A loving look at rural life in Alberta and Saskatchewan

Following a successful ‘world premier’ tour of nine small communities in Alberta and Saskatchewan, the National Film Board has put the 10 short films in its Grasslands Project online.

Last year, filmmaker Scott Parker spent six months in Saskatchewan and Alberta to create the 10 films based on community-generated ideas.

Subjects, themes, and even interview questions were based on community input, and each film was screened for the participants to get their feedback and final approval.

Films dealing with the transition of generations — such as Generations and Life Out Here — drew especially strong responses at the screenings, held in Magrath, Coutts, Foremost, and six Saskatchewan communities in May.

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Generations is about a 19-year-old and his father as the son prepares to follow in the footsteps of his father while in Life Out Here, women ranchers discuss how they can ranch as well — or better — than men.

Homecoming looks at summer gatherings in Magrath and how these sorts of community events are a major force in keeping rural communities vibrant. The film looks at the celebrations through the experiences of volunteers who make them happen.

Other films include a look at how cattle are not a threat but part of the solution to preserving grassland (A Rancher’s View); the last surviving member of a homesteading family (The Last One); life in a very small community (Population 21); and volunteer firefighters (After the Fire).

All 10 films can be viewed at no cost at grasslands.nfb.ca.

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