Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival: Sacred Headwaters Evening screens documentaries about tar sands, pipeline, tankers, and rainforest
On the Line
A documentary by Frank Wolf. Unrated. Plays Wednesday, February 15, at the Centennial Theatre, North Vancouver, 7:30 p.m.
The Pipedreams Project
A documentary by Faroe Des Roches and Ryan Vandecasteyen. Unrated. Plays Wednesday, February 15, at the Centennial Theatre, North Vancouver, 7:30 p.m.
The 15th annual Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival is hosting what it calls a Sacred Headwaters Evening on Wednesday night (February 15) at the Centennial Theatre in North Vancouver.
The theme is, loosely, B.C.’s central coast, the Great Bear Rainforest, and what might happen to this unique and wildlife-rich coastal ecosystem and that of the Interior and the Coast and Rocky mountains if the Enbridge Corporation is allowed to build its 1,170-kilometre oil pipeline from Alberta’s tar sands to Kitimat on the B.C. coast.
The film On the Line (51 minutes) documents director Frank Wolf and Todd McGowan’s 2,400-kilometre expedition to follow the proposed route of the Enbridge pipeline in order to see for themselves the kind of landscapes it would traverse and put at risk.
The two start out on touring bikes in Fort McMurray, Alberta, and put them aside for boot leather when they hit Fort Saskatchewan in tar-sands country, where the pipeline would begin.
After hiking, bushwhacking, and camping their way into the Rocky Mountains and thence to Tumbler Ridge, they find the highway to hitchhike down to Prince George to do some publicity and pick up mountain bikes for unpaved logging roads and trails, hitting Fort St. James and Smithers and interviewing local residents and activists along the way.
A planned hike through the Coast Mountains down into Kitimat had to be scrapped when they got socked in by weather for days on end. Ultimately, they remounted their bikes to access the Kitimat River.
Once there, the two rode inflatables downriver to the ocean, where they kayaked out to Douglas Channel, down which will come the supertankers that are to transport the pipeline’s product to China.
There are some great scenes of natural beauty shown during the course of the duo’s 53-day, 2,355-kilometre adventure, which ended at Hartley Bay. And as the filmmakers demonstrate, there are a lot of vital, and vulnerable, waterways to be crossed by the pipeline on its way to the sea (773, all told).
The makers of the Pipedreams Project (25 minutes), codirectors and cowriters Faroe Des Roches and Ryan Vandecasteyen (along with fellow paddler Curtis White), kayaked for two months and 900 kilometres, from Kitimat to Vancouver, to witness and experience the vast sections of B.C.'s coast that will be threatened by oil tankers if the Northern Gateway Pipeline Project ever becomes a reality.
Whales, sea lions, seals, salmon, bears, and eagles are captured with their lenses as they kayak south on a mission to evaluate what parts of B.C. are potentially being put at risk by the bitumen corridor from Alberta and its tankers.
The films White Water Black Gold (54 minutes), about a three-year trip through Western Canada to uncover and record the effects of the tar sands, and Tipping Barrels (20 minutes), a hybrid surfing-and-environmental affair filmed in the Great Bear Rainforest, will also be shown the same evening. The experience will be hosted by filmmaker and adventurer Michael Reid of Pacific Wild.
Tickets for the evening at North Vancouver’s Centennial Theatre (2300 Lonsdale Avenue) are $18 online and $20 at the door. The program starts at 7:30 p.m.; doors open at 6:30 p.m. For more info, go to www.vimff.org/.