Wanted: stories of neighbourliness and care in times of trouble (for my Halifax Explosion film).

Invitation to Participate!

I am making an animated short film about the recovery efforts after the Halifax Explosion. Over the past several months, hundreds of people have helped on this project by volunteering to draw the images I animated. I now need to create the sound for the film, and again, I need help.

What kind of help do I need?

I am looking for individuals who are willing to share their stories of neighbourliness and resilience in Halifax. It could be about times of disaster affecting whole communities, like Hurricane Juan, or times of personal need, like sickness, loss of a job, or loss of a loved one. I will be booking times to record interviews and conversations over the next two weeks. I must have all recording completed by November 3rd. I cannot offer much in exchange except for coffee, cookies, a film credit as a participant, and your own private copy of the final film.

Why do I want these stories?

When I first looked at W. G. MacLaughlan’s footage of the Halifax Explosion aftermath and relief efforts, I was struck by all the images of people jumping in to help each other out. These images, in a way, summed up my own experience of living in this city: precarity and disaster being pushed back at by loving, collective energy that buoys us. I’ve seen it here so many times, and I’ll be honest: it’s why I stay. I wonder if you’ve experienced this, too.

What will I do with your stories?

I want to combine these stories as threads to go along with the animation so many people have helped to create. You are invited to spend as little as 10 minutes with me, or as long as an hour. I’ll be happy to show you the animated images, too. I don’t have any super-structured agenda for these conversations. I can’t promise I’ll use every last bit of everything you say, but I intend to respect the spirit of your contribution. The final film will be screened in Halifax during the Halifax Explosion Centenary in early December and it will be on CBC TV, as well.

How can we get in touch with each other?

Please send an email to becka@beckabarker.info or simply message me if you’re already my friend on Facebook. The greater the variety of stories and experiences I can gather, the better I think this film will be. And of course, if you know anyone you think would be interested in participating, please help me connect with them! I can probably take on no more than 10 sessions in total over the next two weeks (the entire film is only going to be about 3 minutes long), so please don't hesitate to get in touch if you are interested.

I have been so impressed by everyone’s willingness to jump in and help me with this project--but then again, that has always been the point of this exercise. It’s incredibly humbling and a great reminder of the spirit that guides my family’s choice to live here. Thank you, everyone, for your help on this small project so far. And thank you in advance for your help again!