Local photographer and senior support care worker James Headrick is delving into the world of documentary filmmaking – or at least he will be if he can secure funding for his project.

An exploration of ‘Home’

Local photographer to delve into documentary filmmaking with a
purpose close to his heart – improving the senior care model in our society

James Headrick is a trained photographer. He shoots weddings, mostly, but has dabbled in the realm of filmmaking, as well.

“I’ve done mainly shorts so far,” he says, “A few mountain biking videos, that kind of thing.”

But he’s looking to take on a much larger production as his next endeavour, and he’s working with the Campbell River Arts Council to see if they can help make it happen.

Last week he was working on the budget for the project across the desk from Ken Blackburn, Executive Director of the Council and head of public programs at the Museum at Campbell River, preparing various grant applications and researching possible funding models for what he hopes will be a feature-length documentary.

“It’s an exploration of the question ‘What is home?'” he says, taking a break from his spreadsheets.

That’s a pretty deep question. How would a documentarian, never mind a rookie one, possibly explore such a broad and diverse topic?

His plan, he says, is to focus on three specific demographics within the population.

The young, who we take care of until they can do so themselves, have one view of what “home” is.

The elderly, who we take care of once they can no longer do so, have another view.

The “independents,” as Headrick calls them, have a third.

His goal is to examine the differences in those three perceptions and look at how those differences could be used to improve the care model for our seniors.

“It’s highlighting a few different issues,” he says. “Part of it’s going to be advocating a better care model for this huge baby boomer wave that’s coming towards us, and also showing how using kids in a seniors’ home environment can help bridge that generation gap and actually help the care model.”

And it should help that he’s pulling from his own experience as the source material.

Headrick has been working at Evergreen Seniors Home in Campbell River for about nine years – the last four of which he has been full-time – and he’s been doing photography for the last decade or more.

“I’ve been seeing this story for myself over the past few years, and wondering if there was a way to tell it visually and put it together for others,” he says. “Then this year, the kids from the classroom came in and it all just kind of came together (in my head).”

He’ll be using the folks right here in Campbell River as the source material, hoping that their observations and thoughts on the matter will translate to a wider audience, and he’s confident they will.

Now he just needs to find the money to make it happen.

That’s where Blackburn comes in.

“This fits so well with two of the hats that I wear – at (both) the museum and the Arts Council,” Blackburn says.

One of the Arts Council’s focuses these days, he says, is the idea of arts-based community development, “which is the idea of using the arts to support other community organizations and social services.” This is reflected in their work with at-risk youth through the John Howard Society, their Music Therapy Program in the hospital, their partnership with the Campbell River Head Injury Society, with Family Services, and many others. “It’s about making life better by incorporating the arts into other facets of community life.”

Headrick is a prime example of the Council is trying to do, Blackburn says, because he not only works in the social service sector and brings his arts background with him to his work there, but he can also bring the work he does work in the social service sector into his art, as he is attempting to do with this film.

“And at the museum,” he says, “we do these ‘living history’ programs, which is about capturing community stories,” and telling them in videos on display at the museum.

That’s what Headrick is trying to do, as well, Blackburn says. He’s trying to tell a community story through his art while also using it to make a social impact, so the Arts Council is helping him research grants and look at possible ways of funding the project.

“There are so many different sources of funding out there,” Blackburn says. “The trick is knowing where to look for them, how to apply for it and what the people receiving the applications are looking to see when they are considering them. That’s where we can help.”

Blackburn ads many grants are of the “matching” variety, so the more money they can raise for the project, the better the chances are that they will be able to fully fund it through awarded grants.

Anyone interested in helping out with funding for the project or getting more information about this or any other arts initiatives in the region, should contact Blackburn at arts.council@crarts.ca.

Headrick says he’s also looking into the possibility of setting up a crowdfunding page on GoFundMe or Kickstarter, but that idea, like the film itself, is still in the planning stages.