It was a full house at the 12th annual Skeena Wild film and photo festival in Terrace on Thursday Sept. 15 after being on hiatus last year due to the pandemic.
The event featured a range of short films and photography, including never before seen footage of a giant 140-foot Chinook Salmon art installation by Alex and Michelle Stoney of Gitanmaax.
Alex Stoney said he got the idea walking along the shore of the river looking at small designs people make with sticks and rocks in the sand.
“I though it would be cool if we could do something more with that and my sister’s an artist so I thought it would be cool to see Indigenous form-line in there,” he said.
Alex and his sister made a series of Indigenous art installations out of driftwood near New Hazelton and it became a community project. The idea was to show the cycle of time as the river rose and washed away the artwork each season.
The salmon took more than 50 people two days to complete, Michelle Stoney said.
“We involved all the communities of the Hazelton area, Gitanmaax, Kispiox, New Town… People came from all over, like, Terrace, Smithers and Burns Lake, all helping all together. So that was exciting,” she said.
“This past year the river came and took it away when the river came up, and the whole cycle was completed.”
Julia Hill Sorochan, of Skeena Wild Conservation Trust that organizes the festival, said it’s all about bringing people together to celebrate what they love about northern B.C.
The festival started 13 years ago as a group of freinds getting together and grew through word of mouth, it became a popular place for Terrace artists to showcase their work and has since grown to include other northern communities.
“This is about people telling their stories about the north. Whether it’s adventure or an issue that’s important to them,” she said. “You see this broad cross-section of our community coming together.”
Skeena-Bulkley Valley NDP MP Taylor Bachrach submitted a video of himself chatting with constituents during a canoe trip from Kispiox to Terrace this summer during the Skeena Salmon Art Festival.
Sorochan said the MP was required to “keep it apolitical,” adding that the MP was inspired to put the film together when a young fellow performed a song that he wrote called ‘take me to your river.’
There were about 30 finalists in all categories combined, including film and photography, that people will be able to watch online and vote for once the festival has finished making the rounds of northern B.C.
“Every year we do a tour of all the northern communities but this year we’re doing it a little bit differently and we’re offering the opportunity to other local community-based organizations to host their own Skeena Wild Film Festivals in their community as a fundraising opportunity,” Sorochan said.
“This incredible melting pot of stories, visions and perspectives shines a light on the wonder of the Skeena Watershed.”
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