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CHILDREN OF AFRICA

May 30, 2010

There aren’t many things in this world that make me happier than kids: hearing them laugh, watching them play, being inspired by their lack of fear and impeccable honesty…children make my heart smile.

During our shoot in Africa, I shared precious moments with children of all ages. Most of the time our exchanges lasted only a few seconds – yet, those speedy stranger-to-stranger encounters impacted me equally than some relationships I’ve nurtured for years.

From foosballing kids in Tanguieta to dancing kids in Pendjari, here’s an ode to their radiant energy.

PREMIERS EXTRAITS DU DOCUMENTAIRE

May 21, 2010

Les premiers extraits du documentaire viennent de sortir sur Escapades.TV! C’est la première fois que je vois les images des entrevues que nous avons tournées en Afrique, et je suis vraiment fière du résultat.

La sortie officielle du documentaire aura lieu en Novembre 2010, mais d’ici là, voici de quoi vous mettre sous la dent!

HUNTING IN PENDJARI

May 13, 2010

On Day 6 of our shoot in Africa, Etienne, Bruno and I went to visit a hunting camp which is part of the sustainable initiatives put in place on the Reserve of Pendjari.

You have to understand that while no one lives on the reserve (to protect vegetable and animal life), there are controlled zones on the outskirts of the reserve where agriculture and hunting are allowed. On the outskirts of those  zones are the actual villages where people live. So…

That morning we all grabbed our equipment and headed to one of the hunting camp, to talk to hunters and villagers and see how the hunting safaris functioned and benefited the community. The minute we started taking the cameras out of the vehicule, loud sirens echoed afar. One of the villagers quickly explained to me that the sirens were announcing a group of tourists who were arriving from a successful hunt.

By the time I fetched my camera out of my bag, the two European hunters who had killed the buffalo had proceeded to drinking a cold beer, so before interviewing them, I decided to film the locals who took care of taking the animal out of the truck in order to  proceed with the weighing and measuring.

(There is blood and a dead animal in this video. So you know. Also, if you don’t speak French, feel free to jump to the one minute mark. I’m basically explaining in French what’s written in this post)

I have never been a big fan of hunting. In fact, I still don’t consider it a sport, but that is all a matter of perspective. You might remember me mentioning the hunting was a sustainable initiative. The reason for that is mainly because the meat of the safari hunts is redistributed amongst villagers.

The hunting zones are also managed by the associations of villagers, who directly contribute and look out for the well-being of their habitat.

Surprisingly, my biggest shock experiencing this at 8 in the morning was not it didn’t gross me out at all. Here are some pics.

BEHIND THE SCENES: PRAYER IN BENIN

April 25, 2010

After shooting for three days in the World Biosphere Reserve of Pendjari, our team went to meet villagers whose lives are directly impacted by the initiatives set in place through AVIGREF, the local associations who are involved with the Reserve’s activities.

That morning, I was on my way to interview Fidel, a woman who participates in the “Logement chez l’Habitant” program. Fidel manages a few rooms behind her home, where she welcomes visitors in search of sustainable travel alternatives.

When I arrived, she was praying, and invited me to join her and her neighbours…so I filmed a few images as a witness to the spiritual rituals of that community.

INTRODUCING THE TEAM: ETIENNE

April 20, 2010
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Etienne Michaud Ste Marie – Director and Cameraman

After months backpacking in Australia, Etienne enrolled at the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema of Concordia University in Montreal. He graduated with a Film Productions specification and then decided to return to his home turf, in Baie-Comeau, Quebec, in order to start working as a cameraman and editor, as of spring 2009. Biosphere, Tomorrow is Now, is his first directing gig at Biosphere Television, and fingers crossed, is the beginning of a great adventure for his directing career.

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As part of these “Introduce the Team” posts, I decided to ask my partners a few questions…

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What is the part you enjoy the most about shooting this documentary?

The documentary is a chance in a lifetime to acquaint ourselves with places we probably would have never been without the project. But beyond the travelling, what I love the most is the magic of transforming our discoveries into meaningful images.

What impact do you think the documentary will have on your life?

The documentary will leave its trace on my life in many ways. The people, the intitiatives…as a man of images, I think the visions of these diverse countries is what’s going to stick with me the most.

What are the biggest difficulties you have faced or think you will face shooting the doc?

With the first destination, Africa, now behind us, I’d have to say the difficulties were there, but not unconquerable. From a technical point of view, the lack of electricity and the excessive dust slowed down the production a little bit. Otherwise, the blazing heat, lack of water and the long days, which were extremely demanding physically, had a bit of an impact on the team.

What’s your vision of the future for humanity? What are your hopes?

I truly believe in humanity and in its capacities to make the right decisions. I think the main quality of man is its capacity to adapt. We’ve done it for centuries and we will keep on doing it. This documentary is a witness of that.

Etienne is on Facebook, don’t be shy to connect with him if you have any questions.