A Vancouver filmmaker has tapped the talents of 24 filmmakers from across Canada to help raise funds for front line health workers in the just-released Heartbeat of the Nation.
Director Ross Allen oversaw the making of the 80 second film that captures the nightly cheering for healthcare workers that happen on Canadian balconies. St. Paul's Hospital and the clattering pots and pans of Vancouver highrises play a prominent role.
Here's how Allen described his role today in the announcement:
The only time I left my apartment for the entire shoot was to film healthcare workers at St Paul’s
Hospital. It was a special moment to be able to connect directly with some of the people we were
making this film for. We filmed (with permission and press officers onsite) outside of the building
as the healthcare workers were finishing their shifts. We maintained physical distancing rules by
using a long lens to get the tight shots.
Everyone involved in the project volunteered their time, skills, and equipment.
Shots come all the way from Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Winnipeg, and Calgary. Film artists were assigned to capture the eerily empty streets of their respective cities, and then the wild cheering, clapping, and pot-banging that happens at 7 p.m. The footage was collected over the course of a single week, adhering to social-distancing guidelines. Cinematographer Mitchell Baxter also shot some of the footage in this city.
Heartbeat of the Nation was made in partnership with CanadaHelps and Gore Mutual to draw attention to their COVID-19 Healthcare & Hospital Fund. Gore is matching donated funds up to one million dollars. This fund supports around 90 healthcare initiatives related to COVID across the country. Here's how Allen describes his inspiration for the project:
As a film director, stuck at home, I felt a bit helpless as to what I could offer to help in this crisis. I
had such an immense gratitude towards the healthcare workers who put their lives on the line
each and every day but what could I do to help? The only thing was to stay home and continue to
say thank you at 7:00pm. But I wanted to do more. I wanted the ‘thank you’ to extend beyond
7:00pm and my tiny balcony.