New documentary retraces the ‘comic’ canoe trip of an Albertan filmmaker with a 70-year-old father
An award-winning Alberta filmmaker made a documentary about a canoe trip with his father – and it’s described as a comedy full of mistakes.
The film follows Niobe Thompson – film maker Quickly Horse, Vital links and mini-series Equus: History of the horse – and his father Jamie Thompson, celebrating his 70th birthday on a homemade wooden canoe.
The documentary, titled the For a long time today, is presented at the third 2021 Calgary Virtual Action Film Festival, which celebrates aging in the third act of life.
Thompson said it was a personal documentary, but the story itself began decades ago when his father started investing in canoes.
“My father played a special role in maintaining the canoe-building tradition,” he said. The stretch Friday.
The filmmaker said that when all the major canoe building companies started using fiberglass instead of wood, his father started building his.
“He sent mussels back to Alberta after apprenticing with all the old masters and started building canoes out of canvas,” he said.
“For at least 15 years, he was the only one in Canada to build these canoes.
Thompson grew up in the Cree community of northern Wabasca, Alta., And said he grew up paddling in wooden canoes with his father.
“When I realized he was about to turn 70 and was looking for a way to handle it, you know my dad was getting older, it just seemed natural that we would do it with a canoe trip and with a film, ”he said. .
Thompson makes documentaries on science, nature and adventure. He said making films helps him deal with the different emotions he goes through.
The filmmaker said that despite the canoe trip that took place in northern Saskatchewan, the river was similar to that of the mountains.
“We have chosen a river that we have watched with fear and concern for a long time. It is called the Wathaman River,” he said.
He said that to get there you have to be transported to a very distant place.
From there, the filmmaker, his 70-year-old father, and a few others embarked on a two-week adventure, all in an antique canoe built in 1976.
“You basically see us swimming and wading in this canoe through a lot of rapids because it was so fragile,” he said.
“And those rapids were just sharp, endless boulders, low volume rapids that we couldn’t canoe down the conventional way.”
He added that they weren’t sure how to get there in their old canoe, but it still floats to this day.
Make the cinema
Thompson said the Long today was a passionate project between two big commercial projects. Rather than using a large crew, it was just him and a cameraman.
“There’s no better place to experience the moment than on a trip to nature, so, you know, it’s a personal project. I wanted to capture a moment in time and my relationship with it. my father.”
Thompson said his father was quite the “unvarnished character” and perfect for a documentary to follow.
“He’s having a great time himself and, you know, faces challenges and jokes and argues,” he said.
The film includes humor but also shows what people are capable of in their later years of life, Thompson said.
“It’s also, you know, an honest representation of the limitations we face as we age,” he said.
“I noticed that the public really reacted to this because it is a universal experience whether you are a canoeist or not.”
You can watch the documentary The Long Today at the third 2021 Calgary Virtual Action Film Festival on Saturday.
- Watch the trailer for The Long Today below:
With files from The Homestretch.