Photo: Courtesy of Tomas Borsa.
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Film on Northern Gateway pipeline to be screened at the U of O

Although many Canadians have heard of the Northern Gateway pipeline project and the controversy surrounding it, few understand the way it has impacted those living on the west coast. Tomas Borsa and Jean-Philippe Marquis, however, decided it was time to help those people be heard.

Borsa and Marquis are part of the documentary team who created the film Line in the Sand, which explores the ways in which the proposed pipeline would impact those living in its path.

The film, which was nominated for the International Jury Prize at the Glasgow International Human Rights Film Festival last month, will be screened at the University of Ottawa on Nov. 28.

Borsa and Marquis traveled from Bruderheim, Alberta to Kitimat, British Columbia with a limited crew to create the film, collecting testimonies from Canadians whose livelihoods and cultures could be influenced by the approval and construction of the pipeline.

“We were very focused on the people, the human factor was the center of the film. We wanted to meet people and hear what they had to say,” said Marquis.

The inspiration for the film came from a combination of curiosity about the impact, and a desire to delve in deeper than the mainstream media was doing.

“We felt that the media was framing the Northern Gateway pipeline as a very oppositional project—Alberta versus British Columbia, and First Nations versus white people, and jobs versus the environment,” said Marquis. “So we wanted to go on the ground and see what people were thinking, because the media coverage was too vague or too generalized. “ 

The film was shot over the course of two years, and was funded by a Kickstarter campaign and the Borsa and Marquis’ own savings.

“While we were traveling we slept in the van or with friends, or camped and cooked,” said Marquis.

The free screening will be presented by Cinema Academica, a film club at the U of O. It will be shown in English with French subtitles, and will be followed by a discussion with Marquis about the film.

He said he is hoping that viewers walk away from the film with more knowledge about those affected by the Northern Gateway, as well as a deeper understanding of the impact of potential pipeline projects in future.

“It’s hard to end a film with a story that has no ending. At some point you need to close the book and say we have to film it, so we decided to make a film not only about the Northern Gateway, but rather use that as a case study, and we made a film about pipelines,” said Marquis. “We met different people who are protesting for different reasons … we hope that the viewers can relate to different people fighting for different reasons.”

Although the screening is free, donations are welcome, and all of the money raised will go towards supporting communities affected such as the Unist’ot’en and Madii’lii.

The screening of Line in the Sand will take place at 7 p.m. on Nov. 28 in room 150 at Marion Hall.