Wednesday, 15 January 2014 13:27

Gull Lake couple making documentary on the southwest

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Having only lived in Gull Lake for just under a year, Craig and Layla Baird fully appreciate what the southwest has to offer.


So much so, they believe the area needs a full-length documentary. Calling it Southwest Stories, the Bairds are looking for contributions — both story wise and financial — because it will provide a showcase of what makes the area unique. They want to help build tourism and show the people, places and things which make the area “an amazing place to live.”
“Southwest Stories is a documentary about us, the people of southwest Saskatchewan, the communities we live in and the landscape we call home,” explains Craig in an email interview. “We really want this documentary to be a community project. From having farmers help out making a blind so we can record and photograph wildlife, to going behind the scenes with centennial preparations.
“Our goal is to show the world why our little region is a gem. Often overlooked for flashier spots in Canada, southwest Saskatchewan has far more to offer than many realize. Let’s show the world what they are missing.”
The two  operate a videography/photography business. They operate Gull Lake Life, which is a video feature channel focusing on Gull Lake. They  created it because Craig indicates there “really was no video presence here.”
The Bairds’ target market for the documentary is anyone who wants to learn more about the southwest, as well as the residents who already live here. Their main goal is to get it out to individuals and be as far reaching as possible. Due to the cost of expenses and equipment, they are looking for funding through GoFundMe.com (http://www.gofundme.com/63r1k0).
They are planning on releasing it on YouTube right now, since they feel that will be the best option for sharing and distribution through social media. They  are hoping to show it at the Gull Lake’s theatre as well, and submit it elsewhere for festivals. They have plans to put together some DVDs that can be offered through some of the tourist booths in the southwest.
They knew they were on to something when they first moved to Gull Lake.
“Layla and I moved here in March and quickly discovered that the southwest portion of the province was not ‘Saskatchewan-flat’,” explains Craig. “The first time we drove down into the Frenchman Valley, we were astonished at the landscape. As we explored more, we discovered Pine Cree Regional Park, the Cypress Hills, and so much more. Southwest Saskatchewan has so much to it, from the sand dunes, down to the only remaining natural prairie grasslands, to Big Muddy, and over to the highest point between Banff and Labrador (Cypress Hills). It is an amazing place and it has an amazing culture. So many people have so many great stories to tell here, and really we just want to tell the story of the southwest.”
While the southwest is showcased and advertised elsewhere, Baird believes the reason why their production will stand out will be because of the topic matter and the events which are happening in 2014.
“We are lucky this year because there are so many centennials happening, in Eastend and Ponteix for example. This gives us the unique chance to capture this moment in time for the documentary and really celebrate this area of the province,” explains Baird.
“We also want our production to be all-encompassing, from the history and the culture, to the stories of the people who have lived here for 75 years or more. If it happens this year, we want to capture it. Everything that makes the southwest great, we want in the film. It is a huge project, but we hope it provides something for everyone. Naturally, it is a huge project that will take many months to complete, hence why we are fundraising.”
Craig and Layla have enjoyed Gull Lake having moved to the southwest Saskatchewan community after having lived in High River where he was the editor of the High River Times. Craig was born and raised in Alberta and came out to Gull Lake with Layla because of a media job.
“We both decided to go in a different direction with our careers in the fall and focus on our first loves of photography and videography,” explains Craig.
“For the past few months, we have been doing video work for clients around Saskatchewan and North America, while also working on capturing the southwest through Layla’s photos.We had moved a lot in Alberta, trying to find a place we could afford and it was a struggle. We came here and instantly fell in love with Gull Lake and southwest Saskatchewan. The area seems to have a slower pace of life that we love, and the landscape is just amazing in all seasons. We decided to stay and bought a home."

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Ryan Dahlman

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