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Friday, February 01, 2008

The Polanski Tapes

I try not to talk about work or a lot of the news stories I cover at this blog, mainly because I don't know who all reads this and I don't know who I'm going to offend if I get...opinionated. But there's something that came up at Athabasca County council the other day that caught my ear, and I have to spout off on it. Mainly because it connects with one of my favourite things: movies.

Ed Polanski is a former mayor of Athabasca. When he was done being mayor, he moved into the big city of Edmonton, started working for one of the TV stations there, and eventually became a relatively big TV exec. However, his heart was still in Athabasca. He'd frequently return to Athabasca with a film crew, film the town, and interview the locals. He even spent a lot of his own personal money to obtain rare, archival film footage of Athabasca from long, long ago. His goal was to create a thorough and comprehensive documentary on Athabasca. Sadly, Mr. Polanski suffered a rather debilitating stroke a few years back, and the dream kind of died that day.

However, Athabasca knew that this footage and film that Mr. Polanski had acquired would be a valuable historical resource. So, the Town of Athabasca, Athabasca County, and Athabasca University each put up $25,000 (for a total of $75,000) to acquire these Polanski tapes and develop it into some kind of DVD about the town. Well, they spent $10,000 to get the footage, and...that's all they did.

The Polanski Tapes have spent the past 3 years in a cardboard box in the back of town office.

As always, it takes a change in government to get things moving again. Athabasca's new mayor felt that something had to be done. So, the Polanski Tapes are going to be donated to the Athabasca University archives, where, at the very least, they'll be properly stored.

But when all this came to light at the last Athabasca County council meeting, I almost shed a tear. My God! All this archival footage of one town? Amazing!

Seriously, now that it's going to be put away in the Athabasca University archives and pretty much made freely available to the public, now's the time. Someone get a hold of the CBC! Or that National Film Board! Right here is the perfect opportunity for some documentary filmmaker to make an absolutely kick-ass film about Athabasca!

Some filmmaker has to get their hands on this footage and finish Polanski's documentary.

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