We are super excited to announce that we have been approved to apply for a grant to make a documentary through Storyhive, which is “a community-powered funding program that allows members of the community to influence what projects will receive funding from TELUS. The program allows content creators in British Columbia and Alberta to submit their story ideas to an online public platform.”
Part of the process was a written and video application. Check out the video below!
This Little Piggy Didn't Go To Market Application Video
Here's the application video we made to get approved for our Storyhive project! We'll get better in front of the camera over time!
For those who are interested in a bit more detail, I'm copying and pasting the detailed project document we used to be approved for our application! Here is the text.
Detailed Pitch Document: This Little Piggy Didn’t Go To Market
Working Title: This Little Piggy Didn’t Go to Market
Team Lead: Gillian Williamson
Director: Gillian Williamson
Production Manager: Jean-Marc Robin
Producers: Blake Evernden, Gillian Williamson
Camera Operators: Gillian Williamson, Jean-Marc Robin, Kirsten Aubrey, Tom Prilesky
Sound Engineers: Tom Prilesky, Kirsten Aubrey
Editors: Gillian Williamson, Vaishnavi Khullar
We have worked with a wide variety of clients in our careers as photographers and cinematographers. Our interest in food led us to working with Christopher and Jessica Fasoli at their free range organic pig farm, where we learned about a curious relationship that had formed between Chris and one particular pig, which he just couldn’t bring himself to send to slaughter. We are both very much foodies and animal lovers, and Gillian, as a conflicted meat eater, has been interested for some time in exploring where our food comes from and who makes it. While those kinds of relationships might perhaps be commonplace to the farmers who live them, as urbanites learning about the food we eat, it remained stuck in our minds and we realized it could worth exploring. So the little piggy that didn’t go to market (that we actually met!) was the spark for this very personal project.
The relationship between Chris and that one pig was curious to us, and led us to wonder just how and why farmers producing livestock destined for the market end up developing personal relationships with particular animals, preventing them from sending those individuals to the very place they were bred to go. We also wondered how commonplace this might be. This made us realize that farm animals are far more than just numbers and dollar signs to their owners: farmers often truly care for their livestock.
At this point in time in our society, we see and hear many arguments for and against livestock farming, and why we should or shouldn’t eat meat, whether the arguments are ethical, environmental, or other. At the same time, for many people livestock is equivalent to a cut of meat in a supermarket aisle, but that may be changing as there seems to be a growing movement for people to know where their food comes from, and that it is being treated humanely. Whether farming livestock for human consumption is good or bad is not the point of our story. Our story is the undeniable fact, personally witnessed, that it is possible for relationships to form between the farmers and the animals that most people think of as a piece of meat in the butcher’s shop. Our goal is to highlight that side of farming: the personal connections that are formed between a farmer and his or her livestock. Whether that helps with consumers’ feelings towards their food or not is up to the viewer, but we hope this film will be a positive look at farming, because amidst so much negativity, a happy story can be nice!
To tell this story, we will explore the relationships between a number of farmers and their animals, both as a whole herd and with individuals, which is something not often seen by urbanites and those not in close contact with their food. Through this, we hope to show that the animals ARE more than just the numbers tattooed on their ears, and are capable of developing relationships between each other and with their farmers as well. A sub story could be the contrast between farmers’ caring for their animals and the way the meat industry works. An additional sub story could be the comparison between their feelings and ours with regards to that.
The main characters of this story will be the farmers, their animals, both saved and sent to slaughter, and possibly ourselves or an actor to carry the viewer through the film. We have so far enlisted Chris and Jessica Fasoli, whose story as mentioned above is the basis of the project. Through our relationship with them, our ever growing network of contacts, and much diligent networking and outreach, we believe we can identify and work with two to four other farmers who will be open to sharing their stories that we will explore in parallel.
We plan to start the film by introducing the various farmers and their livestock, sharing their background and asking questions such as: how did they get into what they are doing?, why are they livestock farmers?, how do they work with their herds?, while exploring other interesting topics as they arise. The collective mass of livestock will play a strong role in the introduction, as we show the farmer farming while discussing their views and stories. The main theme of the film will develop from that discussion: even livestock destined for slaughter can sometimes form relationships with their owners. At that point we may introduce how the populace as a whole views their meat supply including the increasing desire to understand more about how their food is growing. We hope to then film the farmers talking about the particular animal they couldn’t send to market and exploring those relationships: what those animals mean to them compared to the rest of their herd, and if/how this relationship affects their view on their herd as a whole. Of course, footage of that particular animal will be very important, and the farmers’ interaction with it. We will conclude with images and narrative on the farmers caring for their animals, in particular but not limited to their chosen animal friend, talking about the relationship with it. We may also show imagery of urbanites exploring farms and actually getting physically closer to their food. But, we leave it up to the viewer to decide how this changes or doesn’t change their own relationship to the meat industry.
On the technical side, our experience and skill from many commercial video projects, and combined decades of work in photo and film, will be instrumental in the completion of the project. We have developed a unique film style, which we feel will do the story justice as well as appeal to a broad audience. We plan to use drones, glide-cams, sliders, and stationary cameras to achieve the look we are known for, which is carefully composed, cinematic, and with careful attention to the light, and cinematic. Through our experience, both commercially and personally, we know what types of compositions we like, and we take great care in and are experts at evaluating the light to achieve the intended mood.
Stylistically, this will be primarily an observational documentary, letting the subjects tell their story in their own way. We are also considering having one of us, or perhaps an actor, play a narrative role, to help guide the viewers through the scenes and storylines, in a participatory way. Narrative as spoken by the subjects themselves will be very prominent, whether they are talking to the camera, or as voices over footage of their animals and their interactions with them. Some specific shots we will look for (while not limiting ourselves to these) are:
Animals frolicking and expressing their animal-ness
Farmers interacting with their animals, each other, and maybe us
Driving to locations
People shopping for meat at a regular store
In conclusion, we feel that now is a good time to tell the story of the relationships between farmers and their animals, as people become more aware of the food supply. We believe that the stories will resonate with those people, and we feel that through our experience and skill, and the connections we have made through working with clients such as the Fasolis, we are perfectly placed to carry out the project and bring it to completion.