2016 Film Festival: For Our Daughters

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 Daniel Pierce 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. For Our Daughters The long dusty road to northern Ghana was a good thing for Daniel Pierce. The SFU grad had recently directed his first documentary, about Vancouver's famed "Hollow Tree" in Stanley Park, and had signed on to do sound and production work for a documentary about four teenaged Ghanaian women about to embark on a Canadian speaking tour. But just before the flight to western Africa, the director bowed out. Now Pierce and the associated charity's founder, Shannen O'Brian, were to be co-directors. The slow-going drive offered lots of time to talk it out and Pierce was, as good documentary demands, adaptable: "I gues…
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2016 Film Festival: Sea Blind

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 Sarah Robertson and editor Jennifer Abbott will be attending the festival and leading a discussion about the film following the screening. Sea Blind When filmmaker Sarah Robertson began work on a wide-ranging project dealing with the future of the Arctic, she quickly realized her first sub-topic was just the tip of its own iceberg. All of a sudden she was racing to make a different film, about pollution issues in global shipping, and to finish in time to screen at the recent UN Climate Change Conference in Paris. "Some people deep in the emissions talks didn't even know about the issues!" she says, while the industry's huge fleet and increasing impact on the north make it a crisis hiding in plain sight. Sea Blind is the resulting documentary, and it's message is unforgettable. More than 100,00…
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2016 Film Festival Program and Schedule

The Salt Spring Film Festival Society is a non-profit charitable society incorporated in 2008, whose mission is to educate, inspire and activate our community through a Festival of independent documentary film from Canada and around the world. We present films that explore social justice, the environment, art and culture, politics and food security. Filmmakers are invited to the Festival to present their films and lead lively discussions. The 17th annual Salt Spring Film Festival will take place March 4th-6th, at GISS (Gulf Islands Secondary School). Check out the program guide and schedule below.
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Salt Spring Photos of the Week

Salt Spring Island and the people of our community are very photogenic. Here are some of the best photos of the week from our Facebook and Instagram accounts taken on and around Salt Spring Island.

Morning commute from #saltspring to #YVR with @bcferries in the distance.

A photo posted by Salt Spring (@saltspring) on Feb 16, 2016 at 12:19pm PST

Daffodils reaching for the sun. #saltspring #saltspringisland

A photo posted by S…

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Salt Spring Reads: Ganbaru

Salt Spring Reads is an online book club/review. For this column I try to find books that you might love to discover, books with a Salt Spring connection. Reviewed books are available at the Salt Spring Library and in local bookstores. Feel free to share your comments to discuss this book with others. Ganbaru, the Murakami Family of Salt Spring Island by Rose Murakami This small booklet might only be 40 pages long, but it tells a big story, an important part of our island’s history. Author Rose Murakami traces her family’s history and shows its ties to the community. This is the story of how Japanese-Canadians were among the first non-native settlers to Salt Spring. Hard work and dedication enabled them to be successful settlers and farmers, producing some of the finest tomato crops anywhere. They also grew asparagus and ran chicken and berry farms on what is now the edge of Ganges, produce that was readily bought by mainland and Vancouver Island stores. However, …
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2016 Salt Spring Film Festival: Elder in the Making

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 Chris Hsiung and film subject Cowboy Smithx will be attending the festival and leading a discussion about the film. Elder in the Making Filmmaker Chris Hsiung walked away from a career as a successful software engineer seeking a deeper connection with the world around him. He soon found that, for him, film became one way to make that connection, and the camera "was an interesting tool to share stories people can't experience on their own." But when he finished his first feature documentary, about a consciousness-raising road trip with a young Blackfoot "elder in the making," would the experience translate on screen? Hsiung's parents, emigrants from Taiwan, supplied his answer. As cultural newcomers to urban Alberta, they had no previous contact with the rural indigenous peoples and were now thr…
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First Peoples’ Cultural Council Announce Artists For Salish Class Vessels

BC Ferries, in partnership with the First Peoples’ Cultural Council, has selected three Coast Salish artists to create designs for the new Salish Class vessels. The artists being commissioned to produce artwork for the new ships are Darlene Gait from Esquimalt Nation for the Salish Orca, John Marston from Stz'uminus for the Salish Eagle, and Thomas Cannell from Musqueam for the Salish Raven. The vessels are named to recognize the Coast Salish as the original mariners of the Salish Sea. A call for artists was issued by the First Peoples’ Cultural Council last August, and Coast Salish artists were invited to submit their portfolios for consideration. From 37 expressions of interest, a jury of artist peers and BC Ferries representatives identified a shortlist of nine artists. Their decisions were based on artistic excellence, Coast Salish artistic style, ability to express the vessel names through artwork, ability to provide digital images for fabrication and ability to meet th…
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Salt Spring Reads: A Castle on the Frontier

Salt Spring Reads is an online book club/review. For this column I try to find books that you might love to discover, books with a Salt Spring connection. Reviewed books are available at the Salt Spring Library and in local bookstores. Feel free to share your comments to discuss this book with others. A Castle on the Frontier, an immigrant's life journey from Holland to the Yukon, 1921-1987 I have heard it said that, after English, Dutch is the most spoken language on Salt Spring Island. I know there are quite a few Dutch immigrants on the rock and many of them have interesting stories to tell. None more so then Dutch-born John Lammers who immigrated to Canada in 1948. He was born in 1921. Encouraged by people who listened to many of his exciting and interesting stories, John was finally persuaded to write down his memoirs. “Are the lifetime experiences of an ordinary individual worth writing about?” he wonders in the preface to his book A Castle on the Frontier. Bu…
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Witnessing Prav

On Wednesday Nov. 4, Prav Pillay held a reception for his first new exhibit in seven years. His show, titled "Witness" opened in the back room of the artist-run Salt Spring Gallery. First impressions are important, but they can also lead us astray if left unexamined. My first impressions on entering the exhibit for its opening was that this show was stark, uninviting, unfinished. That impression was reinforced by the strong contrast between the aesthetics of Prav's show and the warmth, colour and friendly chaos of styles, media, and expression so typical of the offerings in the rest of the gallery. And then it struck me that there was something very interesting going on here. Something that is hinted at in the title but that we, as viewers must work at to decipher, to actively engage with before it reveals its secrets (unless, of course, you cheated and read the artist statement before engaging with the show). Ostensibly, the show consists of 19 very intimate portraits…
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Salt Spring Reads: Irish Country Books by Patrick Taylor

Patrick Taylor is probably an author who does not need any introduction to his New York Times’ bestseller novels. But I have become totally addicted to the Irish Country books by this popular author who lives on Salt Spring Island. He has written many other titles, but the series that takes the reader to 1960’s Ireland is magical. Taylor is a superb storyteller and paints the perfect picture of a small rural village and its eclectic inhabitants. There’s a spinster shopkeeper, a burly bartender, a generous Marquis, an untrustworthy politician and many others who come to live within the many pages of the books. But the main characters are Dr. Fingal Flaherty O’Reilly, the established village MD and his new assistant Dr. Barry Laverty. Their housekeeper Mrs. Kincaid serves them traditional Irish dishes, the recipes for which are given in the back of the books. The cat, the dog, the horses - the entire Irish countryside comes to live in these pages. Taylor even supplements the f…
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Salt Spring Reads - The Case of the Missing Moonstone

Salt Spring Reads is an online book club/review. For this column I try to find books that you might love to discover, books with a Salt Spring connection. Reviewed books are available at the Salt Spring Library and in local bookstores. Feel free to share your comments to discuss this book with others. The Case of the Missing Moonstone (The Wollstonecraft Detective Agency, Book 1) by Jordan Stratford In 2012, Salt Spring Islander Jordan Stratford started a Kickstarter campaign to raise money for, and gage interest in, his first novel. The story would be about two girls running a detective agency. One of his main characters was to be Lady Ada Byron, age 11. The other was Mary Godwin, age 14. The story takes place in London, England in 1826. But there was more to the story than that. Both girls are ‘real’ - Ada Lovelace is considered the world’s first computer programmer and Mary Shelley became the author of Frankenstein. Jordan Stratford took liberties with the charact…
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Salt Spring Reads - Trauma Farm

Salt Spring Reads is an online book club/review. For this column I try to find books that you might love to discover, books with a Salt Spring connection. Reviewed books are available at the Salt Spring Library and in local bookstores. Feel free to share your comments. Trauma Farm by Brian Brett - Trauma Farm was a 2009 book of the year in the Times Literary Supplement and the Globe & Mail, and winner of Writers’ Trust Canadian Non-Fiction Prize. For this issue of SSI Reads, I chose a book by Salt Spring author Brian Brett. I had met Brian a few times but hadn’t read this title. When it won the Writers’ Trust award as one of the best books in Canada, I was curious to read it. I was happily surprised when it turned out not to be a heavy, literary read but rather a wonderfully engaging, humourous account of life on a small farm on our island. The appropriate sub title of this book is ‘A Rebel History of Rural Life’. Brett takes the reader along on a 24 hour journey that …
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New 'Moon Snail' Bus Shelter Installed

The CRD Salt Spring Transportation Commission (SSITC) approved the bus shelter design for the bus pullout on the South side of Lower Ganges Road. The selected design was from local artist Matt Brain has been built and installed. Check out the photos. The design focuses on the moon snail shell, and the organic spiral design also echoes shapes of the island’s natural beauty. The wooden bench in the design evokes driftwood, and the corrugated metal roof is a nod to Salt Spring’s agricultural heritage. A local artist, carpenter, fabricator, and metal smith, Matt has worked on projects ranging from museums and exhibit spaces to public art and sculpture. The rough footprint of the selected design is 9 feet by 4.5 feet, the height to be just over 8.5 feet. The wood truss is a custom shape to be laminated out of fir strips. The metal roof has a one foot overhang all around and is graded to shed rain water to the back of the shelter.
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Salt Spring Reads - The Water in Between, A Journey At Sea

Salt Spring Reads is an online book club/review. For this column I try to find books that you might love to discover, books with a Salt Spring connection. Reviewed books are available at the Salt Spring Library and in local bookstores. Feel free to share your comments. The Water in Between, A Journey At Sea - by Kevin Patterson. Published by Random House Canada, this is a thick volume and an engaging read. Whether you are an armchair traveler or an avid sailor, the story of how Kevin Patterson set off to find islands in the South Pacific, and himself, is a good one. Disillusioned with life as an army doctor on the prairies, and a love life that left much to be desired, he bought a sail boat and decided to sail to Tahiti. He brought along plenty of books, and a mate who had slightly more experience on a boat than he did. Together they faced storms and endless days of no wind. They explored remote atolls and met sailors from around the world. I enjoyed the tales of li…
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Tamar Griggs: Faces of Salt Spring - Ganges Montage

For over 20 years Tamar has been photographing her island community, passionately drawn to the people, events and changes in our villages. Through her camera she has documented the fleeting moments in our lives and ultimately recorded history. Over 400 islanders are in this show, and if you are not in it, you are bound to know someone. There also will be a collection of stories by islanders, so you can get a glimpse of the people behind the images. People have passed on, children have grown up, and some of us are getting white hair! We are an eclectic, passionate group of people living on a glorious island we call home. Come and see what we have been up to these past 20 years. You will be delighted and entertained. It will inspire your own stories. You're invited! - A celebration of community - Tamar Griggs Photo Exhibit: Faces of Salt Spring - Opening Party, Sunday April 26, 2015 from 6 - 8 pm at ArtSpring. Donations gladly received at the door. Show runs from April 2…
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Film Festival 2015: The Price We Pay

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 Harold Crooks will be attending the festival and lead a discussion about the film. The filmmaker series is sponsored by Harbour House. _________________________________ The Price We Pay At first glance, it seems an unusual career path. Harold Crooks went from McGill University to a fellowship at the Delhi School of Economics before making the jump to the London Film School. In Delhi he studied under the then-head of the Planning Board of India, a mentor with decidedly socialist leanings. But, says Crooks, “it dawned on me that that was not the direction the world was heading in. So I thought I would be more useful in documentary.” That path now makes perfect sense, with his subsequent cinematic output making a strong case for filmmakers steeped in other disciplines. As a producer, writer and dire…
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Film Festival 2015: Coastal Tarsands: Journey to Deleted Islands

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 Dennis Allen will be attending the festival and lead a discussion about the film. The filmmaker series is sponsored by Harbour House. ----------------------------- Coastal Tarsands: Journey to Deleted Islands Filmmaker Richard Boyce could have made a documentary about the dubious geographical claims of the Enbridge Corporation without paddling his own kayak in from BC’s northwest coast towards the port of Kitimat. “All the films dear to my heart came from first-hand accounts,” he says, pointing out that this way he could meet the locals and experience the actual natural environments that face the pending onslaught of oil supertankers. “My passion really awakened,” he continues, “I mean, I knew there were whales out there, but it’s different having one bump into my kayak. Being there made it much more…
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Film Festival 2015: The Pristine Coast

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 Dennis Allen will be attending the festival and lead a discussion about the film. The filmmaker series is sponsored by Harbour House. ----------------------------- The Pristine Coast Scott Renyard trained as a scientist before becoming a filmmaker, and it’s evident in the thorough nature of his new documentary. Yet combing through the complex layers of the fish farming industry he acts the detective as well, revealing a dark undercurrent off British Columbia’s so-called “pristine” coast. The shocking results made him worry: “Are the conclusions I’m drawing correct?” Cue the years connecting the dots between countless research papers and government documents, because he soon found “every time I thought it was over, I would find something new.” It all began modestly enough while fishing on the Ved…
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Salt Spring Film Festival Guide and Schedule

The 16th Salt Spring Film Festival - March 6 - 8, 2015 (presented by Country Grocer) Welcome to your annual film festival feast! After many months of the selection process, the 16th Salt Spring Film Festival is ready to showcase the best of international and Canadian documentary films. From the Yukon wilderness to the slums of Mumbai. From a whistleblower holed up in Hong Kong to a teenager on a solo round-the-world voyage. From Indonesian street musicians to Canadian politicians fighting for their dignity. Let the Salt Spring Film Festival bring the world - and more - to your doorstep. Program Guide Program Schedule
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Film Festival 2015: Crazywater

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 Dennis Allen will be attending the festival and lead a discussion about the film. The filmmaker series is sponsored by Harbour House. ----------------------------- Crazywater How do you get people to open up about the most difficult times in their lives? When filmmaker Dennis Allen first pitched the National Film Board for a documentary inspired by Mohawk writer Brian Maracle's 1993 book Crazywater: Native Voices on Addiction and Recovery, it had already been difficult for him to find people willing to talk about such painfully personal issues. Then, just when he was ready to film the interviews the cold feet began and “all of a sudden people started dropping like flies." His own alcoholic past had drawn him to the project in the first place, and he now realized what he had to do. "If I committed to …
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Film Festival 2015: All The Time In The World

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 go…
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