Film review: Stand

Kamloops Global Film Festival lays foundation for discussion on taking global action

TRU students attended the second annual Global Film Festival at TRU’s Alumni Theatre Feb. 6 to 8. The festival showed 16 different films exploring various global issues ranging from social oppression to environmental concerns. For more information on the films screened at the festival, visit

Alexis Stockford, Contributor Ω

Image courtesy Optic Nerve Productions

Image courtesy Optic Nerve Productions

Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline project is one of the most controversial topics in Canada today, and one that filmmakers Anthony Benello and Nicholas Teichrob take on with flair in their award-winning piece, Stand.

The proposed Northern Gateway pipeline would transport oil from the Alberta tar-sands through the mountains to B.C.’s Kitimat. From there the oil would be loaded onto tankers and go through the maze of islands making up the Great Bear Rainforest before reaching the open ocean.

Enbridge says that the project will bring economic prosperity, but many Aboriginal bands are outraged, saying the project will destroy the environment and their way of life. There is serious concern that the tanker route is too dangerous and may lead to catastrophic oil spills.

Stand is dominated by Aboriginal issues. Cultural reliance on the land and ocean is a common theme, offset by dire warnings of Northern Gateway’s impact. In one part, Bella Bella High School student Blake Carpenter describes how she personally relies on the ocean both culturally and for food sustainability.

“For all that to be threatened by an oil spill, it would be devastating,” she said on screen. “Everything would be gone.”

If Stand has one strength, it’s cinematography. Bonello and Teichrob take the story of Norm Hann, who travelled the entire 400 kilometre tanker route on his paddleboard in 2010, and use it to guide the film.

Following his path, Stand transports the audience through the rich history and beauty of the Great Bear Rainforest.

Stand is effective because it reaches its audience emotionally. Majestic images of whales, forests and crashing waves awe the audience, while intimate interviews showcase the lives, hopes and feelings of the people who live there.

“Take a look,” the film seems to say. “This is what we lose if we let this happen.”

Whether or not you support the Northern Gateway pipeline, the sheer artistry of Stand makes it worth watching. Bonello and Teichrob bring the Northern Gateway debate into startling clarity, creating a film that is both engaging and entertaining.

For more information on Stand, see the official website at