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

The award is for films of courage and compassion that embody masterful and audacious storytelling
Jean-Philippe Marquis, right, with members of film crew. (Photo submitted)

Bella Coola based film director Jean-Philippe Marquis garnered the new John Kastner Award for his new feature documentary Silvicola which was shown at the Hot Docs Festival in Toronto in May.

Marquis received $5,000 with the award which is given to a Canadian Spectrum feature-length documentary of courage and compassion that embodies masterful and audacious storytelling, meticulous observation, and a profound trust between the director and the people who share their stories.

“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,” the jury said of its reasoning for choosing to award the film.

Marquis told Black Press Media in an interview before the festival 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 Silvicola.

“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.”

Banchi Hanuse’s new film Aitamaako’tamisskapi Natosi: Before The Sun which was also shown at Hot Docs Festival, will be at the Seattle International Film Festival May 18 and 20 and will continue a festival run with more to be announced.

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

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Jean-Philippe Marquis accepts the John Kastner Award for his new film Silvicola during the Hot Docs Festival. (Photo submitted)

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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