Sault natives amongst filmmakers featured in 6th annual film festival across the river – SooToday

Sault natives amongst filmmakers featured in 6th annual film festival across the river - SooToday
Sault natives amongst filmmakers featured in 6th annual film festival across the river
Cuts to provincial funding are forcing the conservation authority in Sault Ste. Marie to lay-off staff and scrap children's programs.

General manager Corrina Barrett says the money will instead be spent on flood protection and erosion control, after the funding the agency receives from the provincial government for those programs, was slashed in half.

The $63,000 cut to provincial funding will also see long-term maintenance on flood channels in Sault Ste. Marie put on hold.

"It's a little daunting to think, especially during times when we see significant flooding happening throughout Ontario, that the programs that are meant to deal with those are the programs that are being cut," Barrett said.

The Minister of Natural Resources recently wrote a letter requesting all conservation authorities to not seek a municipal tax hike or raise user fees in order to make up the budget shortfall.

That's exactly what Sault Ste. Marie is doing, but Barrett says with one less employee and two others downgraded to part-time hours, day-to-day operations will be a challenge.

"We're trying to become more efficient at getting these permits out, but the difficult part is that we're also losing our staff members that are helping with the stuff on the side, so we're having to pick that up as well. Sometimes those other programs fall through the cracks anyway," she said. 

At Sault Ste. Marie city council Monday night, councillor Matthew Shoemaker said he was pleased with how the conservation authority is handling its finances.

Other conservation authorities in the northeast are facing similar budget crunches this fall and expect to be making some of those same tough decisions in October. 

Erik White is a CBC journalist based in Sudbury. He covers a wide range of stories about northern Ontario. Connect with him on Twitter @erikjwhite. Send story ideas to [email protected]

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Soo Film Festival is celebrating six years of great lakes and great movies Sept. 12-15 in downtown Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. Films will be screened at the historic Soo Theatre and Bayliss Public Library, a Superior District Library.

Hailing from Sault Ontario, Director Lee Chambers will be returning to the Soo Film Festival with the short Copenhagen Road. This film tells the story of Craig, a mechanic, who reluctantly agrees to help Nicole, a desperate young woman with a flat tire, in a car all too familiar to him. It will screen Friday Sept. 13 at 6:00 p.m. at Soo Theatre. 

Sault College students will showcase films they've created, Douglas A. Ewen's with Bi Polaroid and Vladimir Sokolskyy's two shorts, Blood Orange and Crime and Punishment will appear in the festival. Filmmakers Luke Grandmont and Dallas Varcoe, both Sault Ste. Marie natives, filmed Reminiscing in the Sault, and writer and lead Norris Pyette has called this city his home for over 60 years. Lastly, Jimmie Chiverelli's Bosnai Dream was written, shot and edited in Sault Ste. Marie.

Other Canadian documentary features and shorts that will be amongst those shown include From Seed to Seed by Winnipeg filmmaker Katharina Stieffenhofer, C3's Coast to Coast to Coast, B.C university student Scott Franchuk's Tell Me About Yourself, Ava Torress and Helmann Wilhelm's Toronto-based film All Things Beautiful, Ottawa's Lorelei E. Miller's The Gift,, and Jonathan Elliot's Even in the SIlence, Taken Home, and Her Water Drum, made on the Six Nations Reserve and in Toronto, Michael Zamanis' Pronounced: North London Darby, shot on York University campus in Toronto, Jack Belhumeur's Respect Your Elders, Chum, filmed in Thunder Bay, and Deb Ethier's She Rode North which was filmed in Ontario.

Festival president Jason Markstrom said, “Canada always impresses us with the talent and variety in their filmmaking. Every year we look forward to seeing what they have for us, especially our friends right across the river in Sault, Ontario.”