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Arts and Ecology Advocacy through Visual Storytelling

The DVD, titled Dreamers and Doers, “just evolved” from a visual documentary for Alberta’s Centennial from other projects Garrah and Baker were working on. The two operate a film company called Digital Time Machine Inc.

“I liked the idea of looking at  the centennial through images of art,” said David S. Baker, “and see the strong influence of history surrounding their art.”

Baker plays the role of director and cinematographer, while Garrah acts as the producer.

“I am the dreamer and Marianne is the doer,” says Baker.

Dreamers and Doers shows how Alberta’s arts, culture and heritage shaped the province and how it reflects the history of the past 100 years.

“Take away art and culture from our lives, and what are we left with?” asks Garrah.

In November of 2003 they started to make connections with people around the province. It wasn’t until 2004 that Garrah and Baker travelled more than 30,000 kilometres in Alberta between May and November. 

After working all week the two of them would pack up their equipment and drive all weekend to their mapped out locations, taking them from Waterton Lakes National Park to Cold Lake, from Medicine Hat to Grande Prairie to collect 51 hours of music, anthropology, history, paintings, theatre and story telling interviews.

“The biggest challenge was compiling the wealth of information into a coherent story and making it something people would enjoy watching,” says Garrah. “It has history and biography and facts – which traditionally can be very dry content. I think we managed to keep the yawn factor pretty low. We asked and Albertans gave. They surprised us with sharing their heartfelt stories and their enthusiasm for heritage.”

The film was also selected for screening at the 2005 Calgary International Film Festival where a record number of submissions were entered in this year’s festival. More than 1,000 films were in consideration from every Province and territory in Canada as well as from 30 other countries. Dreamers and Doers was selected to be one of the 467 films screened at the Festival, 234 of which were Canadian, including 86 films from Alberta.

Dreamers and Doers have also been shown on three television stations; PBS, CLT and Access. To view the documentary before the big awards night, it is available at the Jasper Municipal Library and Video Stop.

The fifth annual Alberta Tourism Awards, known as the Altos will be celebrated in Calgary November 14. The awards created by Alberta’s tourism industry will be presented by Premier Ralph Klein and Alberta Economic Development Minister Clint Dunford.

Besides being one of the Alto finalists, Garrah has also been nominated for a Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts for her contribution to the arts from 1982 to the present day. 

Winning candidates will be determined in the spring of 2006. 

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