“Surviving the Fundy Footpath" Could Bring Worldwide Attention to the Fundy Biosphere Region at Banff Mountain Film Festival. Test Screenings to Offer Local Audiences a Sneak Peak.
Published May 17, 2016
The Fundy Biosphere Reserve, in partnership with the Fundy Hiking Trail Association and VideoBand Productions, is proud to present a community tour of test screenings for Surviving the Fundy Foothpath, a six-part web documentary series that follows Bruce Persaud, a city slicker from Toronto, with zero camping experience, as he attempts to complete one of Canada's toughest multi-day hikes. This hilarious series will have audiences cheering for the underdog and flirting with the idea of hiking the trail themselves.
The test screenings tour will begin on May 25th, 2016 (7pm to 9pm) at the Chocolate River Station in Riverview, with a Q&A for director Craig Norris as well as the stars of the series. Members of the media are invited to attend.
The Fundy Footpath traverses 60 km of the Fundy Escarpment between St. Martins and Alma, New Brunswick. Descending in and out of 19 steep ravines, it totals more than 3,000 m in elevation. Completing the footpath is like climbing to the peak of Mt. Washington, twice, back to back.
On the Fundy Footpath, when you’re not scaling the mossy ravines of the fog forest, staring off from a towering cliff top, or sleeping on a barrier beach, you’re exploring the sculpted sea floor of the mega-tidal Bay of Fundy during low tide. Physically demanding and surprisingly tough, many hikers are caught off-guard during their first Fundy Footpath expedition.
“There’s been an increase in recent years of hikers needing to be rescued from the Fundy Footpath,” say Megan de Graaf, Executive Director of the Fundy Biosphere Reserve. “Since our mandate focuses in part on building the capacity of our partners and communities, we launched this project to better prepare hikers for the Fundy Footpath experience and to build the capacity of the Fundy Hiking Trail Association, who manages the Footpath.”
Ben Phillips, Conservation Scientist with the Fundy Biosphere Reserve, explains: "We were looking for someone who had never hiked the Fundy Footpath for our video series, then I met Bruce. He is from Toronto and had never even camped before. His idea of a hike is on a concrete sidewalk, but he surprisingly agreed to learn everything about backpacking the Fundy wilderness all on video. We put together an expert support team for Bruce including Alonzo Leger who built the Fundy Footpath, his son Marc Leger who is the current Fundy Footpath Trail Master, filmmaker Craig Norris of VideoBand Productions and myself."
“Bruce is just a very likable guy,” says Craig Norris. “We meet Bruce within the first minute or two of the film, he introduces himself in 10 words or less, and from that moment forward you like the guy. Honestly, I think characters like Bruce come along once in a filmmaker's career. He was the perfect person to introduce the Footpath to the world.”
The hike took place in mid-August 2015 and was captured on high quality video. Beyond just survival, and of course, the bonding and camarderie among hikers that undertake such an adventure, the video series showcases with breathtaking imagery just how unique and incredible the Fundy Footpath is as a hiking experience.
"The Fundy Hiking Trail Association believes that trails are the perfect medium to connect people with nature," says Marc Leger. "The Fundy Footpath is a tough trail that challenges adventurers and nature seekers alike to earn each amazing view and beautiful beach along its route. We had hoped that with the proper support and guidance, even the most inexperienced hiker could appreciate not only the scenery but the struggle involved with completing the Footpath. Bruce’s journey affirmed our belief in the value of this wonderful trail through this spectacular landscape."
Audiences in the Fundy Biosphere Reserve region have a chance to preview and provide feedback on the Surviving the Fundy Footpathvideo series this spring and summer, before the series is submitted to the Banff Mountain Film Festival. If selected, the film will be screened during the 41st Banff Mountain Film Festival and could be selected for the World Tour presented by World Expeditions.
The videos will eventually be released via the web after touring the film festival circuit.
See the poster below for upcoming screening dates and locations in the Fundy Biosphere Reserve.
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The Surviving the Fundy Footpath project has been made possible thanks to funding by Mountain Equipment Co-op, Parks Canada, the New Brunswick Department of Tourism, Heritage and Culture and the Festival international du cinéma francophone en Acadie.
A big thank you to our community screening partners!