In 1789, Alexander Mackenzie, one of the great European explorers, traveled by canoe down the coiling boreal river the First Nations people call Deh-Cho, “Big River.” Working for a Montreal fur trader and accompanied by First Nations guides, he searched for a path to the Pacific but instead reached the Arctic Ocean. Today, it’s the Mackenzie River in Canada’s Northwest Territories, and it remains one of the least altered major rivers in the world – but a legacy of increased resource extraction (from furs to oil and gas), and unprecedented warming, is threatening the ecosystem and changing the lives of the indigenous people that still call it home.
How much has really changed since those days of early exploration?
Mackenzie’s Tributaries follows acclaimed photographer Donald Weber as he explores 21st century life in the communities along the north Mackenzie River. This short film is the first in a multi-part project investigating the social consequences of climate change in the Mackenzie River basin.
The project is being developed with the renowned climate + arts organization, Cape Farewell, who are working to initiate a cultural response to climate change, and with support from the Walter and Duncan Gordon Foundation.
Donald Weber: Explorer / Photographer
A winner of a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Lange-Taylor Documentary Prize, numerous World Press Photo awards, and many other accolades, Donald Weber is like a modern-day Hemingway. Shrugging off attacks in war-zones while capturing intimate moments, he balances being a journalist and an artist, while understanding that messages need to be communicated. His success is a result of his questioning eye, both outwards and inwards. In 2006, Donald won a National Magazine Award for photographs of the Mackenzie River Valley’s indigenous people, and won another in 2011, when he documented the effects of modern media on the Inuit, for Canadian Art. Donald was recently profiled on VICE TV’s Picture Perfect.
- Winner, PLANET IN FOCUS “Green Pitch Award”
- World Premiere, PLANET IN FOCUS ENVIRONMENTAL FILM FESTIVAL (November 2014, Toronto)
Production: Big Cedar Films
12min Documentary / HD; Nature, Arts, Environment, Adventure, History, First Nations
Directed by: Sean Wainsteim / Produced by: Geoff Morrison / Featuring: Donald Weber