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Documentary filmmaker Craig Thompson and his Stratford-based manufacturing firm Ballinran Leisure are celebrating a nationwide broadcast journalism award for his or her work on Inside Wuhan, a 20-minute characteristic about what was taking place within the locked-down Chinese language metropolis throughout the early days of the COVID-19 disaster.
“The truth that our trade colleagues acknowledged the movie in its class as a high one was an actual honour,” Thompson mentioned Saturday, a pair days after the doc obtained an RTDNA Canada Award beneath the class Excellence in Innovation.
Thompson wanted to get artistic with a view to seize footage from town when journey to Wuhan was suspended.
After placing out a name for assistance on the Chinese language social media app WeChat, Thompson linked with C.R. Holmes, a Canadian expatriate who determined to stay within the metropolis after an evacuation of international nationals. Regardless of by no means taking pictures a documentary earlier than, Holmes captured almost all of the footage for the piece.
Video uploads took hours and even days, however producers ultimately received what they wanted to share the story with Canadians at a time when strict public well being measures and their affect on day-to-day life was troublesome to totally comprehend.
“I’m not saying I knew what was going to occur, however I knew it was a sufficiently big story that we needed to get in there and get one thing on the bottom earlier than it was too late,” Thompson mentioned.
Inside Wuhan, produced by Ballinran Leisure and White Pine Footage, initially aired on CTV’s W5 on March 7, 2020. It’s obtainable on YouTube.
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Fiona Conway, president of RTDNA Canada, applauded Thompson’s information judgement and ingenuity.
“He labored very exhausting at getting that video out of Wuhan,” she mentioned. “Craig was very responsive and noticed very early on as we have been nonetheless all simply studying about COVID that this was going to be a giant deal. He was very sensible, fast, and nimble and was capable of get the suitable folks on the spot.”
After having a while to mirror on the expertise, Thompson mentioned Inside Wuhan exhibits off the potential for citizen journalism and distant filmmaking beneath troublesome circumstances, particularly now that advances in expertise have improved digital communication and file sharing.
“Sure, it’s nice to be up shut and private and observe from a first-hand viewpoint whether or not you’re a journalist or a filmmaker, however what occurs when you possibly can’t be there in particular person?
“I believe the principle lesson was in the event you can forged one thing accurately and interact a citizen journalist like C.R. Holmes, then that’s one other approach of getting a narrative. Citizen journalism … so long as it’s correctly fact-checked and has some integrity to it, is a very attention-grabbing factor that’s advanced over the past yr and a half.”
Thompson’s subsequent mission is a characteristic on English theatre director Tyrone Guthrie, one of many founders of the Stratford Pageant, in partnership with the BBC.
The pandemic continues to be conserving him from directing on location, however Thompson has proven a willingness to adapt.
“(The pandemic has) strengthened the community of individuals world wide who’re engaged in documentary storytelling as a result of via Inside Wuhan and different movies prefer it, we’re collaborating much more with folks in several international locations,” he mentioned. “That’s one other upside.”