Line in the Sand, a documentary film about the impacts of Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline, is premiering in communities across Northern B.C.
Filmed over the course of two years, the documentary tells the story of people who would be directly affected by the Northern Gateway pipeline.
“We wanted to meet the people in the path of the Northern Gateway and learn from others who already had pipelines on their land,” said Co-director and Producer Tomas Borsa.
In 2010, Enbridge Inc. proposed the construction of a 1200-kilometre pipeline from Bruderheim, A.B., to Kitimat, B.C. In June, 2014, the Canadian government accepted the project’s proposal, but imposed 209 conditions recommended by the National Energy Board.
“The aim of the film is to illustrate that in addition to the fairly obvious and inevitable physical disruptions inherent in a project of this size, this is a project with significant psychological, cultural and political impacts,” said Borsa. “Disturbing a place felt to hold spiritual value – to both Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples – is bound to come with some very serious consequences and resistance.”
The screening of Line in the Sand took place in Burns Lake on April 4, 2015, at the Beacon Theatre. The directors were in attendance and answered questions after the film. Although a wider release of Line in the Sand will take place in the summer, Borsa said it was important to premiere this documentary in Northern B.C.
“We wanted to premiere the film in Northern B.C. as a condition of respect to those impacted by the project [Northern Gateway],” he said. “We wanted to respect the intrinsic link between place and identity felt by many who live in the path of the pipeline by holding the first screenings in the regions in question.”
When asked why this pipeline in particular has raised so much controversy, Borsa explained that the Northern Gateway is the first pipeline of its kind to be proposed in this area of Canada.
“Certain areas of Alberta and Northeastern B.C. are already labyrinths of pipelines,” he said. “The area that the Northern Gateway would cross is not; it is largely undisturbed, sensitive, and pristine. A lot of British Columbia’s identity is tied to the preservation of that [area].”
“We’ve reached a liminal moment in Canadian history, in which falling oil prices, coinciding with a fall federal election, mean that energy politics will be at the forefront of conversation for quite some time,” said Borsa. “The Northern Gateway is the single most salient and significant marker of that trend in Canada.”
Borsa said the response to the film so far has been “incredibly positive.”
“We received a standing ovation at our premiere screening in Prince George, and a fair number of people have come up to us crying to thank us for making the film,” he said. “It’s been humbling, affirming, and overwhelming all at the same time.”
For more information, visit www.lineinthesand.ca, or the project’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/lineinthesandproject.