Local photographer featured in rainforest film

A film featuring Nanoose Bay’s renowned National Geographic photographer Paul Nicklen will be screened in Nanoose Bay this Sunday.

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The film is called Spoil, produced by Nicklen’s girlfriend Cristina Mittermeier, a photographer and conservationist who has worked on other documentaries that have helped bring about the protection of sensitive environments.

The film was created to give the Gitga’at First Nations in the Great Bear Rainforest a stronger voice to show their opposition to a proposed Enbridge pipeline, which would take heavy crude from the Alberta tarsands across B.C. to the coast of the Great Bear Rainforest.

Nicklen was on an assignment taking photographs of the spirit bear in the Great Bear Rainforest when he met some of the First Nations people in the area. At that time, Mittermeier was the president of the International League of Conservation Photographers (ILCP) and was contacted by Nicklen, also a member of the organization. The ILCP teamed up with Pacific WILD, as well as a number of other organizations, and carried out a Rapid Assessment Visual Expedition (RAVE) in the Great Bear Rainforest.

This involved bringing in 10 internationally acclaimed photographers to create a series of images of the pristine area. At the same time Mittermeier also brought a documentary crew and tasked them with creating a film documenting how the images were created and showing the people and culture of the area.

Mittermeier calls the United States her home but visits Nicklen in Nanoose Bay between assignments. The NEWS caught up with her last week to talk about the film.

“I’m originally from Mexico where we’ve already housed a number of environmental disasters courtesy of the oil industry, so I felt like I could share what my country has gone through,” she said, “so that a few people can get really rich while the rest of us carry the environmental burden under the promise of prosperity.”

Spoil won Best Environmental Film at the Vancouver International Film Festival in 2011 and Best Film: Mountain Environment the same year at the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival, among other prestigious awards.

The film, directed by National Geographic filmmaker Trip Jennings, focuses on Nicklen and his quest to photograph the spirit bear and bring attention to preserving the incredible landscape.

Mittermeier said giving a stronger voice to people is something the ILCP focuses on.

“That’s one of the things we do, we speak on behalf of the animals and the people who don’t have the marketing means to let their side of the story be heard,” she said. “And so we felt that was important.”

The film will be shown April 21 at 2 p.m. at Nanoose Place, located at 2925 Northwest Bay Road, admission is free.





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