The Story Behind Labrador Passage
In 2012, I was part of a four-man crew that canoed 2600 miles from the Pacific Coast, up and over the Rocky Mountains, and ended 130 days later on the Hudson Bay. Following the expedition I produced a short, award-winning documentary, 2600 above 60. As a paddler and a filmmaker, the question was, what would the next project be?
I knew I wanted to make a film that would appeal to a larger audience, go beyond the Banff Film Festival crowd, and give an expression of the wilderness experience that would draw in people from all walks of life.
This new film, Labrador Passage, grew out of a fascination I had with older ways of canoe travel and with the explorers who carried heavy gear and who wore clothing most of us would consider wholly inappropriate to use in the wilderness. I knew I wanted to make a film about a canoe journey where people used equipment that was made out of non-synthetic material—like they used 100 years ago.
Once I decided to
make a film on this topic, the choice for where in Canada I wanted to film
became obvious. If I was going to be using traditional equipment, then I ought
to retrace a historic canoe route. The choice was clear: Mina Hubbard’s 1905
route through Labrador.
Though not widely known to the general public, the history of this route has created a small but devoted following. It’s hard to find a story that offers a deeper expression of why people seek the wilderness experience. The story began with a disastrous 1903 expedition that resulted in starvation and death of its leader, Leonidas Hubbard. In 1905 Leonidas’ widow, Mina Hubbard, along with a group of four men, ventured into the same wilderness and headed for the route he had intended to follow. At the same time a rival crew, led by Dylan Wallace, a man on Leonidas' first expedition, and a man whom Mina, for a number of reasons, hated, set out. One of the classic races through the wilderness had begun.
The film unfolds on three levels: the history of the 1903 and 1905 expeditions, the profiles of the craftsmen and women who make much of the gear we will be using, and the modern day, 2014 expedition. As I have worked on the project, the film has evolved well beyond a conventional documentary about outdoor adventure and has grown to encompass community, wilderness, history—that is, a rich array of perspectives about why we seek these wild places.
Film Distribution and Indiegogo Campaign
Labrador Passage is co-produced with Twin Cities Public Television. Unfortunately this doesn’t mean PBS handed me a blank check—if only the world worked that way! What it does mean is that we will be able to utilize the exceptional post-production facilities and broadcast distribution of a PBS station in order to reach a wide audience. At a minimum, this means reaching over 80,000 households in Minnesota, having the potential for national and international markets to to acquire the distribution rights, and the capacity for online streaming to a worldwide audience.
The point is, we have a solid distribution strategy to ensure that this film will be seen!
We have already completed a good amount of filming and have produced several shorts featuring some of the craftspeople who have made the equipment we will use. Check out an example of one of these videos below, and visit our website, www.labradorpassage.com for more.
This Indiegogo campaign is intending to 1) secure transportation funds and 2) increase community involvement with the project.
The current campaign is set in order to cover travel costs for the two of us, broken down as follows
Flight to Happy Valley, Labrador - $1,500
Flight from Kangiqsualujjuaq(George River) - $2,500
Transportation of food and canoe to Happy Valley, Labrador - $1,500
Additional money raised will go to the post-production costs. The current goal is to raise enough money to ensure that the primary filming, which is scheduled to begin in July, 2014, has the funds to be completed.
And second, the purpose of this campaign is to reach out to the community. As a major theme of the film has to do with the connections we have with history, with our equipment, and more importantly, with the people who helped make our gear, we hope to expand the role that community plays in this film through your involvement with this campaign.
Other Ways You Can Help
We understand that not everyone can give to this campaign.
The important thing right now is to get the word out. If you know someone who has interest in history, in canoeing, expedition, or just interesting things in gereral, let them know about the film and our Indiegogo campaign