The City of Nelson, British Columbia (population 10,000) has been a mountain town refuge for free spirits looking to create a funky utopia for generations. As the civic election heats up, the bohemian bubble bursts when one man murders another on the main street over a panhandling spot. This prompts Bubbles the Clown to run for Mayor as she stumps for the marginalized citizens of Nelson. All the while, the former three-term conservative Mayor seeks to reclaim the mayor’s chair from the incumbent who is known for her progressive social platform. We follow a colourful group of candidates along the campaign trail as they seek to win the votes of the hyper-engaged citizens whose town is in crisis over how to move forward amidst the wave of global populism encroaching on their counter-culture haven.
BUBBLES THE CLOWN/BERNIE BROWN
When I went to clown school I learned that everyone in clown has an equally or more tragic story. And the comedy and tragedy masks are cliché because it’s so true. We deal with pain through comedy and we mask our pain through makeup. Whether it’s painting a face or giving out balloon animals…if I can help somebody go through their fear the way that I’ve gone through mine, it’s the best feeling in the world.
COUNCIL CANDIDATE/MOUNTAIN BIKE INSTRUCTOR
I know that when I work hard for something I get the results that I’m looking for. If you don’t believe in yourself you’re not going to land it. I’m going to treat my council position just like I treat my national victory for mountain biking – hard work, dedication, motivation.
We’ve got a really good yogurt going on here. All of us weird little bacteria are making something really special. And I think we homogenize that and mess with that ecology at our peril. Weirdness reminds us that we’re not all captives of the status quo that something else is possible.
REPORTER, NELSON STAR
There are a lot of bubbles in this town. People who do different things and think different things. There’s things going on here in town that people don’t know about. And so being a reporter gives you a chance to know about all those little subcultures.
I used to think I was an introvert because of my insecurities with making friends. And, then I showed up in Nelson and met people who made me feel like I was normal. I finally wasn’t called weird and that made me a feel a lot more confident as a person. So, yes, Nelson definitely changed everything about my life, I would say.
Sometimes I feel like withdrawing just because helping other people making moneymaking machines doesn’t always make me feel good. But at the same time if you want to make any kind of impact, you have to be in the game or be in the front line. If you just bail, you actually have no effect to the end result.
DOCK N’ DUCK HOSPITALITY MANAGER/AREA ‘E’ CANDIDATE
A career that is quite close to a politician is the service industry. People come to a restaurant with a need, you know they’re hungry so you try and fulfill that need and you try and do it promptly and quickly to make sure they’re satisfied.
When we got to Nelson, and kind of settled in, I was like wow. This is a different kind of world. It was kind of the last bastion of human kindness where things outside of commerce seemed to be at the paramount of why people lived here.
As an independent filmmaker Amy Bohigian has directed and produced award-winning films that include Love It and Leave It (2008) funded by the NFB, Conceiving Family (2011) distributed by Films Media Group, and Dreamers and Dissidents (2015) commissioned by Knowledge Network. Amy founded Watershed Productions Inc. in 2007, a production company based in Nelson, BC, where she has directed and produced story-driven content for government, corporate, and non-profit clients looking to create social impact. She was awarded a fellowship in the Hot Docs Documentary Accelerator program in 2014. Amy’s work as a new media artist, which explores themes of community and transformation, has been exhibited in several galleries across British Columbia. She was named Nelson’s Cultural Ambassador in 2014.
Executive Producer, Knowledge Network
Murray Battle recently retired as the Director of Original Content and Brand at British Columbia’s Knowledge Network, where he worked for 11 years. Recent documentary commissions include the award winning series, Emergency Room: Life and Death at Vancouver General Hospital, Oil Sands Karaoke, Just Eat It, Backward Class, Father Figures, Do You Really Want to Know? and Coast Modern. In a previous life, he was a filmmaker for over 30 years.
CAMERA OPERATOR/AERIAL CINEMATOGRAPHY
Raised in the Kootenays, Bohdan Doval is a cinematographer and editor based in Nelson, BC. He shoots and edits many different types of content including documentaries, tourism campaigns, branded content, music videos and is certified aerial cinematographer. Bohdan has led the camera unit for Watershed Productions Inc. on several video based projects over the past five years.
HAVELOCK JOHN TUCKER
Sound design/Sound Mix/Select scoring
John Tucker is a Gemini Award winning sound designer, editor and composer. His work has appeared on CBS, ABC, FOX, PBS, HBO, CBC, YTV and TeleToon. He is a long time faculty member at Selkirk College, teaching in the Music Program with the School of the Arts. He has received Canada Council Grants for audio production. He was the sound editor and designer for Dreamers and Dissidents.
Havelock John Tucker Creative Services
Based in Winnipeg, Bryan Webb is a freelance media professional providing videography, animation, and motion graphics to a range of clients. He worked as faculty in the Digital Arts and New Media program at Selkirk College in Nelson BC for several years. He has worked with Watershed Productions Inc. on multiple projects in a variety of capacities.
Jane Byers has published two poetry collections, Acquired Community, (2016, Caitlin Press-Dagger Editions), a 2017 Goldie Award Winner for Poetry and Steeling Effects(2014, Caitlin Press). Jane has had poems and essays published in literary journals in Canada, the U.S. and England, including Best Canadian Poetry 2014. Jane’s forthcoming memoir, What If Your Kids Grow Up To Be Straight (Caitlin Press) is forthcoming (Winter 2020).
After two decades of experience in the film industry working both in front of, and behind the camera, Kipp Lightburn has moved into the realm of Post Production. He also brings with him about 30 years of experience as an artist. His work includes graphic design, video game design, book covers, comic books, 3D modelling, concept art and traditional painting.