Director: George Tsougrianis
Executive Producers: Carol Andrews, Lloyd Begley
Starring: Thelma Poirer, Shelly Duquette Larson, Dr. Emily Bamforth
Film Festivals: Yorkton Film Festival, Berlin Lift Off Film Festival
Written by George Tsougrianis
In many ways, we’ve been working on this documentary for 13 years. My first introduction to Grasslands was in 2006 during the Bison reintroduction. As the herd ran across the prairie I remember being in awe of the iconic image I had just witnessed. Since then we’ve captured many visuals of the people, species, and landscapes. But like so many other exotic landscapes, Grasslands must be experienced again and again before you can begin to understand the splendor and magic of this special place.
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Grasslands National Park is one of the largest areas of undisturbed mixed prairie grassland in Canada and is a destination for visitors from around the world. The vast landscape commands your attention while the immense sky overwhelms the first time visitor with wonder and contemplation.
Spanning over 700 square kms, the park is located near Val Marie in Southwest Saskatchewan. It’s divided into the West and East Block with two entirely different terrains. From the rolling hills and the sea of grasslands in the West Block to the rugged badlands in the East Block. It’s a land steeped in history dating back thousands of years.
In this documentary, we examine how the landscape supported the various cultures of people who inhabited the area and how the dream of creating a National Park was realized.
One of the many special people that Grasslands has attracted over the years is photographer James R. Page. He has photographed thousands of images during his many expeditions to the park.
“Grasslands National Park is home to a number of rare, threatened, and endangered species. This is one of the park’s unique characteristics, and a major reason why I was drawn to the place three decades ago.
That fascination has not faded over time. There is something very special about spending time in the company of wild crittera that are perfectly free to leave the area whenever they so choose – and often that’s exactly what happens. My approach is mostly passive and patient, to allow them to come to me. And in the back of my mind, always, is the recognition that every configuration of light and shadow, of form and texture, of flashing coyote eyes or furious wingbeats of a bird that’s decided it has had enough of me, will never occur again.
It will always be different. It will always be fresh. Those moments when I really see it, really connect with it on a deep level, are both immensely challenging and tremendously rewarding.
The wild prairie of Grasslands captivated me the first time I came to visit in 1989, camping alone near a prairie dog town, and beneath thundering skies. Captivated? It grabbed me by the throat! It bowled me over like a feather in a 100-km gust of wind, and it has never stopped. I hope it never will.”
You can follow James on Flicker follow him here
If you would like to view more stories about Grasslands National Park, we recently produced a mini documentary about the Fossil Fever event that takes place in the East Bock.