Charles Wilkinson of Vancouver has worked primarily as a film and television director in B.C. His feature documentary Oil Sands Karaoke, which had its premiere on Knowledge Network in 2014, was selected for more than twenty festivals.
While making a follow-up documentary about his self-described “road trip through western Canada a la Kerouac” called Peace Out to examine environmental issues, he wrote a memoir of his quest to answer the question, “Are we tearing up our wilderness for energy.” The answer is less than surprising. Primarily his road trip memoir describes his meetings with people of the Peace River Valley and oil industry workers. After ultimately concluding it’s hopeless, the planet is doomed, etc., Wilkinson is buoyed with optimism at the end of Peace Out: Adventures on the Road to Green Energy (Red Deer College Press 2015) thanks to John Belushi’s inspirational rant at the end of Animal House. With a Rocky-like comeback, he quotes environmental economist Marc Jaccard:
“Marc Jaccard said something prophetic to me. He said if we lived by a playground and the cars drove past really fast all the time, we’d ask the government to deal with it–speed zones, radar, tickets, fines, suspensions, prison. If none of these worked, if drivers kept endangering our kids, we’d take action. We’d blockade traffic. In reality, our governments have been really good at protecting our playground zones. But it’s crystal clear that they are simply incapable of doing enough–in time–to save us from this coming disaster. It’s up to each one of us to take action. And some people are doing exactly that. Aboriginal peoples everywhere are rising from the shadows and taking an inspiring lead in this.”
Consequently Wilkinson’s book and documentary are to be followed by a hopeful environmental film to be called An Alternative Universe Called Haida Gwaii.
The working director: how to arrive, thrive and survive in the director’s chair (Los Angeles: Michael Wiese Productions, 2004)
Peace Out: Adventures on the Road to Green Energy (Red Deer College 2015) $24.95 978-0-88995-488-5