movie poster from nfb
I recently checked out the documentary Finding Farley from my local library. This film came out in 2009 and follows the journey of a couple, their young son, and their dog as they travel by canoe, train, floatplane and sailboat (and a small section in a $400 van) from their home in Canmore, Alberta to visit author Farley Mowat at his home in Nova Scotia. Since reading Owls In The Family as a kid (which firmly cemented owl as my favorite bird, and maybe favorite animal), I have enjoyed Mowat's works and was hence interested in seeing this film.
Remember Wol and Weeps?
This film won some major awards, such as the grand prize at the Banff Mountain Film Festival. I'm just going to back up a moment here and say that I have avoided the Banff film fest for a few years, as it seemed like many of the films were becoming terribly cliched, or were all about base jumping. Anyway, this film is not cliched (or about base jumping) - it is fantastic! The route the family takes to get to Farley's house covers over 5000km and winds through the Canadian landscape prominent to Farley Mowat's iconic stories. They read each book as they pass through the landscape in which it was set, and are even visited by a great horned owl during their 'Owls In The Family' leg (so cool!).
Mom Leanne, son Zev, and a furry 'friend' on one of the canoe legs. Photo from Open Book Toronto
The documentary is honest and shows both the ups and downs of their epic journey (portaging through the muskeg, the bugs, the controversy of some of Farley's writings, more bugs!), and features great footage of amazing Canadian wilderness and wildlife. What I liked about Finding Farley was that it was not a film about canoeing, or non-motorized travel, or wildlife, or adventure specifically, but rather that it illustrated the connection between story, place, and experience.You can watch it for free at the National Film Board of Canada's website - or it is available at the Prince George Public Library on DVD.