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Budding filmmakers explore Canadian identity

Leandro Vilaca and Adele Reeves teamed up to create “More than Maple Syrup,” a documentary about our national identity. They're joined by “Mr. Wired.”
Photo by Mark Pavilons

By Mark Pavilons

What does it mean to be Canadian?
Budding King Township filmmakers Adele Reeves and her husband Leandro Vilaca can now answer this question, thanks to a cross-Canada journey.
The result was “More than Maple Syrup,” a documentary that explores our Canadian identity by going right to the source – typical Canadians.
The couple was in the process of moving from Vancouver to Toronto when they decided to fulfill their dream by driving across the country and documenting just what's in the hearts and minds of average citizens.
They hit the road, in a $900 Chev G20 cargo van, and travelled from March to July of 2012.
They returned home with thousands of photographic images, video and a van covered in signatures and graffiti from people in every province. But what's more, they returned with a newfound sense of just what it means to be Canadian.
And what is that?
Reeves said some of it has to do with our connection to the land. Canada is one huge backyard that we all enjoy and it seems that almost every single Canadian has sat around a bonfire and shared stories.
She also said they found residents in remote stretches of Newfoundland, who had cabins (cottages) that were even farther away. That's a love of nature, to be sure.
As well, Canada is known for its multicultural nature, something that is still evolving. Our country, Reeves pointed out, has been home to many different cultures, long before the French and English arrived to stake their claim. In fact, humans first stepped foot in Canada more than 15,000 years ago.
Canada has a very rich aboriginal cultures and we need to embrace them.
Reeves, who has travelled throughout the world, noted in many countries they have a defining national song or dance. Canada is a relatively young nation and we don't have those defining cultural features.
Operating on a tight budget, the duo often didn't think their van would make it, but they reached St. John's and returned to Ontario in time to share Canada Day with residents in Ottawa.
Their “makeshift RV,” which served as their home on many occasions, has become a piece of art, a visual record of their journey.
Some of the documentary was filmed through the vehicle's windshield as they drove Highway 1.
The couple is sharing their experience with the public during a two-day exhibit Sept. 27 and 28. Their gallery exhibit of art pieces, videos, photography and the van itself will be at the Lions Club utility building on the area grounds. It runs 2-10 p.m. on Friday, and noon to 8 p.m. on Saturday. The public is welcome to hear and see their story and add their signatures to the van itself. Reeves said they want the public to be engaged and become part of their journey.
Part of the display is a collection of puzzle-like collages that stretch some 30 feet long. This is a somewhat stereotypical map of Canada containing tourism images, but when you move closer and look through embedded viewfinders, you will see the real Canada, as depicted by the couple in their documentary. As well, video images will be projected onto the vehicle's windshield for the show, to give people a feel for what inspired the film.
The King City show is also a means to support the couple complete the film with video and sound editing, along with musical accompaniment. They've spent a lot of their own money and would like to recoup the costs and do justice to the film.
To that end, they're using “Kickstarter,” a successful crowd-funding website for independent artists that allows the artist to retain complete creative control over their work while providing personalized, creative and interesting rewards for donors,.
To ensure the donations are put to good use, projects only get funded if they reach their fundraising goal and creators are required to set deadlines both to reach their goal and to deliver their rewards if the campaign is successful.
Reeves said they have set their goal at $17,500 and they are asking the public for support. The campaign runs until Oct. 10.
Donors will receive something of value for donations from as little as $10. For larger donations, as well as corporate contributions, you can actually become a co-producer on the project.
If they reach their goal, the funds will be used to hire an animator; pay post-production costs; purchase music rights and create a French language version.
Money aside, it's passion that drives them.
Everyone in the country deserves to see More than Maple Syrup.
For more, visit
Excerpt: What does it mean to be Canadian? Budding King Township filmmakers Adele Reeves and her husband Leandro Vilaca can now answer this question, thanks to a cross-Canada journey.
Post date: 2013-09-24 15:11:56
Post date GMT: 2013-09-24 19:11:56
Post modified date: 2014-06-11 12:04:40
Post modified date GMT: 2014-06-11 16:04:40
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