Spectres of Shortwave / Ombres des ondes courtes
1 hour 53 minutes
35mm film finished to 2K DCP with 5.1 sound
completed in September 2016 -- currently on the festival circuit
**Winner** Prix de la vague - meilleur documentaire (best documentary) international category - FICFA 2016
** Official Selection** Atlantic Film Festival2016
a film about radio waves, relationships, landscape, and loss
Long before the internet, there was shortwave.
Tales of technology, military strategy, personal connections,
and strange sounds coming from household appliances.
An experimental documentary film about the RCI shortwave radio towers. Images captured on 35mm film accompanied by personal stories told by people who lived near the towers.
*** This film is currently on the festival circuit and not available online or on disk:
Once it has finished playing festivals, I will still need to cover the cost of manufacturing disks and packaging.
On this link you will also find several little teaser videos... 30-60 second clips from the finished film. Enjoy! ***
Here are a few teaser clips - 30-90 second excerpts from the finished film:
A mysterious web of international shortwave radio towers dominates the Tantramar marshscape. Meanwhile, local residents heard radio broadcasts emanate unexpectedly from their household appliances.
After beginning this project, the Canadian government announced that the site would be shut down and dismantled. As such, a final chapter was added to the film, which documents the dismantling of this historic site.
Themes of regional identity, Atlantic Canadian landscape, international communication systems, shifting communication technologies, rural myths, the environment, politics, climate change, and language will all be loosely explored in a slow durational and meditative style.
This observing documentary will place the viewer in the seat of the witness rather than that of the student, by excluding the use of authoritative talking heads and replacing them with long stunning shots of documentary footage and layered sound recordings of interviews with local residents. The interviews will include stories about the radio towers told by members from three primary communities of the region; English, Acadian, and Mi’kmaq.
Erected in 1938, the site was transmitting by 1942. RCI broadcast to Europe, Africa, South America, and the Arctic. In addition to Canadian broadcasts, this site also served as a relay for Radio China, Radio Japan, Radio Korea, Voice of Vietnam, and Vatican Radio. It was the only high power shortwave relay station in Canada.
While the broadcasts from these towers were intended for an international audience, they also had an immediate impact on the locals who lived within a 50 km radius. Many local residents reported hearing radio broadcasts emanating from unusual household appliances, including kitchen sinks, bathtubs, toasters, refrigerators, telephones, and light fixtures. On an emotional level, the radio towers tied in to a very deep sense of home for many residents, as they stood as an incredibly distinctive landmark when travelling along the trans-Canada highway. In addition to their striking visual presence on the flat, sea level landscape, they also added to the invisible landscape of the region through the radio waves that they transmitted, as well as through the folklore and rural mythology that they inspired.
In 2012, they announced that the site would be shut down. The last Canadian international shortwave broadcast was sent in June of 2012, the final international relays were sent in October 2012, the last arctic broadcast (and the final broadcast to ever transmit from this site) was sent in November 2012. Here is a quote from Mark Montgommery, host of the Link, from the final RCI broadcast on June 24, 2012:
"It's also being said that shortwave is a technology at the end of its lifecycle or quite simply obsolete. And while there is no denying the importance of the internet, there's also no denying that it can be and is regularly blocked by authoritarian regimes. Shortwave broadcasts on the other hand almost always get through to people hungry for information. Radio has also always been extremely inexpensive and highly portable, easily accessible to everyone around the world no matter what their financial situation. But now I find myself, on behalf of all of us, saying goodbye to 67 years of radio, and so, for all of us, thank you so much, and goodbye."
Written, Directed, Photographed and Edited by Amanda Dawn Christie
Producer: Amanda Dawn Christie
Executive Producer: Monique LeBlanc
Associate Producer: Paul Lee
Director of Photography: Amanda Dawn Chistie
Cinematography Consultant: Christopher Ball, CSC
Camera Assistants: Mel Chiasson, Hilary Cantin, & Cédric Chabuel
Sound Recording: Amanda Dawn Christie, Ryan Hillier, Nathan Jones, Rob Tough
Key Grip and Gaffer: Dan Grady
Pilot: Bob Rosebrough
Created with the support of:
Canada Council for the Arts
Shaw-Hot Docs Completion Fund
Linda Joy Post Award
Prim - Aide à la création
AFCOOP - Open Grant
Wave Farm: WGXC 90.7FM
Millenium Film Workshop
Prim: aide à la création
MDocs: Storyteller's Institute
Special Thanks to those who have contributed to make this film possible!
6955, Meghan Rose Allen, Thomas Ally, Jessica Arseneau, Art Shack, Chris Barris, Marc Basque, Kirsty Bell, Rémi Belliveau, David Bryant, Chris Campbell, Kevin Carson, Alexandra Caulfield, Louis-Philippe Chiasson, Eric Christensen, Alexander Christie, Bev & Jack Christie, Joanna Close, Dr. Shelly Collette, Sean Collins, Jacqueline Collomb, Paul W. Cooper, Lucy Rowan Kramer Davidge, Jennifer Dorner, Carol Doucette, Dr. Jane Dryden, Joanne Duguay, Daniel Estabrooks, Monique François, David Freeborough, GRM Radio, Leah Garnett, Marc Gauthier, Guy Gautreau, Jac Gautreau, Mario Gautreau, André Goguen, Jessica Gohlke, Dominique Gusset, Troy Haines, Heather Harkins, Mark Harper, Matthew Hayes, Cynthia Herron, Bernard Hibbits, Nisk Imbeault, Jana & Sean, Jim Jordan, Alex Keeling, Dusty Keleher, Dr. Leslie Kern, Christopher Killam, Pat Kipping, Alon Koppel, Jeff Kreines, Kerry Laitala, Denis Lanteigne, Angelina LaPaolo, Gino LeBlanc, Lise LeBlanc, Monique LeBlanc, Dominique Leger, Christopher Lloyd, Stephen MacDonald, Gavin MacNeil, Adrienne Marcus Raja, Mark & Kamaya, Mark & Rosie, Pierre Martin, Matt & Lucy, Penny McCann, Dr. John McManaman, Debbie McPherson, André Melanson, Andrew John Milne, Mobile Radio, Renée Morel, John Murchie, Annie France Noël, Richard O'Kane, Paranerd, Lukas Pearse, Zach Poff, Friends at Plan B, Kim Rayworth, Lynne Saintonge, Rodney Savoy, Matt Shaw, Christine Stewart, Herb Theriault, Rob Tough, Mathieu Wade, Chad Wilson, Chuck & Marilyn Wilson, Roger D. Wilson, Dawn Wintour, Thomas Witherspoon, John Woods, Steven Woloshen, Andrew Hamilton-Wright, Ned Zimmerman
(the film is still in post-production)