Vancouver-based filmmaker Nettie Wild knew she needed an interactive element to partner with her newly released documentary, KONELĪNE:our land beautiful. It’s a funding requirement that there be an interactive web component, so Wild asked: How could art be used to expand the story of KONELĪNE?
I had the opportunity to visit Wild in her apartment in Vancouver right before KONELĪNE opened at Vancity Theatre October 28. I’d seen the film at the Vancouver International Film Festival and was blown away by the imagery that unfolds throughout, revealing characters all invested in the complex reality between land and development in northwest BC.
North through South is the interactive web element for the film. It explores life in the North through the interpretive lenses of five urban storytellers from the South.
Choreographer and dancer Shay Kuebler was tasked with responding to the linemen installing the Northwest Transmission Line. Wild says she was impressed by how Kuebler picked up on the sense of honour amongst these men, how their job represents this idea of progress at the same time as being environmentally damaging.
Kuebler’s space on the site begins with an interview of how he interpreted the lineman and how that translated for him into movement. We then see his dance in its entirety, short but shot to reflect scenes from the film – shadows from an urban structure on Kuebler’s body parallel the angular lines of the giant tower being lowered to the men on the ground in the film; gentle wind in the grass references the much more powerful wind that came from the chopper used to lower the tower.
If you can stick with it (commit twelve minutes to going through one story), it’s interesting to view how the artists interpreted the essence of the characters in the film.
More interesting, however, is the creation of another space where these contrasting characters are once again side by side. Wild and her team have made the effort of partnering with not only environmental groups and spokespeople but industry groups as well. The documentary KONELĪNE and its accompanying norththroughsouth.com are sites for meeting, opportunities for people from all different backgrounds and beliefs to suspend judgment, if only briefly, and listen to the concerns and motivations from another perspective.