It was a year ago this month that Kelowna filmmaker Carey Missler had the spark of inspiration for his second feature film. Kelowna born and raised and a graduate of the digital film program at the Centre for Arts and Technology, Missler has always been fascinated by water and had explored the topic in his first film The Canadian Surfer Movie.
One of his interview subjects in that movie was Bob Purdy, the Kelowna man who has vowed to Stand Up Paddle Board every day to fight for the environment.
As Purdy continued on his own personal mission and Missler was struck by inspiration to look into Purdy’s story in more detail, the two came together last year, working on an idea for a film. A quick phone call sealed the deal and the pair went into pre-production, getting sponsors involved and beginning to put their ideas to paper and eventually onto film.
Fast forward one year and The Paddler Movie, a documentary-style feature, is complete and will be shown for the first time in Kelowna, at the Kelowna Community Theatre Jan. 24. It tells a story about water, the environment and what’s going on with the planet through the eyes of Purdy, who next month, incredibly, will celebrate his 1,500th straight day of paddle-boarding.
“We just completed the movie last week,” said Missler, 34. “I’ve looked at it a thousand times and I’m pretty happy with it. It’s really cool. It’s what I envisioned it to be. The movie focuses a lot on awareness of water and the environment. It’s not really harping on people so much as just bringing awareness to what’s going on. One of the main things you learn is that water is all connected, from rivers to lakes and into the oceans so if you effect one part of water somewhere it’s going to have an overall effect everywhere else.”
While Missler has been in the editing studio putting the finishing touches on the film, watching it time and again, Purdy will wait to view the finished product with audiences in Kelowna.
“Carey asked me if I wanted to see the finished film and I thought I would wait and watch it at the premier,” said Purdy. “I know all the bits and pieces. I know it’s going to be absolutely amazing. Where Carey’s magic is is in the editing process. It’s been a blast working on this. We met some awesome people along the way. When I look back and think about the people that have helped get this movie done it’s unbelievable.”
Through rain and shine and snow, and as the film crew shot on location around the province, including in Tofino where they met with regarded First Nations artist Roy Henry Vickers, Purdy maintained his schedule of paddling every day. Since he began his journey, over four years ago, there has not been one day Purdy has not hit the water on his board. And while his Paddle for the Planet movement has gone worldwide, there have been successes and failures.
“The message has always been we need to change the way we live on the planet so everything I do is geared toward that,” he said. “We have made some gains and in some ways we have gone backwards. We really need to reach everyday people. There is a small percentage of people driving everything and the rest of us are in limbo. My project is trying to reach that mainstream population with this message and try to get people to take some action.”
— Lisa Rummel (@LisaCRummel) January 14, 2015
Debuting the film in Kelowna is something special for Missler and Purdy, especially since supporters had a huge hand in helping the film get to this point. Midway through the process, the film launched a Kickstarter campaign, a public movement to raise money and complete the film. It was key to getting distribution and raised $10,500, surpassing the fundraising goal and allowing the pair to complete the project.
Being able to bring the film to Kelowna audiences who supported the venture is rewarding for the pair.
“I think it’s awesome,” said Missler. “We had a lot of support from our hometown through the process. So many people helped us out to finish the film. It was an amazing experience. The community support….you never think it’s going to happen but in our case it all worked out.”
Missler has secured a distribution deal for the movie to be released online and on TV and the The Paddler Movie premier is set for Saturday Jan. 24 at Kelowna Community Theatre, beginning at 6 p.m. with socializing, prizes and the movie followed by a wind up party at Bacaro.
Tickets are at www.DCDProductions.ca and also available at The Centre For Arts & Technology.