Filmmaker explores Nanaimo River in documentary

NANAIMO: Paul Manly plans two screenings of his film Voices of the River.

A local filmmaker is set to premiere his documentary about the historic and contemporary uses of the Nanaimo River.

Paul Manly plans two screenings of his film Voices of the River at Nanaimo Centre Stage on Sept. 21 at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Each viewing will be followed by performances by some of the musicians featured on the film soundtrack.

Many people that Manly interviewed see the Nanaimo River watershed as “the lifeblood of this community.” It is not only the main source of drinking water for the city, but also one of the most important ecological features of the mid-Island region, comprising of more than 800 square kilometres and providing habitat to a wide range of wildlife, including rare and endangered species.

It is culturally and spiritually significant to the Snuneymuxw people and important for the fishing, forestry and tourism industries, providing a wide range of recreational opportunities for local residents.

“In the process of making this film I have seen many more of the amazingly beautiful spots in the watershed, almost all of which are private land and the majority of which are behind locked gates,” Manly said. “Voices of the River examines the history of why this land became privatized and how the Snuneymuxw people paid a high price for Canadian confederation.

“There are plans for increased development in the watershed and along the river and pressure from growing water consumption. “There has never been a better time to start the process of creating a long-term vision for the watershed than now, and education is key to that process,” Manly said.

Performers after the 7 p.m. screening include Terry Mack, Paul Beezoyen and Brian Hazelbower, with Prince Pauper, Tongue and Groove, and Shane Philip after the 9:30 p.m. screening.

Proceeds from the event will go toward the educational component of the Nanaimo River Stewardship initiative and the Land Conservancy.

Tickets are $15/early show; $20/late show at House of Indigo, Fascinating Rhythm and online at

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