one of you.

Very best, Susan

 

Speaking from the heart….

Here’s a recent article I wrote for the Heritage Lower Saint Lawrence (HLSL) newsletter, which also appears in electronic form on their beautiful new blog:

http://heritagelsl.ca/2013/10/24/living-on-the-edge/#more-844

Check it out and pass it on!  This article provides some juicy nuggets regarding the humble origins of the Living on the Edge documentary film project, some of which we had not previously shared with you.

Bonne lecture!

And don’t forget that we are still fundraising to cover the costs of our post-production phase.  Any donations are welcome — large or small!  Our most recent donation is from Pascal Bérubé, Minister for Tourism and Member of the National Assembly of Quebec for the riding of Matane.  Thanks Minister Bérubé for your generous contribution and for recognising that climate change poses risks to the tourism industry here in eastern Quebec, something that is often left out of the climate change debate.

geese, snow geese, migration, Rimouski

We are in full-swing post production with Martin Charron and all I can say is we are creating magic.

Before signing off, I just wanted to share with you one of Joan’s recent photos of the snow geese migration, taken about two weeks ago in Rimouski.  As you will soon learn in the film, Joan is constantly drawn to the Saint Lawrence…

Susan

Professor Steve Plante

If you thought Joan was passionate about climate change, then you need to meet Steve Plante. This dynamic Université du Québec à Rimouski (UQAR) professor, with degrees in both anthropology and geography, has been thinking “outside the box” about climate change for quite some time. Over the last 20 years, Plante has become an international expert in helping coastal communities build adaptive capacity and resilience in the face of extreme weather events.

Steve Plante, portrait

In addition to his professorship at UQAR’s Department of Society, Land and Development, Dr. Plante is co-director of the Coastal Communities Challenges-University Research Alliance (CCC-CURA), an interdisciplinary and participatory research project funded by the federal government’s Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). It brings together 22 researchers and 11 partners from three provinces: Quebec, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.

Guided by the belief that the development of a communal knowledge base is the foundation to increasing resilience among coastal communities, CCC-CURA promotes integrated participatory governance approaches that are based upon active cooperation between citizens, local partners and researchers. To date, the alliance has designed a kit to guide communities in assessing their resilience and to better anticipate the effects of natural disasters. It’s about people, and CCC-CURA’s approach is very much bottom up, letting the people decide.

Steve Plante, UQAR

We visited Dr. Plante at his office and had a little help from Luc Tremblay, video journalist extraordinaire (and now weekend anchor at Radio Canada) who, by the way, has helped us on several recent shoots.  Thanks Luc!

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Steve Plante, Susan Woodfine

Postproduction is underway. We’re in the home stretch now! Stay tuned…

Magdalen Islands Encounter

Guglielmo Tita – Magdalen Islands

Post-production is well underway and we should be done by December, with a first screening planned for early February 2014.

It’s been great going back over all the tape that we have collected since the summer of 2012. I just relistened to a fascinating interview we had with Italian researcher Dr. Guglielmo Tita, scientific director of the Centre de recherche sur les milieux insulaires et maritimes (CERMIM), an international research centre for island and maritime studies that is located on the Magdalen Islands. CERMIM’s number one priority is protecting precious resources in this fragile archipelago of 12 islands in the heart of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence.

Mags_Tita_interview 05

Dr. Tita has traveled extensively over his life time, but for the last 10 years, he has become a happy Madelinot. Joan first meets Guglielmo in his windswept home on Île du Havre aux Maisons, where they discuss their shared Italian heritage and love of garlic.

Mags_Tita_interview 09

Then the conversation shifts to climate change, another of their shared passions. Joan learns from Guglielmo that over the past 20 years, a combination of warmer winters, rising sea levels, decreased ice thickness and coverage, and the slow geological sinking of the islands have significantly increased erosion of the archipelago’s famous red sandstone cliffs and threatened numerous homes and infrastructure including roads.

Guglielmo explains his concerns about the future of this archipelago to Joan. There is no fearmongering discourse but he does express concern as he witnesses the loss of land on a yearly basis, including the disappearance of a biking trail near a cliff as a result of erosion. He also shares his view on the archipelago’s land management vision and whether or not it’s tough enough.

Later in the interview, Joan and Guglielmo realize that they both have spent time in Africa. The conversation then drifts towards the global challenge of climate refugees, as island nations such as the Mauritius Islands in the Indian Ocean begin to experience an exodus of citizens towards mainland countries. Joan asks Guglielmo if there are any similarities between the Magdalen Islands and the Mauritius Islands? While many scientists believe the Mauritius Islands may be one of the first island nations to disappear because of rising sea levels, Guglielmo is not worried that this would happen any time soon in the Magadalen Islands. However, they discussed the possibility of increased migration and displacement towards Quebec and the rest of Canada as more and more people from more vulnerable countries will be forced to seek refuge in other countries as a result of climate change in the coming decades. We hope to bring you some of that conversation in our film.
Mags_Tita_interview 01

Take care and share this blog, let’s get people talking/caring about climate change in eastern Quebec and everywhere….

Let the Count Down Begin!

It’s officially labour day  – a gentle reminder that summer is over and fall is just around the corner.

For those in the Rimouski area, many of you have seen Joan at the local market selling garlic – another passion for this climate change photographer – it’s all related, as she explains in our film.

IMG_0491 IMG_0490

Summer has been plagued with hard work, spectacular sunsets, technical challenges, back woes….but wow are we proud of what we’re cooking up!

Martin Charron Editor/Camera

Martin Charron Editor/Camera

Joan Sullivan - director of photography ...and still always passionate!

Joan Sullivan – director of photography …and still always passionate!

Susan Woodfine writer/director

Susan Woodfine writer/director

No labour shortage here – September/October will be intense as we prepare our footage to bring Living on the Edge to the big screen.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be uploading photos and feature profiles of participants.

We wrapped up our crowd-source funding campaign but continue to look for partners/sponsors so help us keep the buzz alive and feel free to share our links!

Thank you Indiegogo

We just wrapped up our crowd-source funding. Once again, we learned lots and a huge thank you to all…from the $10 dollar donation all the way up to a generous $1000 donation.

We’re happy to report that we raised two thirds of our objective.

Screen Shot 2013-07-15 at 8.54.13 AM

We are still on the hunt for donations and sponsors so feel free to visit our DONATE page. Just as we put the crowd-source funding to rest last week (expiry date), we received two generous sponsorship donations from FEMMESSOR and CERMIM. We’ll keep you posted about other developments as they unfold and to let you know that Joan and I are hard at work!!

We continue to be excited about this film project especially because of the kind words and support from friends and new encounters along the way.

À suivre

Artists and Climate Change

climate change art artists Chantal Bilodeau Joan Sullivan

Chantal Bilodeau, New York-based playwright and translator originally from Montréal, and author of the blog Artists and Climate Change, has just posted this insightful interview with Joan, which explains the inspiration for our Living on the Edge documentary film project:

http://artistsandclimatechange.com/2013/06/29/joan-sullivan-living-on-the-edge/