In Memory of Justin Finkbonner

It is with great sadness that we acknowledge the death of Justin Finkbonner, and with great gratitude that we honor his life and good work.

Justin Finkbonner, Lummi, was one of the first people to encourage us to tell our story about the tribal relationship to the Salish Sea - Clearwater. In fact, he helped us to receive our very first grant 4 years ago from the Lummi Nation. It was a vote of confidence for us to move forward. 

Through pre-production and production, Justin showed up at many meetings (as an active leader) about environmental protection, coal train opposition, Canoe Journey, and cultural gatherings. We documented his community contributions over the years and this footage is featured prominently in the documentary storyline as well as in the community stories and museum exhibits. He was a fierce protector of his culture, his people, and the Salish Sea. Justin was a traditional dancer, singer, carver and drummer. He believed in the culture and medicine of the Canoe. As skipper of the Lummi Youth Canoe Family, he was an inspiration, a teacher, a friend. As a community activist, Justin was a key player in the opposition to the proposed coal port at Xwe’chi’eXen (Cherry Point). He paddled his canoe into the kayaktivist protest against the Shell Arctic drilling. A photo of Justin, standing in his canoe, surrounded by kayaks, made its way around the world. The protestors were successful in halting Shell’s Arctic drilling “for the foreseeable future.” Justin’s commitment to safeguarding the planet has benefitted us all.

We had hoped that Clearwater would be a celebration of Justin’s ongoing and vital work, and instead, we now hope that Clearwater will be one of many tributes to his life and spirit with the permission of his family. In Coast Salish territory it is customary to not show images of loved ones who have passed for at least one year. We honor the importance of this protocol and will work with the family in how to address the sections of the story featuring Justin.

Justin was loved for his quick and open smile, his generosity of spirit, and his loyalty to the people and place he loved. He leaves behind 2 sons, Kaiden and Liam, and a great many family members and friends.

Sincerely,

Tracy, Julie, Jacob, Lou & Crew

Clearwater Update

Dear Clearwater Supporters,

Happy Fall! We are beginning the editing and post-production process for our feature documentary, Clearwater, and wanted to give you an update on the progress we’ve made to date.

Over the past four years, we have shot over 900 hours of footage. This footage records the lives of individuals, families, and communities, three Canoe Journeys from southern parts of the Salish Sea up north to Bella Bella, and the many stories gathered at stops along the way. We’ve been honored by the honesty and hospitality along the journeys, and moved by the stories we’ve been told.

The cultures, people and waters of the Salish Sea are woven together. Featured in the film will be stories of how Indigenous peoples of the Salish Sea are holding on to traditional values and leading us all into the future. We have stories of creation, protection, activism, tragedy and celebration. Our characters speak of geoduck diving, art-making, LGBTQ rights, anti-coal trafficking work, protection of sacred grounds, the tragedy and memory of residential schools, and, in the end, a coming together of many peoples to celebrate the place we all call home. 

We have recently updated our story treatment and have started to assemble the best of our footage, and are aiming for a completed film in 2016.

Additionally, we have been working on a computer and mobile device application that will allow users to interact with stories of the Salish Sea. Twenty short films that each feature a tribe, an individual, an effort, or a history, will be accessed on a computer or mobile device simply by tapping on the location of that story on a map. Ten of the twenty “community videos” for the People of the Salish Seas computer/mobile device have been finished. 

One of these videos is a compilation of footage from Squaxin Island to Bella Bella by canoe.  It is currently on exhibition in the permanent Native American Gallery of the Seattle Art Museum. This special piece also features original music by our composer and Associate Producer BC Campbell and traditional music from the Suquamish Canoe Family. Also, several of our completed short community videos are on display as an installation on the Seattle Art Museum’s website.

And finally, you may have noticed that we have updated our clearwaterfilm.org website and we have started a Clearwater channel on Vimeo, where we will load the community stories as they are completed.

Thank you for your interest and your support of Clearwater. This is film about community, made by community. We are grateful that you are part it!


Tracy Rector, MEd
Media Activist

Clearwater – It’s Been an Adventure

People of the Salish Sea was one of the projects Washington Filmworks (WF) committed funding assistance to as part of our Innovation Cycle of the Filmworks Innovation Lab. The Lab is a groundbreaking program offering funding assistance to Washington filmmakers and filmmakers using emerging technologies.

People of the Salish Sea is the first documentary-based project to receive funding assistance through any of WF’s programs. The interactive project is made up of new media, including underwater mapping, online environments documenting the Canoe Journey, and community-produced storytelling. At the center of this project is Clearwater, a feature length documentary about the health of the Salish Sea (Puget Sound) and the unique relationship of tribal people to the water.

Longhouse Media, producers of Clearwater, documented the 2013 Paddle to Quinalt this summer. The Canoe Journey creates opportunities for tribal members to re-learn, strengthen and reinforce their canoe traditions. As many as 90 US tribes participate each year, as well as Canadian First Nations and New Zealand tribes.

WF has been privy to their journey through “production diaries” and photos they’ve shared with us along the way. Get a feel for Clearwater through the entry below, penned by Melissa Woodrow, who serves as both Location Manager and Production Assistant on the project. You can also follow their journey through the Clearwater Facebook Page.

http://blog.washingtonfilmworks.org/2013/09/04/clearwater-its-been-an-adventure/

Clearwater – We Pull Together

Earlier this month we shared the first of several “production diaries” from People of the Salish Sea, one of the projects Washington Filmworks (WF) committed funding assistance to as part of our Innovation Cycle of the Filmworks Innovation Lab. The Lab is a groundbreaking program offering funding assistance to Washington filmmakers and filmmakers using emerging technologies.

People of the Salish Sea is a production from Longhouse Media and is the first documentary-based project to receive funding assistance through any of WF’s programs. These production diaries offer a window into the filming of the feature documentary Clearwater. This documentary is the central piece of People of the Salish Sea,a larger interactive project. Clearwater tells the story of the health of the Salish Sea (Puget Sound) and the unique relationship of tribal people to the water.

Continue on the journey with Clearwater through the entry below, written by Melissa Woodrow. You can also follow their progress through the Clearwater Facebook Page.

http://blog.washingtonfilmworks.org/2013/09/25/clearwater-we-pull-together/