A Gull Lake couple is planning to film a documentary that will highlight the magnificent beauty and charm of Southwest Saskatchewan.
Craig and Layla Baird moved to Gull Lake from Alberta last April and were instantly enchanted with the region. Now they hope to help others discover this corner of the province. “We hope to help build tourism in the area, and to show potential residents what can be found here,” said Craig. “Southwest Saskatchewan is an amazing area of Canada,” added Layla. “From the highest point between Banff and Labrador, to the Sand Hills, to the last untouched portion of open grassland, there is something for everyone here.” The couple plan to begin work on their project this spring. “We intend to capture the people, places and things that make this area an amazing place to live,” said Craig. The Bairds, former journalists who now operate a videography/photography business in Gull Lake, have titled their documentary Southwest Stories. The film will focus on many well-known Southwest landmarks, as well as some of its hidden treasures. Along the way, the filmmakers will talk to community leaders and unique local characters. “We’re going to mix it up,” said Craig. “In some cases we will just pick a random location on a weekend and see what kind of footage we can get. That might mean chasing a storm coming over the prairie, filming wildlife or visiting a farm that’s been sitting there for 100 years and just talk to the family.” The Bairds also plan to feature the region’s unique history and talk to area residents about how things have changed over the years. The couple will also take advantage of the fact that a number of Southwest communities will be celebrating centennials in 2014. In order to complete their documentary, the local filmmakers are looking to raise $6,000. The funds will be used to upgrade equipment and help offset some of the travel expenses connected with the project. To date, the Bairds have raised about one-third of their financial target. They are spearheading their fundraising effort through the web site GoFundMe. GoFundMe is a crowd funding platform that allows people to raise money for a variety of events. For more information on the Bairds’ documentary visit http://www.gofundme.com/63r1k0. “We’ve had a good response to our idea,” said Craig. “We’ve had several donations from people in the area, as well as outside of it.” The Bairds hope to complete their filming by the end of the summer. Ultimately, they plan to produce DVDs of the documentary and make them available at tourism events and for sale to the general public. More importantly, however, the couple plans to bring the film to a world-wide audience through YouTube. “The bottom line is that we want as many people to see it as possible,” said Layla.