iN VIDEO: Release of Kamloops-made documentary on perilous state of salmon delayed | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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iN VIDEO: Release of Kamloops-made documentary on perilous state of salmon delayed

FILE PHOTO - Spawning salmon are pictured in this undated file photo.
Image Credit: Shutterstock

A film studio in Kamloops is hoping to complete a feature length documentary that takes a deep dive into extreme climate impacts on Pacific salmon populations in the Interior of the province, and how Indigenous caretakers are working to rebuild crucial spawning habitats.

Narrated by Elder Dr. Margaret Vickers Hyslop, and rife with breathtaking aerial cinematography and underwater footage, If Salmon Could Talk has been three years in the making by the production team at Mastermind Studios.

“This film will help create more awareness around the importance of the salmon and the impacts on salmon and Indigenous people from the extreme climate events like floods, fires and heat domes,” CEO and producer Peter Cameron-Inglis said.

The film covers fish hatcheries and creeks in the Thompson River basin that are the major salmon natal stream habitat, or spawning habitat, in the region and the Fraser River it flows into. It documents the work being done by First Nations groups to help save the salmon and explains why the fish are so important to our ecosystem.

“Some of the beautiful flora and fauna in BC will cease to exist without the salmon, they are a keystone species,” Cameron-Inglis said. “If we lose the salmon we lose hundreds of other species along with them.”

Major news outlets call the production team to gather footage during environmental events in the area like flooding, fires and heat domes, some of which can be seen in the film to show why the salmon are in jeopardy from these extreme impacts.

“People don’t see how devastating these impacts are if they’re not living there,” Cameron-Inglis said. “After wildfires the soil becomes hydrophobic and that soot runs into the river and smothers the salmon eggs and kills them.”

He said BC Conservation Foundation raised funds from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to bring fisherman up from the coast to meet the Indigenous communities doing the work to save salmon. The film crew went from site to site with the fisherman, meeting Indigenous run hatcheries and salmon projects.

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“Commercial fisherman in the Lower Mainland have a bias perspective on Indigenous fishery, but when they came they were speechless at what they were witnessing,” Cameron-Inglis said. “They said they were wrong with their perceptions. Indigenous people are not the problem, they’re the answer. It’s eye opening the sheer amount of work being done.” 

The production team at Mastermind Studios faced setbacks and delays during COVID, and this year were further hampered when actors and Hollywood film and television writers went on strike for months. Roughly $300,000 has been put into the film to date and another $75,000 is needed to complete it.

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“Ten months ago the writers went on strike, then the actors went on strike and they all just came back, we couldn’t operate but still had all the overhead,” Cameron-Inglis said. “We have 20,000 square feet of studio and no work coming in, we’re running on fumes. If Salmon Could Talk should be finished by now and already in the film festival network.

“I’m part of an amazing team trying to do our best to make things work with almost insurmountable obstacles. We are extremely grateful for every single bit of assistance as we try to make a positive difference.”

Go here for more information on film projects by Mastermind Studios.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Shannon Ainslie or call 250-819-6089 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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