We’re about to begin a new adventure – with new cities, new audiences. As we get ready for our summer 2021 series, we’re taking a look back at the journey we’ve travelled with our cinematic salmon. It began almost a decade ago, with one person riveted by a spectacle that has taken place – uninterrupted – in BC rivers for millions of years. Director Nettie Wild stood on the banks of the Adams River and her artistic intuition told her that the salmon migration she’d witnessed could – and should – be shared with urban audiences. That led to a small team exploring the possibilities. Then add in a city bridge and a public park, and things really started to get interesting.
A network of partners came on board over time, and their crucial support meant the small group of eight grew – and grew – to a team of 130 artists, specialists and volunteers led by Nettie and producing partners Betsy Carson and Rae Hull.
Three years of filming, eighteen months of editing and digital mapping, software innovation, the work of several Canadian companies, an online platform to extend public engagement, the support of civic leaders and the good will of a neighbourhood. All that – and UNINTERRUPTED launched in the summer of 2017 as part of the Canada 150+ celebrations.
In the three month run that followed, crowds totalling 30,000 (on average close to 500, 5 nights a week) came under the Cambie Bridge to swim with the salmon.
It was quite a summer.
At the launch, leaders from the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations welcomed the visiting Little Shuswap Lake Indian Band of the Secwepemc Nation – all First Nations on whose traditional territories Uninterrupted was filmed or projected. They came to share their honour songs – and a special salmon ceremony.
Friends and partners joined in – from the Government of Canada (Fisheries & Oceans), the City of Vancouver and the Vancouver Park Board; from Vancity and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, from our first community partner the Pacific Salmon Foundation — and of course, our first audience!
In the weeks that followed, audience members helped spread the word sharing their great pics – and media writers offered up wonderful reviews and coverage.
Throughout the summer, community activations before the shows added everything from public ping-pong, to information about resource conservation, to children’s entertainers Bobs & Lolo and their salmon app, to opportunities with local streamkeepers who volunteer to look after salmon habitat.
And our partners hosted special evenings under the bridge.
And here on uninterrupted.ca, the interactive journey launched in July 2017. Through the summer, people were invited to follow the path of a salmon – and those who swam the distance online received their moment on the bridge too. Nightly their names were featured on the salmon social honour roll.
We can’t wait to create more memories – and more experiences for audiences throughout Metro Vancouver this coming summer. See you there!