(photos via PenderPR)
1. I know you, but some people may not.
So could you please introduce yourself to the world?
”I am a filmmaker, author, and scientist with a particular interest in the environment. My father tells me that I was asking questions about plants and animals from the time I was able to talk.”
2. What was your first job in the entertainment industry?
Also, what did you do before that?
”My first job in film was as a caterer on the film, The Boy Who Could Fly that was shot in 1985. A friend was hired as a chef and he asked me to make salads, desserts, and drive the truck. It was such a strange and exciting experience. By the end of the film, the chef and I were fired and I ended up finishing the film as Bonnie Bedelia’s driver. I went on to work on many films and series over a twelve year period.
Prior to the jump into the film industry, I was at the University of British Columbia, working on a Master’s of Science degree in Resource Management and Regional Planning. I also got a Bachelor’s of Science degree from UBC with a Major in Botany.”
3. Did you study film before getting into the industry?
”I didn’t study film before getting into the industry. In fact, I never imagined a career path that included film. But after my accidental introduction to it, I fell in love with the variety of work film projects offer from new locations, new stories, and new people.
It wasn’t long after being in film, that I wanted to work as a writer. I began writing scripts and read many books about story structure and script-writing. I went to many conferences, including the Banff World Television festival to learn more about the craft of writing, directing and producing films.”
4. If you could work with anyone you'd want,
who would that person be and why?
”Leonardo DiCaprio. He has a very keen interest in the environment and I like the edginess a of the environmentally focused films he’s been a part of. I would like to add more of that to my films.”
5. What does a normal day in your life looks like?
”Oh, wow. I currently have 5 film projects in post, production and post production. So every day is very busy. I like to start my day by writing or working on a script. I typically script all of my documentaries before we go into production.
By late morning, I move into working on The Green Channel which is a streaming service I founded to feature environmental content. My tasks might include reviewing films that we are acquiring for the channel, communicating with my marketing or technical teams, or spending quiet time thinking about how to reach out to potential subscribers on a limited budget.
In the evening, I often put on my producer hat and work on the administration aspects of my films. This could include organizing Canadian content documents, applying for copyright, doing clearance reviews of the final cut, and so on.”
6. Where is your favorite place to be and why?
”My favorite place to be is along a wild stream or river. I’m on the board of The Squamish Streamkeepers and we have a number of activities that support wild salmon and herring. I get great satisfaction when we see a positive change for our wild fish populations. Unfortunately, we often see declining fish numbers or fish dying of diseases before they are able to spawn.
In the winter, you will often find me on a ski hill when I can get away from work.”
7. If you could, what would be the one advice
you would want to give to your younger self?
”It was a journey for me to find my way as a filmmaker. I would tell my younger self to make a film, a short film, and not wait for someone else to come on board. And as soon as that was finished, make the next one.
I started with a desire to work as a writer, but many writer’s never see any of their work produced. So, I started directing to try and get my scripts made into films. And ultimately, I started taking on producing tasks to push film projects forward. It’s never been easier for new filmmakers to make films with today’s digital cameras and editing software. Just do it.”
8. What is one of the best advice that you've got?
Who was the person that gave it to you?
”Gosh, I guess it was my dad. He said when I was very young that one day I would have to go to university to answer the questions I peppered him with about the environment. My education has helped me in so many ways as I’ve had to pivot many times during my career.”
9. What is your biggest accomplishment so far?
”My biggest accomplishment so far is having and raising three amazing kids. They have all graduated from University and I’m very proud of their accomplishments.”
10. What can you tell us about The Green Channel?
What is it about and how did it all started?
”The Green Channel is an online streaming service that features content about the environment. I decided to start the service after I made the film, The Pristine Coast. I could see it was getting more and more difficult to place films about the environment and get a reasonable return on investment. Environmental films are very difficult to make. There is a tremendous amount of work that goes into each film. I wanted to also help and encourage other filmmakers to make content about the environment. So many environmental filmmakers make one film and struggle to make the next one. I want to support them.
I hope that one day, The Green Channel will make higher budget films that include series and feature films. We are already adding environmental comedies and our first original production, Save the Planet Already! Just launched on the service. It’s very funny and a must see film.”
11. Is there anything you can disclose about The Pristine Coast?
”The Pristine Coast, although I didn’t know it at the time, on the Vedder river when I saw silver bright salmon dead and floating down the river. I initially thought that these fish had died from sport fishermen mishandling them. But I soon discovered that they were dying from disease. This pushed me to investigate further and soon I was following Alexandra Morton’s protest down Vancouver Island about the impacts on wild salmon from open net pen fish farms.
I was able to use my science skills to connect some dots that had not been connected before. I contend that fish collapses on both of Canada’s coasts have been as a result of disease that has been amplified by fish farms and then spread by migrating fish up and down our coasts.
The Pristine Coast took 5 years to complete and part of the reason for the long time from concept to completion was because of the federal inquiry known as the Cohen Inquiry. I got permission to film the hearings and spent a year filming 119 days of the 133 days of hearings. This incredible access resulted in two other films, Trial of An Iconic Species and The Unofficial Trial of Alexandra Morton. As well, I processed all the footage into a series of 395 episodes of testimony that is streaming on The Green Channel under the title, Exhibit 2148.
By the end of the film, I came to realize that our wild fish populations are a crucial part of the climate change puzzle. Wild fish are key to fixing carbon in the marine food web and I made the case that we must protect them if we hope to lower rising global temperatures.”
12. In the end, is there anything you'd like to say to the people who support you?
”I have been so lucky from my family, friends, and colleagues and staff all supporting my filmmaking career. It is, at times, all encompassing and I’ve appreciated their patience and support more than I can express. Many times they have to endure my blank stares as I’m deep in thought about some part of a story that is troubling me.”
(photos via PenderPR)
Scott Renyard is a filmmaker, author and scientist. He is best known for his work on projects like: Project Cougar, The Green Chain, The Green Film, Dissolve, Who Killed Miracle?, How to Boil a Frog, The Pristine Coast, Indian Food Fishing on the Fraser River, Living River, Exhibit 2148, The Unofficial Trial of Alexandra Morton, Trial of an Iconic Species, Save the Planet Already! etc.