A documentary started in 2017 will be screened next week with its first screenings, all of which have already been sold out.
The project, produced and directed by Hannah Calder and Curtis Emde, an Okanagan College English professor and self-proclaimed aspiring filmmakers, will have gala screenings coming later this month in Vernon.
Why We Write: Poets of Vernon showcases the thriving writing community of the North Okanagan.
Calder and Emde wanted to highlight the poets born in Vernon, who chose to live their lives in the valley and the Syilx storytellers who have been in this land for a long time.
Calder acts as the viewer’s guide through the rich landscape of writing as she speaks to writers, bookmakers and storytellers.
“It feels like a really nurturing and supportive community as far as my experience goes,” Calder said. “I think John Lent probably had a lot to do with some of them. He greatly encouraged writing in this community.
Lent is a poet, novelist and singer-songwriter. He taught creative writing and literature classes at Okanagan College beginning in 1979 and inspired many writers before his retirement in 2011.
Lent is one of many subjects in the film, including Bill Cohen, Michelle Doege, Kerry Gilbert, John La Greca, Laisha Rosnau, Harold Rhenisch, Sharon Thesen, Clare Theissen, Tom Wayman and Gerry William. Many people have connections to OC’s English and Fine Arts department.
Calder mentioned that she considers taking the documentary to writing festivals, as she imagines the writers will resonate with the film.
“One of our goals was to show that the feeling I had when I got here, that I was moving to some sort of cultural wasteland, was wrong — on so many levels,” Calder said. “I discovered here a rich and dynamic community of writers who have supported me since my arrival.
Tickets are sold out for the first three gala screenings, starting April 29. You can follow the documentary at The Orange Lamphouse Studio on Facebook or theorangelamphousestudio.com for more information on future screenings.
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