Arts

Former U of O student looks to finance Canadian road trip doc

 Photo courtesy of Adele Reeves

What does it mean to be truly Canadian?

In 2012, University of Ottawa graduate and independent artist Adele Reeves decided to take a road trip across the country in hopes of discovering just that. Reeves and her husband Leandro Vilaca are now working to turn their search for national identity into a full-blown documentary entitled More Than Maple Syrup.

Reeves says the idea stemmed from her and her husband’s travels abroad—experiences that often led them to question what makes Canada different and unique beyond broad cultural stereotypes.

“Both of us experienced all these other countries that have these really rich cultures and very definable cultures,” says Reeves. “And, you know, it was something that I found hard, as someone trying to represent Canada, describing what it is and who we are.”

pintura 3To get a better idea of what Canadian identity entails, the couple and their dog Cliff bought a $900 van, installed a mattress in the back, and set off on an epic four-month pilgrimage from March to July taking them from coast to coast. Over these four months, the pair chronicled their adventures on a blog containing videos, photos, and interviews with everyday Canadians who talk about what national identity means to them.

“Having such a huge landmass I would say is a defining characteristic for us,” says Reeves. “We have people coming here from other countries and a lot of the time they want to go camping or sit around a bonfire. It’s kind of known that that’s something that Canadians do, whether you live in the city or in the country.”

After the trip was over, Reeves and Vilaca set about the arduous task of editing together hours of footage they had compiled. They are now in the process of putting the finishing touches on the film and crowdsourcing the remaining funds using Kickstarter.

“We’re at a point where we’ve done the rough cut of the movie, so our editing skills stop here,” says Reeves. “We’ve done everything we can with our own money and now we actually need to pay other people for things: music, mixing, sound editing, and technical stuff that we aren’t really qualified as directors to do.”

If the desired amount of money is raised by the last day of their Kickstarter campaign thegangon Oct. 10, the couple hopes to finish the film and submit More than Maple Syrup to a number of film festivals and share their quest for Canadian identity with the whole country. For the time being, Reeves is determined to finish this project—a quality that you could attribute to any true Canuck.

“We will finish this documentary no matter what, I can tell you that,” she says. “But if we get that funding it means that we will do it justice.”

Students can read more about the road trip on Reeves’ and Vilaca’s blog More Than Maple Syrup