Koneline documentary aims to challenge stereotypes

Wild Productions' recent documentary challenges stereotypes about who in northwest B.C. supports and opposes development.

Workers steer a power line transmission tower

For many people, B.C. Hydro’s $716 million Northwest Transmission Line was just the ticket needed to provide work and boost the local economy in the early part of this decade.

Beginning at the BC Hydro Skeena Substation just south of Terrace, the transmission line now runs 344 kilometres north, providing the power for one mine so far, the Red Chris copper and gold mine. It also feeds power from three run of the river projects into the provincial grid.

But the line also cuts through traditional First Nations territory, drawing worries and criticism from members among those First Nations who also benefited first from the line’s construction and now from the industries it services.

It’s that kind of contradiction which makes the Northwest Transmission Line one of the central features of Canadian documentary filmmaker Nettie Wild’s latest production known as Koneline (Tahltan for “our land beautiful”).

Released earlier this year and coming to various locations in the northwest now, Koneline has already won several awards.

Known for documentaries which bring a strong message, Nettie Wild has been in the northwest before.

She produced Blockade in 1993, the story of Gitxsan protests surrounding land claims in the Hazeltons, and this time Wild says she wants people’s stereotypes of who is against development and who is in favour to be challenged simply by the images in Koneline.

“I wanted to chisel through the rhetoric that’s happening around development,” says Wild.

Using the latest film-making technology, Wild’s chisel is her camera, which takes in the wilderness as well as human events such as a Tahltan stick game, skinning a moose, workers struggling to place a massive power line tower as it dangles  from a helicopter, and a Tahltan blockade of the then-under construction Red Chris mine. That latter sequence includes an appearance at the blockade by provincial energy minister Bill Bennett.

There’s very little talking in Koneline and Wild calls it a form of “visual poetry.”

“The number one response so far is ‘thank you for telling us what not to think’,” says Wild of the reaction at Koneline’s showings.

Wild credits the willingness of First Nations people and of people working within industry to give her access to their lives in shaping Koneline as a documentary portraying the many issues surrounding development.

“My goal was how to take people past their assumptions,” said Wild.

“How can I surprise you and move you?”

Koneline is 96 minutes in length and shows in Terrace on Nov. 14 at 7 p.m. at the Tillicum Twin Theatre. Co-presenters are Friends of Wild Salmon and the Skeena-Nass Centre for Innovation in Resource Economics. In Hazelton at Gitanmaax Tri Town Theatre, Nov. 15 at 7 p.m.

Just Posted

Construction on Upper Skeena Arena going smoothly after a tough winter

Pilot project to train indigenous young people for recreation leadership position underway

Gryphons soar over track and field records at zone championships

Smithers Gryphons dominated the meet with many personal bests and numerous Zone and school records.

Firefighters work 10 hours on Telkwa house fire

Tough conditions kept Smithers and Telkwa firefighters busy at fire with no injuries.

Victim wants women to come forward

Reporting sex assaults helps police track down criminals.

SSS students celebrate Pride

Smithers Secondary School holds its second annual Pride Day celebration.

Trans Mountain pipeline: How we got here

A look at the Kinder Morgan expansion, decades in the making

Giant beer tanks arrive in new B.C. home city

Molson Coors tanks finish river journey and move to overland trip in Chilliwack

VIDEO: Pipeline supporters rally across B.C.

Five simultaneous events organized by month-old Suits and Boots lobby group

VIDEO: B.C. woman praises burn fund after boat explosion in 1978

White Rock woman was 16 years old when she was left with second- and third-degree burns

B.C.’s Ryan Craig, Vegas Golden Knights chase history

Local product behind bench for expansion team’s incredible championship run

CP rail workers give strike notice

Employees could walk out as early as Tuesday at 7 p.m. PT

Suspected scammer attempts to use Black Press newspaper to dupe woman

Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre offers tips after Langley resident received suspicious call

Vote points to abortion being legalized in Ireland

Voters asked whether to keep or repeal Eighth Amendment to Roman Catholic Ireland’s Constitution

Most Read