Living on the Edge 2015

I am putting the Living on the Edge Film project to bed for 2015 with a feeling of true contentment – as well as a great sigh of relief. What a year it’s been!

My dream was to tell a heartfelt, human story about climate change and to get the film on the festival circuit. We succeeded in doing just that and the film hit a cord. The response continues to be phenomenal.

From community screenings in Rimouski and Metis-sur-Mer, our low-cost indie film made its way to festivals and special events in Toronto, Peterborough, Quebec City, Portneuf and across the Atlantic to beautiful Italy.

And I wasn’t done yet! As a former documentary journalist, I truly believed this story deserved a home on the CBC. Carrie Haber, a producer at CBC, agreed and last August, our film was broadcast on Absolutely Quebec. Thousands of viewers were introduced to a beautiful woman, Joan Sullivan, at her best. A gifted documentary photographer, Joan both embodied and explored the human story of climate change in eastern Quebec. Why did that story touch so many? Because it was not only her story, but also yours and mine. In the film, Joan talks about her privileged past, the comforts she left behind to pursue her work internationally, and the difficulties entailed by the major career shift she made at age 50. We feel her frustrations and struggles to make ends meet as a part-time garlic farmer and budding climate-change photographer. But Joan leaves us with a story of hope for the future. It is no wonder Joan and I both decided to dedicate this film to our children Anna, Charlotte and Jonas.

I will continue to provide occasional updates on this blog until March. We expect to have another screening in the Rivière-du-Loup area in February. If you would like to organize a screening, please feel free to contact me at

I leave you with a few pics (provided kindly by Nicolas Falcimaigne) of a screening in Quebec City earlier this month. Although we were pleased to see that many of the people in attendance were already convinced of the importance of our film’s message, we did encounter a handful of bitter skeptics. But we knocked ’em dead! (Or I should say, Joan took care of that with her customary strength and grace.)


Thanks for all your support and ongoing interest in LOTE throughout this past year. May this coming year bring each of us the renewed energy and commitment we all need to confront climate change. Wishing you a healthy climate in 2016 and beyond!

Susan Woodfine


Living on the Edge / Les Berges à la dérive

ReFrame International Film Festival

Joan just returned – very excited and inspired – from Peterborough, Ontario, where our film Living on the Edge was screened at the 11th ReFrame Peterborough International Film Festival. Our film was graciously sponsored by Alan and Linda Slavin, Transition Town Peterborough (TTP), Trent University Environmental and Resource Studies/Science (ERS), Unitarian Fellowship of Peterborough, Peterborough-Kawartha Federal NDP, and Sustainable Trent. Our film attracted an amazing crowd of about 250 people for the 10 am screening on a cold, wet Saturday morning.  Very impressive! ReFrame, film, festival, Peterborough, Ontario Here is another image of Joan on stage immediately after the screening, taking questions. ReFrame, film, festival, Peterborough, Ontario Later that same day, Joan joined two other filmmakers – Clarke Mackey and Sean Liliani – at the Bourbon Barrel Saloon for a panel discussion about filmmaking and activism, moderated by Aisha Jamal, a filmmaker, university instructor and ReFrame board member. ReFrame, film, festival, Peterborough, Ontario From what Joan tells me, ReFrame was “just great!” – great people, great films (Joan particularly loved “Finding Vivian Maier”), great food (she was in heaven with all the organic gluten-free vegan fare available!), great city, great logistics, great festival. I think that Joan is already thinking about returning next year to ReFrame!  Thanks, Krista English and your super staff and volunteers for all your support and encouragement! All photos by Anna Lemay.

Living on the Edge hits the festival circuit!

Susan and I are very proud that our first film — Living on the Edge — is getting some great exposure on the festival circuit.

After a heart-warming reception (of almost 250 people) here in our hometown of Rimouski for the pre-screening of Living on the Edge in early November, our doc traveled to Toronto for its world premier at the Planet In Focus film festival, Canada’s largest environmental film festival. We met some great people, made some new friends, watched some GREAT films, and learned so much about filmmaking! A highlight was being able to watch and learn from other filmmakers during their pitch sessions to industry experts. Kudos to Elizabeth Mudenyo and Alessandra Cannito for your endless energy, amazing organizational skills and for making us out-of-towners feel right at home.

Here is a photo during Planet In Focus at the end of our screening: Susan and me with April Weppler from Freshwater Future Canada (our co-presenter) and Michael John Long from the Institute for Research and Innovation in Sustainability (our moderator):

Left to right: Joan Sullivan, April Weppler, Susan Woodfine and Michael John Long at York University following the screening of Living on the Edge during Planet In Focus film festival, 8 November 2014

Left to right: Joan Sullivan, April Weppler, Susan Woodfine and Michael John Long at York University following the screening of Living on the Edge during Planet In Focus film festival, 8 November 2014

After Planet In Focus, Living on the Edge crossed the big pond in December for its first international screening at the Think Forward Film Festival in Venice, Italy. Although we could not be there in person, we found the following image on Twitter just before our film was screened on 13th December – looks like there were quite a few people in the audience!

In January, Living on the Edge returns to Canada to be screened at the ReFrame Film Festival in Peterborough, Ontario. Joan will participate in a filmmakers panel led by Aisha Jamal on Saturday, 25th January at the Bourbon Barrel Saloon (!) to discuss the important connections between filmmaking and activism along with two other filmmakers: Clarke Mackey and Sean Liliani.

In February, Living on the Edge returns to Rimouski for a screening at Paraloeil one week before the kickoff of  la semaine de l’environnement. Screening date is 12th February at 19h30.

And finally, Susan just received an enquiry from the Environmental Film Festival in Washington, D.C., to review our film for consideration in this very important environmental film festival in the US capital in March 2015.  We’re keeping our fingers crossed that Living on the Edge will be accepted to this great film festival, which this year will have a special focus on Climate Connections! And we’re looking at other festivals in Gaspé and Portneuf – à suivre!

We are humbled by this ground-swell of support and growing interest in our first documentary.  Since the beginning of this project, we continue to believe that the best way to communicate the urgency of climate change is to focus on the human perspective: stories about how climate change is already affecting people and their communities in their own backyards, right now, not in the future.

Avant-première à Rimouski – le 6 novembre

COMMUNIQUÉ DE PRESSE Pour publication immédiate Les Berges à la dérive en avant-première à Rimouski

Le premier film de la journaliste et documentaliste Susan Woodfine, Les Berges à la dérive, sera présenté en avant-première le jeudi 6 novembre, à 19 h, à la salle George-Beaulieu du cégep de Rimouski. Le coût d’entrée est de 5 $, alors que l’admission sera gratuite pour les étudiants (ou contribution volontaire). Le film Les Berges à la dérive aborde les changements climatiques sous l’angle humain. Le documentaire suit la quête d’une photographe passionnée, Joan Sullivan, qui cherche à savoir comment la population du littoral du Saint-Laurent est affectée par les changements climatiques depuis les grandes marées de décembre 2010.

SusanWoodfine JoanSullivan 


Deux jours après l’avant-première, soit le samedi 8 novembre, Les Berges à la dérive sera présenté en grande première mondiale dans le cadre du festival Planet In Focus de Toronto. Il sera alors en compétition pour le prix du « Meilleur Long Métrage canadien ». La réalisatrice Susan Woodfine et sa directrice de photo, Joan Sullivan, sur laquelle porte d’ailleurs le film, seront toutes deux dans la Ville-Reine pour assister à l’événement d’envergure mondiale. Planet In Focus est reconnu comme le plus important festival de films sur l’environnement au Canada.

Activité de Rimouski –La soirée d’avant-première de Rimouski promet d’être fort intéressante. En plus d’avoir le privilège d’être les premiers à assister à la projection des Berges à la dérive, les spectateurs auront également l’occasion d’assister à une passionnante table ronde à 20h, intitulée L’énergie renouvelable et la résilience dans l’Est du Québec : des solutions concrètes pour lutter contre les changements climatiques.


Animée par M. Bruno Saint-Pierre, cette activité réunira Joan Sullivan, photographe des énergies renouvelables, Denise Verreault, présidente et chef de la direction du Groupe maritime Verreault Inc., Chantale Lavoie, préfète de la MRC de la Matapédia, et Kim Cornelissen, consultante en développement régional et ressource de liaison avec les pays nordiques.

Cet événement est organisé en collaboration avec le Cégep de Rimouski, le Carrefour international bas-laurentien pour l’engagement social (CIBLES), le Poids vert de Rimouski-Neigette et les Verts solidaires.       Il est à noter que le film de Mme Woodfine sera projeté dans sa version originale anglaise, avec sous-titres français.

Pour plus d’information sur le film, communiquez avec Susan Woodfine à l’adresse ou au 418-732-7086

Pour plus de détails sur la table ronde, communiquez avec Kim Cornelissen à l’adresse ou au 514-792-3663.

SVP Partagez!





– 30 –

Drum roll please….

We have some lovely news for you today!

Living on the Edge has been accepted into Canada’s largest environmental film festival, Planet in Focus, within the category Best Canadian documentary.

We are over the moon! But wait, there’s more!

We finally have our official trailer. Actually we have two (both languages). Check them out!


Et pour nous ami(e)s francophones, voici la version avec les sous-titres en français


Joan and I will be traveling to Toronto from 07-09 November 2014 to participate in our first film festival ever – wow!! And yet, we both know deep in our hearts that without the poetry and magic of our brilliant film editor, Martin Charron, our film would have turned out very differently indeed. We also owe many thanks to our sound editor, Robin Servant, for his final sound edit.

And the good news doesn’t stop there: we are blessed to have two amazing women – Lucie Poirier and Kim Cornelissen – both powerhouses in their own unique ways, who have been absolutely instrumental in taking over the conception and logistics of launching the pre-screening of Living on the Edge right here in Rimouski.

These women came just in time because Joan and me are…..well…. we’re running out of energy (renewable of course, not the fossil kind)! Un gros merci à Lucie et Kim. Votre soutien est tellement apprécié!

Details about the pre-screening will be released next week.

But for now, please mark your calendars for Thursday, November 6th, at 19h in the Salle Georges Beaulieu, Cégep de Rimouski.

And in case you thought that we had forgotten about you: to all our friends living and working along the Gaspé Coast and on the Magdalen Islands, we are determined to take Living on the Edge back to the coastal communities profiled in the film. In order to do so, we are making one final appeal for donations to support this last phase of post-production: printing, distribution and promotion. If you haven’t already done so, please click on the Donate tab above to make a contribution, no matter how small, to help get the word out about climate change in eastern Québec.

Hope to see you all at the pre-screening in Rimouski on the 6th of November.



Just wanted to touch base with our devoted LOTE (Living On The Edge) believers.

The film is slowly but surely — and oh so poetically! — coming together. We’ve had a focus group screening and the response was an overwhelming, “WOW!”

Living on the Edge / Les berges à la dérive has been a true labour of love. We’re talking a tough labour of almost three years, Ouch!  But as I have mentioned in the past, climate change is an incredible motivator and a worthy cause. Heck, even the NHL is waking up to the threat of climate change.

So why am I sounding the alert? Well, because the sound edit is almost done! Yeah!  We’ve almost crossed the finish line…


IMG_4873 Photo by Marie-Neige Besner

We are tying up audio loose ends like stray background noise and fine-tuning our music with sound guru, Robin Servant.


Photo by Marie-Neige Besner

While many folks like to sleep on weekends, Joan, Robin and I have had a few early-Saturday-morning and weekend-evening sessions.


photo by Marie-Neige Besner

Robin is also doing the sound edit for our soon-to-be released trailer. I’ll be back next month with more details on your role. We want you to Share Share Share and help us in our last fundraising effort to ensure a strong showing on the festival and broadcast circuit. I’ll be posting more information a bit later. If you can’t wait, remember, we have a DONATE button on our blog. Until then, enjoy those extra-warm temperatures, even if it’s climate change at work.

Susan Woodfine, Producer/Director