Winnipeg getting international attention thanks to geese film

“It's kind of a nice surprise,” said Karsten Wall about his film, “Modern Goose” premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival. Edward Djan has more.

An international spotlight is being shone on Winnipeg, and it’s all thanks to geese.

Modern Goose is a short film on how the birds survive in urban settings despite human behaviour disrupting their habitat.

The film includes places like St. Vital Park, Waverly, and downtown Winnipeg.

“Pretty excited that it’s going to TIFF. I didn’t expect it to get in, so it’s a nice surprise,” said Karsten Wall, director of Modern Goose.

“I came across a goose that was killed by a car, and it was dead in a parking lot, it was a casino parking lot. The contrast of the lights against the tragedy of the goose being dead kind of got my brain thinking about geese and how they are challenged with living in an urban environment.”

Work on Modern Goose was started as early as 2020 but the film was green lit to be created in 2021.

Wall, a Winnipeg-based filmmaker, was looking for a unique way to tell a nature documentary.

“I wanted to make a nature film that was a little bit unconventional. My last project was more of a very standard nature documentary series, and it was really good. I really enjoyed it, but I wanted to see if I could make something without the standard format and without narration,” he explained.

Modern Goose is now set to premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) and the Atlantic International Film Festival in September.

“My ambitions for it weren’t as high as TIFF, so it’s kind of a nice surprise. It’s a little scary, but it’s my first real short film that I’ve done. It definitely opens up some opportunities in the future, and I definitely learned a lot in the process of making it,” said Wall.

Adam Smoluk is the executive director of Film Training Manitoba. He says the province has been seeing an increase in homegrown films the past few years.

“I think it’s amazing to see how many local filmmakers have been so successful. There are so many filmmakers that have their films playing that are either being played by broadcasters or streaming services or playing at large festivals,” explained Smoluk.

Smoluk, who has been with Film Training Manitoba for 17 years says there is one area the province could do better in—financing.

“It’s always a very competitive industry in terms of financing. That’s always a challenge, but we have some companies that have been doing so well with attracting production and working collaboratively with the community.”

While Wall says his film Modern Goose is open to interpretation, he believes the film does provide somewhat of an optimistic outlook on life for viewers.

“Geese still stay on their natural migration cycle. I think it’s kind of a message for hope for the future when we’re so uncertain of what our future holds that if we let nature do its thing and take its course, it has its purpose and it has its plans and we can trust in that plan if we just stop messing with it.”

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