***Update: The 10th Annual Vancouver Women in Film Festival (#VIWIFF2015) is please to offer an encore screening of All the Time in The World on Sunday, March 8, 2015 at 3 PM. This screening is open to audiences of all ages. The feature documentary is preceded by three shorts, of which two are local: Michelle Kee’s Mattress and Arwen Hunter’s Vie.***
“I always envisioned myself as being one of those moms who would have fresh baked cookies and a glass of milk ready for their kids when they walked in the door after school,” says filmmaker Suzanne Crocker in the opening scene of her new doc All The Time In The World, as she pulls a canoe jam-packed with supplies up a rocky Canadian river. But she always felt there wasn’t enough time for the things that really counted.
When Crocker prepped her shoot in the Yukon bush four years ago, she was not just packing film equipment. She had to consider bringing food, toiletries and craft supplies along to feed, educate and entertain a family of two adults, three kids aged 10, 8 and 4 and three pets during the North’s long winter.
Prep time at her home town of Dawson City was so hectic, that Crocker, a former family doctor, often needed to remind herself why she was doing it: to make more time for her family.
All the Time in the World, Crocker’s first feature documentary, is a deeply personal film about a family searching for a new perspective by shrinking life to the basic needs of warmth, shelter, food and water and by living life dictated by the seasons rather than the clock.
The film, which premiered at the Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF) on October 1st, explores the theme of disconnecting from our hectic and technology-laden lives in order to reconnect with each other, ourselves and our natural environment. A description of the storyline could only spoil the movie experience, but be it said it includes an interesting twist on Halloween and a bear encounter.
***update: All the Time In The World has meanwhile won several awards – Congrats to Suzanne and her team.***
- Audience Award for Most Popular Canadian Documentary at the 2014 Vancouver International Film Festival!
- Winner: Best in Festival Wild at Scenic Film Festival, Nevada City, California, January 18, 2015
- the 2014 Harold Greenberg Green Screen Award at the Planet In Focus Film Festival in Toronto. This award is given to the film or television series which highlights the positive role that the film and television industry is playing in creating solutions for a healthier planet. The jury chose two winners for the Green Screen Award. All The Time In The World shared the win with Walt Disney Studios who created the feature film Tomorrowland (starring George Clooney) with zero waste during production.
- Audience Award – Best Canadian Documentary at the 2015 Available Light Film Festival in Whitehorse, Yukon
- Audience Favourite Award (out of all features – narratives and docs) at the 2015 Victoria Film Festival
Being both an ambitious filmmaker and a mom proved to be a fine line to walk.
“There were times, when dramatic moments happen, when you just can’t pull out the camera,” says Crocker. “Those are the shots you want, but as you’re living the story and it being your life, you can’t. Such as when my husband chopped his finger, twice.”
Crocker used a Panasonic AVC HD prosumer camera, a tripod and an external LED light. She also invested in good quality sound equipment. Her camera was always right at hand in the bush, resulting in her family forgetting about the camera and acting completely natural, one of the huge qualities of the documentary. She backed up her SD cards with 500 hours of footage onto a laptop and fueled her batteries via boat batteries and an inverter, but she did not log footage or write journals on her computer, true to her motto of living off the grid for nine months. To her astonishment, the gear survived shooting in -40 C to -50 C temperatures.
The logging and initial editing process took two years. The final editing with the expertise of editor Michael Parfit occurred over this past year. The narration is a combination of voice-over excerpts from interviews Crocker conducted with her family throughout the stay in the bush and interviews conducted by a friend after their return. It was important to Crocker that someone who knew nothing about the experience would do the interviews afterwards, so the kids would answer in a different way.
Two story editors, Nettie Wild and Carrie Gadsby helped her comb through her material and re-focus on the point of view of the story.
“They both brought different things to the table,” says Crocker. “Carrie was my touchstone to make sure I didn’t lose sight of the perspectives of the kids.” Gadsby said the story reminded her of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie, which was, incidentally, a book series the family read in the bush and referred to as their “bible.” They even made cheese according to Laura Ingalls Wilder’s detailed instructions.
Wild’s contribution was to assure Crocker to stick with her intuition. “Nettie has been amazing to work with as a story editor because she is so talented and is such a great person to get feedback from,” says Crocker, who combed through the assembly with Wild scene by scene.
The huge art community in Dawson City, with its many festivals inspired her to ask two female musicians, Alex Houghton and Anne Louise Genest (who had herself spent many summers at that cabin) to compose the soundtrack, and contribute existing and original songs.
Even though her family would prefer if she would hold off work and finally start baking cookies, Crocker has another documentary in the works, somewhat connected to All the Time in World. Returning to her roots as a physician, she wants to find out more about the health and social implications of portable digital technology.
As she is preparing her next film, you might have the opportunity to meet Crocker, a Women in Film and Doc BC member, at one of our Vancouver workshops.
“Women in Film and Doc BC give access through connections to membership, through emails, the doc discussion with Doc BC, through the great workshops that Women in Film puts on, of which I have attended many. They’re just great opportunities to access the wisdom of other filmmakers and to meet people in the industry.”
by Katja De Bock
Katja De Bock is a Vancouver Women in Film & Television member currently contributing articles to the Women in Film blog, Reel West Magazine and Kerrisdale Playbook. She also occasionally posts articles about things she loves on Westsidebeat.