If you've ever witnessed Pacific salmon spawning in one of the Lower Mainland's many local creeks and rivers, you'll know how mesmerizing it can be.
It's the same way Vancouver director Nettie Wild felt when she was inspired to create her latest cinematic spectacle, Uninterrupted, while visiting the Adams River, a tributary of the Fraser and Thompson Rivers, during one of the largest recorded migrations in history in 2010.
Describing her experience to the Straight, Wild says what she saw in the river that day "ultimately changed her life":
"I was standing on the banks of the river, looking into pools of 100,000 fish, and they'd be in a pattern that was intricate and didn't repeat. It was incredible," Wild says.
"It was just this extraordinary sense to look down at something that was huge and beautiful that had been going on, uninterrupted, since time immemorial—and will continue to do so, if we don't mess it up, for years to come."
Among the patterns and colours, Wild saw a piece of "colossal, moving, modern art", and she immediately wondered how she might be able to bring the sense of the river to the heart of the city.
This summer, as part of Vancouver's celebration of Canada 150+, Wild's film will showcase the journey of the migrating Pacific salmon in a unique urban setting in Vancouver—the undercarriage of the Cambie Bridge—to create a cinematic work of public art that immerses viewers in one of nature's most fascinating events.
Wild says the location couldn't be more perfect: "The bridge spans over False Creek, which used to be choked with wild salmon. We get to bring the salmon back to False Creek. If the medium is the message, the bridge is our medium."
One part cinematic story and one part high-tech art installation, Uninterrupted required editors and technicians to digitally map projections of the original footage by cinematographer Athan Merrick and his collaborator Nicholas Teichrob, onto the underbelly of the bridge.
The projections are shown with a soundscape that combines audio from the Adams River landscape with an original score by Owen Belton.
Acclaimed director Wild worked with producing partner Betsy Carson (together the two have also produced KONELINE: our land beautiful and FIX: the Story of an Addicted City) and producer Rae Hull.
Editor Michael Brockington and creative technologist Anthony Diehl rounded out the specialists and artists who contributed to the project.
For Wild, connecting to the salmon life cycle made her look at B.C. in an entirely new way. She hopes that, by bringing her film to Vancouver, she'll trigger viewers to do the same.
"This will be an experience, not a science lecture. We're going to take people on a 25-minute ride, the likes of which they haven't been on before, and in a place that's very different," she says.
"This isn't a movie in a movie theatre; this is a public cinematic spectacle."
Screenings will take place at Coopers' Park at the north end of the Cambie Bridge, five nights a week from June 28 to September 24.
To read more about Uninterrupted, click here. Watch the promo teaser below.