Welcome, visitor!   Register   Login


Post an Ad
Menu Post an Ad

2016 Film Festival: Debris

    Film Festival, Food & Entertainment, People & Places    March 1, 2016

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 4-6, 2016. Filmmaker John Bolton will be attending the festival and leading a discussion about the film following the screening. The Filmmaker series is sponsored by Stonehouse Bed and Breakfast.

Debris

It’s not every coastal dweller who keeps an organized library of flotsam and jetsam. But over the years Tofino parks worker Pete Clarkson has seen alot come in and tucked it away for use in his often fun and irreverent artwork. Then, near the end of 2011, something new began washing up on shore. It was debris, and it had crossed the Pacific ocean from the Tōhoku area of Japan, where in March of that year, a 9.0 earthquake and the resulting tsunami killed thousands of people and displaced hundreds of thousands. When Clarkson mentioned the estimated 1.5 million tonnes of incoming marine debris in a talk at the Vancouver Aquarium in 2013, filmmaker John Bolton immediately felt more than the pull of an interesting coastal issue. Images of his next film began to wash over him.

That short film now heads to the Salt Spring Film Festival. Debris is a twist on what Bolton calls “an artist profile or process documentary – where the work of creating is the story.” At just under fifteen minutes long, the documentary takes viewers on a concentrated emotional journey with self-proclaimed “intertidal artist” Clarkson and his harvested materials, all the while bearing in mind the devastation incurred at the time and place this Japanese debris was set afloat. The result is Clarkson’s memorial to the 2011 Great East Japan earthquake and tsunami, and Bolton’s cinematic tone poem to the shared anxiety of potential disaster.

Bolton discovered quickly that one doesn’t need to invoke Japan to feel the stressful undertow of vulnerability on Vancouver Island’s west coast. “I’d never been to Tofino,” he says, “but the first thing you notice is the Tsunami Hazard Zone signs.” As both writer and director, the Vancouverite found his focus ebbing from the ingenuity and power of the artistic process to the all too human fears and hopes that lay under the surface of such work. Being in Clarkson’s community and meeting the people, he realized the fundamental connection the artist was exploring: “After all, if a tsunami hit Tofino, it is not inconceivable that the wreckage from that would not simply go the other way.”

Of course the wreckage, this debris, is where the connection begins. “A big focus for us was the house timbers,” says Bolton, referring to the sturdy beams that were snapped and sucked away by the waves. “These were once people’s homes, where their families lived.” To further his point, in the film Bolton isolates a wooden tabletop found by Clarkson, eerily similar to the one his son made that anchors the artist’s own waterfront dwelling – “the heart of his home. Yes, he’s part of the Pacific rim and of the world,” Bolton says, “but we also see him as a husband and father. It’s his perspective.”

A director certainly provides perspective as well, and Bolton utilizes a unique soundscape of ocean sound and ambient music to chart the eternal tensions where land and water meet. The scenery is gorgeous, as most islanders know, and the sunny sky while touring Clarkson’s studio fits the impish and delightful pop art aspect of his works. Yet the crew lingered long enough to sample all types of west coast weather, including a fitting stormy last day on location filming Clarkson’s final touches on the Tohoku-dedicated public sculpture he calls “Swept Away.”

Where the film goes now is still in planning, as it’s premiere at Vancouver’s Festival earlier this year has raised considerable interest as well as an outpouring of emotion. Though hard at work on several new projects, Bolton’s personal hope is to take it to Japan in the near future. For now, he’s happy to bring and discuss the film at the Salt Spring Film Festival in tribute to the resonance of art in the wake of the worst earthquake in Japanese history, but moreso to echo Clarkson’s own words: “in memory to those affected” on every coast of the Pacific.

Comments May Not Be Seen by the Author

No Tags

  

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Community News

  • Salt Spring National Art Prize Announces...

    by on July 18, 2019

    Five Salt Spring artists have been named as finalists for the Salt Spring National Art Prize (SSNAP). They are among the fifty or so artists from across Canada to have their work eligible to win one of nine awards, six selected by jurors and three selected by public vote. Local artists are also in the […]

  • Notice to Bus Riders – Detours on ...

    by on July 18, 2019

    Effective July 22 to August 30, 2019 – Please be advised that Walker’s Hook Road will be closed for repairs between Fort Street and Hedger Road beginning July 22 until August 30, 2019. This closure will be in effect 24 hours a day during these dates. During this time period please note that routes 5 Fernwood and 6 […]

  • Podcast: The Tiny Home on Wheel’s ...

    by on July 8, 2019

    I’m on the Salt Spring Gulf Island Community Radio interviewing people near and far who are making good news on the planet by helping to shift the outcome of our future. These people and companies have created solutions to local and global issues we’re facing at the moment. Sharing the good news that’s happening on […]

  • Carrot Day

    by on July 5, 2019

    It is time for my annual reminder to sow lots of carrots for winter harvests in the next week or two. For me, July 1 is always Carrot Day as well as Canada Day (US readers: think 4th of July). As long as you sow before July 10, your carrots should have time to grow […]

  • Minister Seeking Input on Private Manage...

    by on July 3, 2019

    Minister wants your input on future of British Columbia forests – On May 28, 2019, the provincial government announced a review of the Private Managed Forest Land Program. They have invited British Columbians to add your voice to the program review. The province is accepting public comments until July 22, 2019. Over the past few […]

  • 2019 Eco Living and Home Tour: Ideas, In...

    by on July 3, 2019

    Headlines announcing biodiversity collapse and climate catastrophe can feel paralyzing. Even the most committed environmentalists may not know where to turn for solid information on the kinds of innovative — and dramatic — lifestyle changes that experts say will be need to weather the coming changes. Salt Spring’s Eco Living and Home Tour highlights what […]

  • BC’s Rural Islands Launch Economic Forum...

    by on June 27, 2019

    For the first time BC’s rural islands have launched an initiative to cultivate rural island economic partnerships. The Rural Islands Economic Forum (RIEF), a two day event, will bring together leaders from rural island communities to focus on advancing local and regional, sustainable, economic capacity building. The Forum gets underway on Pender Island on November 7 […]

  • Survey: Should British Columbia Adopt Ye...

    by on June 24, 2019

    British Columbians are invited to share their views on how we should observe time in our province. Most areas of B.C. currently “spring forward” into Daylight Saving Time during summer months and “fall back” to Standard Time in the winter. The following choices are being considered: 1) B.C. continues the practice of changing our clocks […]

  • Podcast: Adam Olsen speaks with Raffi – ...

    by on June 20, 2019

    When I first thought of transitioning my weekly Public Circle LIVE! broadcasts from Facebook to a weekly podcast, I had it in my mind to invite Raffi as a guest. We have run into each other a few times now at the Salt Spring Island Saturday Market and I appreciate his forthright political commentary on Twitter. It all […]

  • Fire News: Chief’s Response Report – 201...

    by on June 20, 2019

    Vision: A responsive and sustainable fire-rescue service, effectively meeting community needs and valued by those we serve. Mission: Always learning, engaging and adapting to be response ready. Response Report Salt Spring Island Firefighters responded to 61 calls for assistance in May.  (Calls to Date:  291) Operations To be proactive regarding wildfire prevention a recommendation was […]

  • Salt Spring Foundation Announces 2019 Ne...

    by on June 18, 2019

    The Salt Spring Island Foundation, in partnership with Salt Spring Island Community Services, is pleased to announce the recipients of our 2019 Neighbourhood Small Grants. The Neighbourhood Small Grants program offers grants of $50 to $500 to support projects that bring people together, share skills and knowledge, build a sense of community belonging and responsibility, […]

Pin It on Pinterest