The following article was written by Robert McTavish as part of a series of articles about filmmakers coming to the Salt Spring Film Festival on March 6-8, 2015. Filmmaker Suzanne Crocker will be attending the festival and lead a discussion about the film. The filmmaker series is sponsored by Harbour House.
It wasn't supposed to be a film at all. But when Suzanne Crocker told friends and relatives down south what she was planning - a nine month sojourn with her husband and three young children deep into the wilderness beyond her Dawson City home - they were incredulous. In the bush her family had the chance to unplug and reconnect. Her Yukon neighbours said "way to go!" The southern city folk said "Film it!"
Thank the documentary gods that she did, because the end result, All The Time
In The World has met with standing ovations, festival awards, and countless fans such as David Suzuki grateful for the experiment. "As a filmmaker your goal is to be entertaining but also to speak to people," says Crocker, and people are certainly hungry for what her film has to say. Now it makes its way to the Salt Spring Film Festival along with it's first-time feature filmmaker in tow.
To spend a Yukon winter in a small cabin accessible only by the soon-to-be-frozen river, Crocker, husband Gerard, and their three children, ages 10, 8 and 4 left jobs and school behind for no electricity, running water, phones, internet, or even clocks or watches. There was extreme cold, danger, and many a critter, but this "bush tale" was less about survival than family dynamics.
It was them, the land, and each other - plus a cache of mom's camera equipment. Crocker shot everything herself, 500 hours worth, then took three years editing to whittle it down to size. Why so much footage? This is vérité documentary at it's best - think professional home movies - and Crocker shot as much as she could because "it's not like you have a situation where you know how it's going to go."
How well it went surprised even the trip's planner, as the family bonded in countless adorable and indelible moments. "The best part of ourselves came out" Crocker admits, and credits being well-rested and stress-free for their abundance of creativity and laughter. There is no cutting room floor with anxious outtakes, for mom admits that for any minor grumpiness the kids would say "go for a ski! And a relaxed person returns in tune with the natural world."
As for the artificial world, Crocker says "despite all the modern conveniences at home, you end up losing time to them." And her suspicion turned out true: in the bush that world simply faded away. The grand irony of removing a lack of time from the domestic equation? "You think all your time, more than usual, will be taken up with chores. But then, they don't feel like chores."
Back in Dawson City Suzanne Crocker is still not wearing a watch, but there have been mixed results in trying to hold on to the lessons of the bush. As the reliance on technology creeps back into their lives, the Crocker family now use the trip as a touchstone to bring them back to the insights of the family that "took" time in nature for each other and themselves - time well spent.
While it may not be feasible for many of us - even on Salt Spring - to simply pack up and head out, Crocker and her marvellous film have some advice. "For so many people the idea is an innate desire or dream," she says, but we can make time for "the things that really matter most to you, whatever the real priorities are."
With All The Time In The World to promote all across North America, mom too is now away from home following a set schedule of screenings - Salt Spring Film Festival included - that she needs to be at. "That," she admits, "is an irony not lost on my kids."