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Forestry documentary Silvicola screens in Williams Lake April 3

Director Jean-Philippe Marquis will attend for a question and answer session
Silvicola directed by Bella Coola based filmmaker Jean-Philippe Marquis will screen at Paradise Cinemas Wednesday, April 3. (Jean-Philippe Marquis image)

An award-winning documentary about forestry will be screened by the Williams Lake Film Club Wednesday, April 3.

Silvicola was directed by Jean-Philippe Marquis, a filmmaker living in Bella Coola, and explores the human impact on forests in the Pacific Northwest.

“I tried to make a film that could be both enjoyed by forestry workers and environmentalists,” Marquis said. “Now it’s time to show it in communities where forestry is an important industry.”

The name of the film - Silvicola - comes from the Latin word for living in the forest, he explained.

In making the film, he really wanted to get feedback from everyone involved in forestry.

“By centring the voices of forestry workers, I hope to have captured the nuances of their lived experiences, and of the wisdom that comes with it.”

Last year Silvicola premiered at Hot Docs Canadian International Festival in Toronto where it received the John Kastner Award.

“Many films ask the question, how are we meant to exist upon a living being, our Earth. This is a masterwork of patience and complexity that doesn’t seek easy answers, and for that we lean in with humility and heartache. This is a film that holds questions we should all be asking ourselves,” was the jury statement for the award.

Marquis travelled to Quebec for the film’s opening in theatres, which began March 22 in Montreal at the Cinémathèque Québécoise and Cinéma Public.

He attended for post-screening discussions and will do the same when the film is shown in Williams Lake.

Since its premiere at Hot Docs the film has also won the Best Canadian Feature Film at Planet in Focus 2023 and the Best Environmental Documentary at the Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival.

Aside from Williams Lake, the film will be screened in Prince George on April 4.

Originally from Quebec, he has 10 years of cinematography experience on documentaries and television series.

For a decade he was a tree-planter and it was his experience reforesting in remote places in B.C. that inspired him to make the film.

Shot on Vancouver Island, the B.C. Coast and in a sawmill in Terrace, Marquis intentionally wanted to include perspectives of people working in the forest industry in the film.

“This one is a personal project,” he said, adding the film took him four years to make.

“I worked on it mostly during COVID. I was able to travel because I was going to remote out-of-the way places. I’ve done all the photography and cinematography for it.”

Silvicola will be screened at Paradise Cinemas. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Show starts at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10, available at The Open Book and at the door.

READ MORE: Jean-Philippe Marquis of Bella Coola wins John Kastner Award for Silvicola at Hot Docs Festival

READ MORE: Films from two Bella Coola directors part of Hot Docs Festival 2023 lineup in Toronto

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Monica Lamb-Yorski

About the Author: Monica Lamb-Yorski

A B.C. gal, I was born in Alert Bay, raised in Nelson, graduated from the University of Winnipeg, and wrote my first-ever article for the Prince Rupert Daily News.
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