Caleb Behn stars in Fractured Land a film directed by Campbell River product Damien Gillis and Fiona Rayher. Photo by Zack Embree

Award-winning documentary Fractured Land and its local filmmaker return to Campbell River

“Best BC Film,” Fractured Land, is coming back to Campbell River and can be viewed in the Timberline school theatre on Monday, Oct. 23, at 6:30 p.m.

Greenways Land Trust is grateful to have co-director and Carihi grad, Damien Gillis, on board for the evening. Greenways will be hosting a Q&A session with Gillis after the screening.

“Anyone who can throw a hatchet and sue you is a force to be reckoned with.”

That’s how renowned climate activist Bill McKibben describes Caleb Behn, the charismatic subject of the Canadian feature documentary Fractured Land. With some of the world’s largest fracking operations on his territory, Behn, a young Indigenous lawyer from northeast B.C., confronts the fractures within his community, his family, and himself as he struggles to reconcile traditional teachings with the law to protect the land.

The coming-of-age story, produced and directed by first-time feature filmmakers Gillis and Fiona Rayher – in association with CBC’s documentary Channel and Knowledge Network – follows Behn as he grapples with the impact of hydraulic fracturing (or fracking) on his territory. Behn’s mother is a high-ranking oil and gas officer trying to make change from the inside; his father a residential school survivor and staunch environmentalist. Intelligent, articulate and speaking with conviction, Behn has learned how to straddle these two different worlds, whether hunting beaver, throwing hatchets or studying legal briefs.

The film had an award-winning run at the Vancouver International Film Festival in 2015, where it claimed Best BC Film and the VIFF Impact Canadian Audience Award. Fractured Land also received multiple five-star reviews and was named a Top Ten Audience Favourite at the world-renowned Hot Docs International Film Festival in Toronto.

“This isn’t an environmental or ‘issue’ film,” notes filmmaker Gillis. “Yet through Caleb’s intensely personal journey, we delve deep into important topics like fracking, resource politics and Canada’s colonial legacy.”

Vancouver-based co-director/co-producer Rayher adds: “It’s fascinating to watch this compelling and inspiring character blend modern tools of the law with traditional knowledge. He really welcomed us into his world.”

Gillis also has another film coming to Campbell River. His latest, a short documentary titled Primeval: Enter the Incomappleux, takes viewers deep inside one of the world’s last untouched stretches of ancient, temperate rainforest. It will screen at this year’s annual Haig-Brown Lecture on Nov. 3 at the Tidemark Theatre, with an introduction by the filmmaker.

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