This Saturday, a short film I made is being screened at the New Urbanism Film Festival in LA. Sadly, I will not be in LA to see it live and talk to the audience and other film-makers. I'd like there to be a place to field any questions or discussion about the film though, so here is the Strong Towns premiere of Do Season.
A short documentary on economic development the hard way. Based in Fredericton, Canada, Do Season tells the story of an entrepreneurship program which has begun to change the ambitions and morale of an under-performing city.
Two years ago, I was asked to design an entrepreneurship accelerator that was different from the rest. That challenge led me to investigate deeply the role that entrepreneurship can play in a community and the ways we could make that role more positive. The resulting program (The Summer Institute) is more of a decelerator, coaching entrepreneurs to slow down and design businesses that do good. For two summers now, I’ve had my camera on our participants as a communications mentor helping them develop their own multimedia. However, reflecting on the ripple effect these businesses were having on our community, I felt compelled to do something more with that footage.
To me, the most important thing about what we’re doing is that it’s here. Fredericton doesn’t live in the realities of big or iconic cities. It’s largely off the radar culturally and contends with the perennial rural challenges of brain drain and economic stagnation. We don’t pretend to have solved either, we’re just taking slow and difficult steps in the right direction. I have to believe that more often than not, this is the work that matters in cities like ours - the cities of the rest of us.
Do Season is my first attempt at an official documentary short. I like to call my self-taught, one-person film crew the Ministry of Makeshift.
This film was made possible thanks to the support of the Dr. J Herbert Smith Centre for Entrepreneurship at the University of New Brunswick. It features the mentors and participants of The Summer Institute, run by the same. Gracen Johnson was the program designer and communications mentor of The Summer Institute.