Local photographer Eiko Jones and his partner Kim Isles have been awarded $50,000 by the Telus Storyhive initiative to fund their film, Salmon Capital – Campbell River, and they already have ambitions for sequels. Photo by Eiko Jones

Salmon Capital – Campbell River funded by Storyhive

Local filmmakers receive $50,000 for documentary, and already have a sequel planned

They were going to do it with or without the money, but now they won’t have to worry about which of those it is.

Local filmmakers Eiko Jones and Kim Isles pitched their project, Salmon Capital – Campbell River, in the most recent intake of the Telus Storyhive initiative, which awards $50,000 to filmmakers through a contest involving public voting and juried selection.

After the votes were all tabulated and the judges had their say, Jones and Isles’ project was one of the 30 out of the 382 under consideration that were selected to receive funding.

Jones says the public support throughout the process was amazing and they can’t thank the community enough.

“Unfortunately, we won’t ever know, probably, whether we were funded because of the votes or the judging,” Jones says, “but it was just great to see the support that we had within the community, because, in the end, that’s who this is for.”

But while the money is nice, it might not even be the best part of winning a Storyhive grant.

“If someone just throws $50,000 at a project and says, ‘here you go, go make a movie,’ it’s awesome,” Jones says. “But the support that Telus is giving the grant recipients is even better. They’re giving us marketing teams and technical support and creating a network of filmmakers who can all feed off each other and help each other out through this program. That’s probably worth even more than the $50,000 they gave us.”

RELATED: Campbell River’s complex relationship with salmon

The documentary, Jones and Isles say, is meant to examine the history of the town and its relationship with the iconic fish – the good and the bad – as well as the struggles we currently face within that relationship. It’s not a message-based, finger-wagging film meant to spur people into action, but Isles says it would be great if people learned something and decided on their own to make a difference in some way after seeing it.

“I think we just want to tell the story, from all the angles, and if people see the film and go, ‘I didn’t know that about the commercial fishing industry,’ or ‘I didn’t know that there are these programs in place,’ or take away something new from watching it, that’ll be a good thing,” she says. “And then if they do something positive with that information, that’s even better.”

They’re not going into the filming with an agenda. They want to let the story tell itself.

That’s not exactly the case with the sequel, however.

That’s right. There’s already a sequel in the works.

“While we’ve been working on this, we realized that there are a whole lot of people coming at this salmon problem from a lot of different angles, all working toward the same goal: helping,” Jones says. “So we thought, ‘what are we as a production company doing to make a difference?’”

To that end, they want the sequel to tell the story of a solution.

Not the solution to all the salmon’s problems, miraculously halting the decline and recovering the salmon stocks that once choked the rivers with life, but one problem in one place. Something tangible that helps in some way

“We want to bring all the people, communities and industries with a stake in salmon and run a contest to engage the smart people – the young people who can cut through the narratives and take a fresh look at alternatives – and fund a project that will make a difference,” Jones says.

But that’s for later. For now they need to focus on the current production.

They need to have a rough cut of the film to Telus by January before making the final edits for releasing the film to the public next summer. It will be released by Telus on its networks, but Jones is hopeful they can do something special for Campbell River, as well.

“We’ll hopefully be able to put something on to thank everyone and show them what their support has helped create,” he says. “We’re just not sure what that will look like yet.”

But sufficed to say, people will be watching for that announcement.

“There’s a lot of buzz about it already,” Isles says, “which is really energizing for us. It’s an amazing ride we’re on and we’re looking forward to where it goes.”

For more on the project, visit eikojonesphotography.com/salmon-capital