As interest grows in closing the gap between agriculture and the general public, Ag in Motion is screening a film that aims to do just that.
Guardians of the Grasslands is a short documentary about the role cattle play in the survival of the Great Plains ecosystem. The film is a collaboration between Story Brokers Media House, Ducks Unlimited Canada, the Nature Conservancy of Canada and the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association. It features interviews with conservationists and ranchers, highlighting North America’s endangered grasslands and the importance of grazing in sustaining that ecosystem.
The event will also feature interviews with John Jamieson, CEO of the Canadian Centre for Food Integrity, as well as filmmakers Ben Wilson and Sarah Wray of Story Brokers Media House.
Wilson and Wray discuss everything from using emotion in storytelling, the collaborative nature of the project, and how the project came about.
The decision to make the documentary documentary was somewhat spontaneous. Wray and Wilson were at the Waldron Ranch Grazing Co-op to shoot a film on the Waldron’s history. A comment from Christine Tapley of Ducks Unlimited about the importance of the endangered Prairie ecosystem echoed in Wray’s mind that day, and pushed the filmmakers to act.
Wilson says they were inspired to “create this documentary that isn’t specifically about the Waldron, but about the grasslands as a whole, as an ecosystem that affects all of Canada.”
Jamieson also discusses key takeaways from the film from a public advocacy point of view. The Canadian Centre for Food Integrity’s research has shown that Canadians want to know more about food production, he says.
“And by creating an engaging and very visual film like Guardians of the Grasslands, I think the whole industry can learn a lesson” on how to create an informative film that is also entertaining, he says.
Guardians is available for private screenings and has also been playing at film festivals. It has garnered awards from Toronto’s Alternative Film Festival and is an official selection at the Digital Griffix film festival. The short also took home an award from the Yorkton Film Festival in June. For more information on the film, visit guardiansofthegrasslands.ca.
Registration is now open for Ag In Motion Discovery Plus. Guardians screens on July 24 from noon to 1:00 pm, and July 25, from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm (Saskatchewan, or Central Standard, time).