Film series chronicles Kootenay life

A series of six new short documentary films by Emmy Willis depict various snapshots of life in the Kootenays.

Top: Beekeeping at the I.D.E.A.L. Society in Jaffray. Bottom: The home of Radium woodcarver Rolf Heer.

Top: Beekeeping at the I.D.E.A.L. Society in Jaffray. Bottom: The home of Radium woodcarver Rolf Heer.

A series of six new short documentary films depict various snapshots of life in the Kootenays. The series was filmed by Emmy Willis, a recent graduate of the Emily Carr school in Vancouver, with a grant from Columbia Basin Trust.

Willis said the films cover a broad range of subjects.

“The premise of the series is to document farmers, makers and artists in the area,” she said.

She received the funding for this year and so a new episode will be released in the weeks of July and August.

The films are short, averaging around four minutes, but give a good amount of detail into their Kootenay subjects.

“I went away to school at Emily Carr University in Vancouver,” Willis said. “I’ve always had a very strong attachment to this area and I sort of wanted to find a way to take the work I was doing in Vancouver and bring it here.”

She’s done some small projects before, even having one film featured in a film festival in Portland.

Finding subjects for the series was a matter of asking around.

“It was a real word of mouth approach,” she said. “I drove in the area and then when I started asking questions… I came up with all these names and I sort of sought people out that way.

Willis has been working on and off on the series for the past year, though filming happened mostly in the spring and early summer of this year.

One episode features wood carver Rolf Heer and his eccentric home in Radium, which is available to watch online now.

Then there’s an episode on Purcell Organics documenting wild crafting tea blends with Shannon Duncan, who is usually at the farmer’s market here in town.

Then, there’s an episode on sustainable beekeeping with the I.D.E.A.L. Society and an episode on a sustainable taco stand in Kaslo, which is able to locally source ingredients.

Mike Hepher, owner of Clawhammer Letterpress, and Cacti Botanical Greenhouse in Creston round out the other two episodes.

Music in the series is from bands in the area.

To watch the first episode and future episodes head to

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