Winnipeg, it's not a tourist destination, you're here because you're here.
—Mike Latschislaw, filmmaker
For photographer Mike Latschislaw, the motivation was simple.
It started with a quote from author Richard Florida, who wrote Who's Your City: How the Creative Economy Is Making Where You Live the Most Important Decision of Your Life.
Scott Nolan and Joanna Miller (Mike Latschislaw)
Latschislaw had been shooting promotional photographs and music videos for local performers Scott Nolan, Romi Mayes and Sweet Alibi.
But when he saw Florida's quote, "Winnipeg is home to 12 per cent of [Canada's] musicians...even though it makes up just 2.25 per cent of the country's population," he wanted to do something to draw attention to the musicians living and working here.
So just after Christmas, he started shooting his very first documentary film. "It's something I've always wanted to do and I couldn't believe there wasn't already a documentary on the music scene in Winnipeg," he says.
To be clear, Latschislaw isn't looking back to Winnipeg's glory days in the 1960s, at a scene that spawned acts like the Guess Who and Neil Young, he's firmly rooted in what's happening now.
And he has a lot to work with, with two terabytes worth of interviews and live footage already in the can, Latschislaw is still trying to track down a few final musicians he wants to include.
So far, he's captured acts like The Brothers Landreth, Imaginary Cities, The Bokononists, Greg MacPherson, Sweet Alibi, JP Hoe, This Hisses and many, many more.
"The moments that people have shared, how open they've been, I can't wait to share those moments," Latschislaw says.
He also says he's hoping that the documentary - whose title is taken from a Scott Nolan song - will encourage everyone from music fans to politicians to actively support their local scene.
"I was talking to Rob Williams [former music writer at the Winnipeg Free Press] and he said, 'Bon Jovi's in town, you should run down there and interview people in line and ask them about the last local show they went to.' People don't realize how amazing they have it in their backyard when you can go see the Brothers Landreth and Alexa Dirks playing for free on a Monday night," Latschislaw explains.
Winnipeg band Nathan (Mike Latschislaw)
While gathering material for the film, Latschislaw says the musicians were very candid about how tough it is to make a living from music, and that interviews with some of their parents provided emotional moments about watching their kids struggle.
Though he's begun the editing process, Latschislaw isn't entirely sure when the film will be finished. Working around his day job as a photographer at the University of Manitoba, he wants to take his time, and create a fitting tribute to a scene he is clearly very passionate about.
"Winnipeg, it's not a tourist destination, you're here because you're here. I used to work as an animator, I've lived in L.A., Chicago, Vancouver, Montreal, but I'm home now because I love it here, I think our music scene is unique," he says.
"It drives me crazy when people try to make it this polished place. [Because] hidden in this unattractive place, is this amazing music scene."
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