Koneline: Our Land Beautiful film seeks poetry, art in tale of conflict
Filmmaker Nettie Wild, known for raw conflict in films, take neutral and artful approach in new work
She's documented the Zapatista National Liberation Army in indigenous villages of Mexico and spent time with people suffering addictions in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside in her films dealing with conflict.
Koneline has that too, but the way Wild portrays it is unique. She felt the subject matter demanded a more neutral and artful approach. A method that took four years to complete.
The film focuses on the Tahltan First Nation in northwest B.C. and explores the complex relationship between the vast, remote wilderness and the people who live there.
"I think there's a huge loud polarized debate happening right now about sustainable development. And I think there's a lot of screaming going on and not a lot of listening. A lot of dogma," said Wild.
"So I thought if I'm going up to this part of the country, which I adore by the way, what can I bring that's new and different and that people will listen to because personally I'm pretty sick of smart people telling me what to think and I think the audiences were," she said.
"And I thought — I can bring art."
Wild's film has been called a cinematic poem as it shows its characters doing what they do in the land that's been called the "Serengeti of the North."
There is outstanding beauty and there is a large copper and gold mine that brings economic prosperity to the region — Wild says that tension is where she dug deep.
"Poetry can be gnarly. Poetry can be difficult."
Wild herself embodies a complex relationship to land and resources as she adores wildlife and nature and her family also owns a mine in B.C.
She says her background helped open the door to a conversation with the mining industry and she says she witnessed many members of the Tahltan First Nation talk through the complex reality they live everyday.
"Everybody's dinner table is surrounded by people who are working in the mine and people who are protesting against it. It's a livelihood and being able to work brings dignity but it also means you're digging up the landscape."
Wild says the project has changed her approach and she plans to tell more 'artful' stories about Canada's North.
Koneline: Our Land Beautiful plays the Vancouver International Film Festival October 3rd at the Playhouse. It will also enjoy a two week run at the VanCity Theatre beginning October 28th.