RE:GENERATE: A Journey of Creative Resilience

Mallory Gemmel

September 20, 2021

From the Culture Days Network Film & Video Dance Agriculture Digital & New media History & Heritage Intercultural Photography Visual Arts Youth & Teens Storytelling

This season, BC Culture Days is presenting RE:GENERATE—a video series of community-directed films that highlight the spirit and determination of remote and rural arts communities across the province of B.C.

The Covid-19 Pandemic has uncovered issues for many communities in B.C., issues that have needed quick response and resolve. Last year, BC Culture Days adapted our programming delivery by inviting participants to host online events. The technical requirements of hosting online activities presented a challenge for many smaller communities.

The Sooke Philharmonic Orchestra & Chorus presents The Road Back.

Therefore, many communities that we had hoped would participate in Culture Days celebrations were unable to. In response to this, BC Culture Days initiated RE:GENERATE to facilitate regional participation. Through the kind support of our sponsors—Odlum Brown Limited, Bella Coola Community Forest, Williams Lake & District Credit Union, and Shuswap Tourism—we’ve been able to provide participating communities with funding to cover the costs associated with producing and promoting self-directed films.

Linda Anderson in Sooke Fine Arts Show Moves Online.
BC Culture Days helped support RE:GENERATE’s community filmmakers by funding expenses such as videography, editing, artist fees, and advertising. The final cuts of the community films will premiere periodically during BC Culture Days. Every Friday a different community’s videos will air on our website.

The RE:GENERATE videos highlight the creative resilience of Prince Rupert, Bella Coola, Sooke, Salmon Arm, and Kimberley. Coordinated and filmed respectively in partnership with either Prince Rupert Community Arts Council, Bella Coola Music Festival and the Nuxalk Nation, Sooke Arts Council, Salmon Arm Arts Centre, and Kimberley Arts at Centre 64, each video demonstrates how these arts communities, organizations, and the people within them, have continually adapted to the ever-changing pandemic conditions.

Kimberley Emerging From the Pandemic.

These communities have found ways to re-emerge from the challenges of the past year through the development of inspiring ideas; they are regenerating their operations, relationships, and community-building efforts to build bright futures for their communities.

Weaver, Barb Schooner in Nuxalk Cedar Weavers.
Filmmaking is a wholly collaborative process. Be it a feature film, a 5-minute animation, a documentary short, or a grassroots promotional video, the production of any one moving image requires cooperation and teamwork among the different individuals with disparate creative hands who took part in creating it. Directors, editors, writers, music-makers, actors or subjects, camera operators, makeup artists, hair stylists, production assistants encompass just a few of those who work tirelessly to produce films. No matter how long or short and big or small, a film’s production requires synergy and partnership between individuals. People come together, mending their ideas and expertises to craft multi-media artworks that tell stories and encourage those who watch them to reflect, learn, and feel.

Karishma Sharma in Spreading Joy Through Indian Dance by Prince Rupert.

The creation of the RE:GENERATE series has not only helped to document how communities have effectively adapted to change during the pandemic, but it has also helped to renew relationships among their community members, inspire collaboration between artists and organizations, and put forward new initiatives for the future.

Salmon Arm’s WOW: The Wharf Sessions.

Tracey Kutschker, director and curator at Salmon Arm Arts Centre and Art Gallery, has 20 years of experience in a management role in the arts and culture sector. Before partnering with BC Culture Days’ RE:GENERATE series, the Salmon Arm Arts Centre was already offering support to artists, encouraging the creation of digital media. The Song Sparrow Hall in Salmon Arm is a unique space that provides facilities and resources for digital production, offering equipment for taping video and audio and acoustic event space for music performance. RE:GENERATE helped to amp up and enrich Salmon Arm’s creative initiatives and digital projects.

Louis Thomas, Neskonlith Knowledge-Keeper and mentor for Salmon Arm’s Marie Manson Virtual Artist Residency. Sculpture by Artist Resident Lucas Glenn.

Tracey describes:

“In Salmon Arm, we really punch above our weight in terms of the presentation of cultural activities. When the pandemic shut down live arts events, we all went straight to work creating digital content to keep our collective brains working and inspired. This RE:GENERATE series allowed the arts leaders to reconnect after a long year of isolation and just keeping our organizations afloat. We guided each other as we storyboarded our ideas, and we each reached out to integral supporters and founders to add to our videos.

Colin James Main Stage Photo by Craig Pulsifer. Featured in Salmon Arm Roots and Blues - Altered States II.

We dug deep into the purposes of our events to extract what we think makes Salmon Arm special, and from that these five products help shine a light on the community’s creativity and resiliency. The creation of digital content is now ubiquitous among arts non-profits, so the challenge wasn’t how to manifest these videos, it was more how to show the true behind-the-scenes antics that most arts organizations are up to as we plan and execute events. Approaching this series with that lens made us recognize and value our own work, which tends to go unnoticed.”

President of the Prince Rupert Community Arts Council, Sandra Jones says that in working on the RE:GENERATE series, “We discovered that there continues to be much going on in the arts and culture space in Prince Rupert, despite the challenges of the pandemic.”

Russell Mather in Prince Rupert’s Truth and Reconciliation Pole.

Creating videos for RE:GENERATE helped to foster and renourish relationships among people in the Prince Rupert community. Sandra explains:

“People were invited to examine what they did during the Covid-19 Pandemic and found that the process actually clarified that they had done a lot more work than they imagined. They went into the process believing that they had been stalled and upon reflection realized that they had accomplished a great deal—often in ways that were new and unusual for them. People found that the process helped them to engage with others in their organization (if they had one) and also with the videographer.”

Prince Rupert’s The Treble with Covid.
In addition to screening the 5 films created by and about Prince Rupert, Prince Rupert Community Arts Council is hosting an in-person film festival at the Lester Centre for the Arts that will showcase various other community-based films. “When we screen the series of videos we have created, we imagine that even more great connections will be nourished between artists and cultural leaders as well as within the community at large,” says Sandra.

Spuct Totem Pole featured in Bella Coola’s Totem Carving.

BC Culture days extends our greatest thanks to each community who took part in creating the RE:GENERATE Series. Please join us as we celebrate and learn about the rich cultural sectors of these communities by tuning in every Friday for new video premieres.

Mark Locki in Kimberley During the Pandemic.

RE:GENERATE Prince Rupert premieres Friday Sept 24, 2021

Watch here.

Presented in partnership with the Prince Rupert Community Arts Council.

RE:GENERATE Bella Coola premieres Friday Oct 1, 2021

Watch here.

Presented in partnership with the Bella Coola Music Festival, Williams Lake and District Credit Union, and Bella Coola Community Forest.

RE:GENERATE Sooke premieres Friday Oct 8, 2021

Watch here.

Presented in partnership with the Sooke Arts Council and Odlum Brown Limited.

RE:GENERATE Salmon Arm premieres Friday Oct 15, 2021

Watch here.

Presented in partnership with the Salmon Arm Arts Centre and Shuswap Tourism.

RE:GENERATE Kimberley premieres Friday Oct 22, 2021

Watch here.

Presented in partnership with Kimberley Arts at Centre 64.

RE:GENERATE Series Trailer.