Lindsay Nahmiache has worked in the film industry for some time, and knows how highly political the business can be. Having worked in various capacities at both the Vancouver and Toronto International Film Festivals, and now as a director of marketing and publicity at Festival Cinemas, she is aware of the challenges that documentary filmmakers often face. “So many great documentary films come across my desk,” Nahmiache explains, “but they just don’t have the resources for marketing and publicity initiatives to actually get their message out to audiences.”
In early 2008, Nahmiache expressed her frustration to Brady Dahmer, a graphic designer and marketing director himself, and together they decided to launch an annual festival for documentary films that focus on environmental issues and sustainability, right in Vancouver. Their goal, Nahmiache says, is to “create a festival that appeals to people like us.” Before me, Nahmiache and Dahmer seem the hip, young, professionals sort; they are “not only environmentalists.”
Having recently closed the second annual Projecting Change Film Festival, Nahmiache and Brady can safely say the films’ messages are getting out there. Broaching the topics of water conservancy, food, agriculture, pollution, sustainability of resources as well as other social and humanitarian issues, each film is paired with a guest speaker who can bring a local context to the international issue at hand. David Suzuki spoke on the opening night at the most recent festival.
Nahmiache and Brady believe they are meeting their goal, which is to simply engage audience members in the issues. They continue to receive a flood of mail well after the theatre doors have closed; letters explaining the simple changes people have made in their own lives. “The festival is about projecting change on all levels,” Dahmer says. “What fascinates us about film is its persuasiveness, the way it can inspire people. Vancouver is a great testing ground for new ideas. We are already starting to see a shift; soon, things are going to explode.”
Dan Fairchild for Projecting Change Film Festival.