New Brunswick is getting a new film festival this year, one that will focus on the absolute best of documentaries, and they’re willing to travel. Tideland will be happening during the month of February in Moncton, Fredericton, Saint John, and Sackville.
This year the festival is playing host to the work of organizer, and award-winning New Brunswick filmmaker Craig Norris and his team. Norris says that for the inaugural year there’s a strong emphasis on documentaries relevant to New Brunswickers. In particularly he’s highlighting the environmental significance and beauty of the province in an effort to increase local awareness of climate change and conservation.
It’s a convenient theme for Norris, who just happens to have a stunning portfolio full of the stuff. His short film, Kokota: The Islet of Hope, tells a story of how climate change and deforestation has affected life on a small island in the Indian Ocean. It recently won at the DC Environmental Film Festival, which in turn became a catalyst for Tideland.
“We’ve been noodling around the idea of a doc fest for a while now and once we found out we won at DCEFF we knew we would have to tour Kokota around New Brunswick says Norris. “So instead of doing a one off event we decided to take the opportunity to launch the film fest. This year we’re featuring our films but others will be invited to the party next year
“This isn’t a committee driven event that will show vanilla films.”
“We’re aiming to show films that will inspire New Brunswickers to be the change they want to see in their province. Our number one goal is to use film to affect social change, not more local filmmaking… although hopefully we can accomplish both by showing world class stuff. Three of the four films are designed to battle New Brunswick’s identity crisis. They aim to prove that we are not a drive through province. The nature doc series takes you to the woods between Sussex and Moncton and shows off gorgeous places you can hike to. The kind of places that make you say wow that’s New Brunswick?”
Norris’s films give an almost tangible sense of life in the province – maybe not your life in particular, but perhaps the life of a barnacle, or a gull. He gets right in there to paint an experience most people don’t get anymore without watching it through their phone. He explores the forests of Fundy National Park in Surviving the Fundy Footpath, and life on a lobster boat bobbing around on the bay in Sunrise on the Total Chaos, and then everything in between with Amazing Places Of The Fundy Biosphere. Norris captures everything in such detail it’s as though the fourth wall has completely dissolved.
“If we, the people of New Brunswick stand up and say this is special, this is part of who we are, we can protect, restore and preserve. We’re facing lots of issues and apathy is a solution for none of them. It can at times be overwhelming, but when I get overwhelmed I just try to focus on the things I can nudge in the right direction. The older I get the more I understand the concept of cumulative effects.”
The festival will be coming to Sackville’s Vogue Theatre on Feb 8th, Moncton’s Aberdeen Cultural Centre on Feb 9th, Fredericton’s Charlotte Street Arts Centre on Feb 15th, and Saint John’s Kent Theatre on Feb 16th.
For complete details check out Tideland on Facebook.