Jenina MacGillivary and Tamara Segura on their Adventure Canada Wildlife Cruise

Photograph by Dan Bailey

Photograph by Dan Bailey

We talked to RBC Michelle Jackson Emerging Filmmakers Award winners, Jenina MacGillivary and Tamara Segura about filming on the Adventure Canada Wildlife cruise this July. The cruise travelled from St.John’s to St.Pierre and along the coast of Labrador. This year Adventure Canada has donated a ticket to The Film Lover's Lottery (winners also have the of option buying a second ticket at a 50% discount). The Film Lover's Lottery is a fundraiser that supports the St.John’s International Women’s Film Festival and the RBC Michelle Jackson Emerging Filmmakers Award. Lottery prizes will be drawn at the ExxonMobil Closing Night Gala and there are still some tickets available!!

For a chance to win a place on an upcoming cruise and several other exciting prizes buy a ticket online here.

SJIWFF: Can you tell us a bit about the filmmaking you were doing on the Adventure Canada Wildlife Cruise?

J: Adventure Canada is donating a ticket to the Film Lover’s Lottery, so some lucky person will win an Adventure Canada cruise. It really is more of an adventure than your typical cruise.

We were making promotional videos about the cruise for Adventure Canada.The scenery was spectacular so at first I was focusing on capturing that. As we travelled further north and spent more time on the ship, I started to realize that although the scenery was totally mind blowing the people on the cruise and the reasons they were there were also fascinating; maybe someone just lost a spouse or maybe it was someone’s dream since they were a little kid to see icebergs.The people started to become the focus of our little movies. We met three women who were in their nineties and had met in a meditation class ten years ago. They walked up the Tourngat Mountains together with their canes.

I met a cameraman who shot the last fifteen minutes of David Cronenberg’s “The Fly”. There were points where I was kind of struggling with the camera and he would sit down with me for a couple of hours and advise me. He was a great mentor. We met a lot of really interesting people. Margaret Atwood was on the cruise.

SJIWFF: Did you (Jenina and Tamara) know each other before you went on the Adventure Canada cruise?

T: We’ve been friends for a while, we actually met through the Women’s Film Festival. The first time I saw her was at a Scene & Heard workshop.

J: I think it was at the LSPU Hall, it was a Women’s Film Festival screening, you were volunteering and you came to wrong place and I sent you to the Arts and Culture Center. I was like ‘who is that girl, I need to get to know her'. Just kidding, sort of.

T: The second time I saw her we sat together, it was two years ago and my english wasn’t as good. I kept whispering, ‘Jenina, what are they saying? Jenina, translate for me’. So yeah, we had a relationship before we went on the cruise, actually Jenina is my best friend in town.

J: On the cruise we lived together for two weeks in a really small room. We shot everyday, we took a camera up the Torngat Mountains for example. We were shooting the landscape and doing interviews. We had to agree at the last second on what we were going to shoot and who we were going to interview. It was a very guerrilla style filmmaking experience. We really had to be on the same page and be patient with each other.

T: I’m so proud we made it through that experience together. It’s very intense when you’re taken out of your comfort zone. We were getting up at six in the morning, I normally don’t have that kind of life, I’m not really a morning person. There was a lot of physical activity, we were in a completely new place where it was impossible to leave. I think it was great training for future projects.

SJIWFF: What was the most interesting thing you learned on the cruise?

J: I learned a lot about Inuit culture. I met a very interesting and inspiring Inuit woman. She told her story of being relocated from Hebron in fifty-nine. She explained the effect that had on her and her family. She felt isolated in her own community in Nain, like an outsider.She and many people in her family turned to substance abuse. She went down a dark, difficult road and came out the other end.She opened my eyes to the challenges that many Inuit people are facing in Canada. Hebron felt like a sacred place to me, I felt very strong emotions there.

T: It felt like a huge privilege to get to see these very isolated places. After coming from Cuba those places felt like a different planet to me. What I enjoyed the most was what I resisted the most at first which was being part of a group. The first few days I was having a difficult time adapting because I’m not used to being in big groups of strangers but that ended up being the part I cherished the most. This very clear arc happened in just ten days, I learned about myself.

J: I think Adventure Canada is very unique, it doesn’t feel like a business. It’s a family run company, Cedar Swan and Jason Edmonds who run it are married and Cedar’s father owns the company. They really reach out to the communities they visit.It really feels like you’re part of a group that’s trying to have an authentic experience of these places.

See More of Dan Bailey's Photographs of the Adventure Canada Wildlife Cruise here.