Filmmaker Jericca Cleland is bringing Team Generous Canada to the city in September to make a short film for Habitat For Humanity.

Filmmakers to give a hand up to Habitat

Project Generous is coming to Campbell River in September to help out Habitat For Humanity

When construction begins this September on the city’s second Habitat For Humanity home, a dozen filmmakers and animators will be lending hand both locally and internationally.

“This is a great opportunity and I really hope we can do something fantastic here,” says Jericca Cleland.

The Vancouver-based film director, writer and cinematographer is the woman behind Team Generous Canada which will produce its very first short film in Campbell River.

It will be an animated short, about two minutes long, that will act as public service announcement for Habitat For Humanity that can be viewed on a variety of media platforms.

“We’re going to use our filmmaking skills to wield a hammer to promote change,” says Cleland, speaking to the Young Professionals of Campbell River and members of Rivercorp on May 8.

With the scent of fermentation in the air, the group gathered at the Shelter Point Distillery to discuss the project that is coming here due to the efforts of the Campbell River Creative Industries Council.

“I think Team Generous can flourish more in a place like Campbell River rather than a big city,” notes Cleland, who runs her own film business, Twenty One Inc., in Vancouver.

Cleland’s personal connection with Vancouver Island North Film Commissioner Joan Miller is what first brought her to the area about five years ago. After meeting with like-minded professionals, the result was the Creative Industries Council, a not-for-profit society that encourages creative development and projects.

Cleland is on the advisory council and says the combination of the Habitat home and Team Generous is a great fit.

“When I started talking to Joan about Habitat, it’s like everything had come full circle,” says Cleland.

For a two-week period, Sept. 13-28, a dozen filmmakers and animators will volunteer their time to produce the video. They will also spend their first day working on the new home.

“We give families a hand up, not a hand-out,” says Deb Roth, Humanity’s executive director for Vancouver Island North, “and Team Generous is giving us a hand up.”

Team Generous also needs some helping hands in the community, particularly places for the volunteer filmmakers to stay and eat, as well as computer equipment and software. It appears they’ve already found their working headquarters.

“Wow, we’re completely jazzed about this,” says Rivercorp CEO Vic Goodman, who is volunteering their boardroom to the filmmakers.

The Elves and the Earthquake

It all seemed so important at the time, recalls Jericca Cleland.

As a cinematographer on Arthur Christmas,”she was debating with several animators where certain elves should be placed in a scene that seemingly contained, “a million elves,” and that’s when somebody walked in the room and said, “You have to see this.”

It was March 11, 2011.

A huge earthquake had just rocked Japan, followed by a tsunami that swamped the coast killing thousands.

Cleland recalls standing in the L.A. production office feeling helpless as the images rolled across the screen, including the heartbreaking scene of a sobbing girl sitting alone amidst the devastation.

“All I could think was, ‘What am I doing?’ ” she says.

Cleland was already a success in Hollywood, working with Pixar and helping develop popular edanimated films like Finding Nemo and Toy Story 2. At home in Vancouver, she runs the studio Twenty One Inc. and also makes time for her hubby and three children. Still, Cleland knew she had a lot more to give through her creative and story-telling talents, and that’s what took her to Denmark.

There she began working Frederik Villumsen of the Danish animation studio Norlum where Team Generous began.

“Team Generous is founded around the intention to do good with our talents,” reads the website.

Cleland volunteered to be one of a dozen film-makers to produce short films in support large charitable organizations and to spread the knowledge of the work they do.

Team Generous has produced three short films so far for the World Wildlife Fund, Doctors Without Borders and Save The Children.

“We use story-telling to change people…we can help shift how people think outside their normal sphere,” she says. “Each film is unique in its style and execution.”

The work was fulfilling and Cleland is proud of the short films, but still, she felt the need to do more, and that led her to create Team Generous Canada.

And the very first production for Team Generous Canada will take place in Campbell River this September.

E-mail Cleland at jericca@twentyoneinc.com