This film was commissioned by The Stanley Park Ecology Society to document the first part of their Creative Upcycling Project in Stanley Park, in Vancouver, Canada. Biologist Erica Forssman, shows volunteers how to remove invasive plants, such as Himalayan Blackberry and English Ivy from Blowdown sites, where sunlight has given these plants an advantage over native species. Environmental Artist, Sharon Kallis then helps to repurpose the removed material, that would otherwise be considered waste. With help from SPES Stewardship Coordinator, Sam Cousins, volunteers weave blackberry wattle fences and install ivy Bio-netting to restore the eroded banks of North Creek, an environmentally sensitive site in the park.
The Storyhive Short Film Competition is in its final week. Thirty winners are given 10,000 dollars to complete their films. Please support my project “Mr Fire-man Builds a Horn Orchestra out of Wood.” You can vote once a day for the next week at: http://www.storyhive.com/project/show/id/907
Synopsis: David Gowman, aka Mr Fire-man, is the creator of “The Legion of Flying Monkeys Horn Orchestra.” Equal parts arborist, musician, craftsman, and agent-provocateur, his songs mirthfully take the piss out of consumerism, conformity and religion with hits like Aliens, Too Much Pie, and Zombies, played in clubs, festivals and community gardens of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. He sustainably harvests a local Paulownia tree and other renewable crops to build his eccentric instruments. With his artwork, concerts and workshops, he activates both friends and community in ways that are thoughtful, provocative, and life-affirming. This is a story of one man who has turned away from mass-culture and consumption, and has built his own life in a sustainable way, enriching the local environment around him.
Here is a new short film I made about a community bee project.
BUZZSCAPING: BUILDING A POLLINATOR HOUSE IN STRATHCONA is a collaboration between eartHand Gleaners Society and The Environmental Youth Alliance. Funded by Artstarts in Schools and Vancouver Park Board’s Neighbourhood Matching Fund, the project brought together artists, bee experts, local volunteers, and students from Lord Strathcona School to creat a Pollinator House for local bees.
Here’s a short film I made for environmental artist Nicole Dextras. Actress Nita Bowerman passionately portrays Rosa Styles, wearing one of Nicole’s “Weedrobes”. Makeup by April Beer, Music By Kevin MacLeod.
Here is a film I just completed that documents CONCERT, the second part of CONTOUR, a year-long installation at SUN YAT SEN PARK in Vancouver by the ART IS LAND NETWORK. The three artists involved are Fae Logie, Shirley Wiebe and Tiki Mulvihill.
My short film “Joined by Thread” will play at GREENTOPIA, a film festival in Rochester New York, on March 20, 2015.
“Greentopia | FILM is a collection of films that inspires and transforms, and ultimately empowers the audience to create sustainable changes in their own lives and communities. Local and global, online and in communities around the world, Greentopia | FILM represents the work of a diverse group of independent filmmakers that will initiate conversation on the most important topics of the day. The 2015 edition of the festival will feature five days (March 17-21) of primarily non-fiction films – each film kicked off by lively buskers and other artistic performances and followed by engaging, challenging, and stimulating panel discussions.”
This short film follows a group of women who work together to create a wedding dress from two older dresses. Ashleigh, the bride to be, her mother Lynda and her future mother-in-law Rose, meet with environmental artist Sharon Kallis, who helps them to see the beauty in reclaimed fabric, the history imbedded in our clothing, and to avoid the crass and wasteful “Wedding Industry” that promotes an unsustainable, consumer lifestyle.
I was fortunate to have another opportunity to work with my friend and frequent collaborator Sharon Kallis, in a realm I had little knowledge of: weddings, and in particular, the wedding dress. In much of contemporary western culture, the wedding ritual has become commercialized to the point that meaning has been stripped away from many of the most beautiful moments and replaced with a pumped-up orgy of expense, competition, and waste. In this case, the humble act of sewing, and the sharing of family history through fabric, reveals a richness that has no price tag.
It was a challenge and an invaluable learning experience to shoot solo in a very confined space where events unfolded quickly and unexpectedly. I am in debt to all of the participants who were so generous and open in sharing a very intimate and emotional moment on camera.
Over the past year I have been commissioned to produced several short films documenting the activities of local ecologically minded art collectives. At present, I am working on another group of similar shorts, all with the purpose to highlight the small, but significant activities of grass-roots, community based artists, particularly those that work outside the consumer/gallery model of western art. Most recently, I completed the first of three films that document the CONDUIT project, by the ART IS LAND NETWORK, an artist collective “whose shared connection is the use of natural and repurposed material to engage with the landscape.” The year long project at the DR. SUN YAT SEN PARK in Vancouver, involves three separate groups of artists, working with the public in different ways within this stunning urban park. The first component is called CONTOUR.
Another project that I covered in the past year stems from my previous involvement with URBAN WEAVER, a group formed by Sharon Kallis and Todd DeVries, working out of the McLean Park Field House in East Vancouver. YEAR TWO follows the many projects that the group undertook, including growing and processing flax into linen, traditional Haida cedar weaving, and erosion control methods using culled invasive plant material.
A YEAR AT ABERTHAU follows three artists in a community based project entitled FLAX = FOOD + FIBRE. Artists Caitlin ffrench, Mirae Rosner and Sharon Kallis held numerous public workshops that focused on the growing, processing and spinning of flax, and the ways that this ancient practice spill over into other art forms, including weaving, dance, music, and earth sculpture.
These projects embody a contemporary trend in the arts that highlights local landscapes, skills, and history over the monolithic forces of consumer culture, the international art scene and mainstream media-based culture. Participating in communal, hand-based art forms can be an awakening to another way of living and seeing the world.
Posted in Film
Tagged community art, community dance, documentary film, earth art, ecological art, environmental, flax, invasive species, linen, sustainability, urban farming, Vancouver, weaving