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"A Time For Making" - a documentary by Phillip and April Vannini

April 11, 2018
By: 
Dr. Phillip Vannini
Phillip Vannini and April Vannini Documentary - A Time for Making

It's finally done.

After a year in the making, and many months in the editing, A Time For Making is now completed. The 58 minute documentary film, which I directed, and April Vannini wrote and produced, together with me, has now entered the film festival circuit. Click here for updates on the film's release.

April and I recently sat down with Creators Vancouver to answer a few questions about the film. Here is our conversation. 

Tell us a little about 'A Time for Making':

“A time for making” is meant to be an intimate look into the work and lives of nine BC artisans and the community in which they live. The film takes us into the homes, the workshops, and the studios where the nine artisans dedicate themselves to their craft. Regardless of their craft, the silversmiths, glassblowers, musical instrument maker, potter, weaver, baker, and woodworker portrayed in the film show us that making something with your hands is a deeply sensuous skill that is inspired by tradition and fueled by dedication. The film shows us that handmaking is more than work, it is truly a lifestyle.

What is your background + drive as a filmmaker?

I don’t really think of myself as a filmmaker. I am an ethnographer. An ethnographer is someone who, following the tradition of immersive anthropological research, merely serves as a conduit for other people’s stories. The camera is a medium for their stories, their experiences, and their actions. I am just a witness to whatever stories people are willing to share through the medium of the camera.

What inspired you to make the film?

As Canadians we don’t know enough about ourselves. Take the notion of “made in…” for example. We know what images “made in China” evokes, or what “made in Italy,” “made in France,” or “made in Japan” means, for example. But would we, Canadians, be so confident in describing what “made in Canada” means? And what about “made in BC? or “made on the West Coast?” April and I wanted to share what that stands for by asking nine BC makers what “made here” means to them and more specifically what made on Gabriola means to them.

Why Gabriola Island?

April and I live on Gabriola. At first the idea was to focus on the Gulf Islands in general but the more we wrote the film in our heads the more we realized that focusing on one single community would show how making something is not a purely individual activity but a relational one. In making something we make ties with those around us. By focusing on one community, our community, we were better able to show all the ties that bind makers and consumers together. Moreover, Gabriola is reputed to have one of the highest concentration of individuals who draw their income from creative work. In fewer words, Gabriola the so-called “Isle of the Arts” is one of our country’s most creative communities and it has a very unique story to share with the rest of the world.

Read the full interview here.

Phillip Vannini is a professor with the School of Communication & Culture and the College of Interdisciplinary Studies at Royal Roads University. He is also a Canada Research Chair in Innovative Learning and Public Ethnography. The film, A Time for Making, is co-produced and co-written by April Vannini, Associate Faculty member with the School of Communication & Culture.