In summer 2015, we were invited to document a collaborative road construction project between Hugh Munro Construction Ltd. and Berens River First Nation, with the support of the Manitoba Construction Sector Council (MCSC). Initially, we were engaged to simply archive the process and capture interviews with a list of questions provided by MCSC, but in the end we created a documentary with a strong emotional arc to help the involved parties pursue funding for future projects.
Having never filmed in construction before, we had a lot to learn about the industry and MCSC’s role as a sector council, culture in Northern Manitoba, trades lingo, the physical processes involved in road construction, and the key players on this particular project. It was also our first shoot in a remote community, which put certain limitations on our filming.
There was a lot of context to explain and a lot of people to represent in a short video, and yet we were able to get at the heart of the matter: this particular project has provided well-needed employment for people from Berens River and is an illustration of how to build sustainable opportunities on reserves in Northern Manitoba.
When the video was shared with Berens River, it was celebrated by participants, policymakers, and funders as an accurate and moving depiction of a partnership that had positively affected the Berens River community. A couple of months later, the video aired on national television on APTN.