A Vancouver Island filmmaker is starting work on a lifestyle documentary series that will explore farmers markets and craft fairs on the Island.
Lorna Bennet—a producer, director and script writer from Qualicum Beach—says the series is meant to introduce viewers to Vancouver Island, its culture and its people. The series, titled Love A’fair, will concentrate on the people who are involved with markets and fairs from across the Island, showcasing the artists, crafters, farmers, harvesters, processors and merchants who make, bake, grow and create goods that they sell at markets and fairs.
“It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time,” said Bennet. “I admire the people involved in fairs and markets. I find them to be interesting. You really have to rely on yourself, and I admire the type of character of a person who can do that.”
The COVID-19 pandemic, she added, has emphasized how important the sector is and how much it has suffered.
“So many people have lost work,” she said. “It’s very, very tough. I think we need to show our support.”
The purpose of the documentary, she said, is to draw attention to the various artists, farmers and small businesses involved in community markets and fairs to help them overcome the effects of the pandemic.
Bennet has more than 38 years of experience in the film industry. She previously worked with Alberni Community and Women’s Services Society (ACAWS) on an educational video, entitled Witness, that aims to demystify the process of reporting and giving evidence of domestic violence in court.
With Love A’fair, Bennet will be joined by videographer Beth Ross of bDigital Video Productions and director of photography Steve Fagan. Bonnie Chomica will be joining the team for script and marketing support, Samantha Beau will provide voiceover work and Bruce Smith will provide the music score and composition.
The show is currently in pre-production. The team will be reaching out to various market managers on the Island to work on scripting.
“We want to choose a couple of people, sit down and have a long chat with them about what they do,” said Bennet.
The team is also looking for funding. The plan, says Bennet, is to apply for a number of government grants. But they will also be reaching out to various chambers of commerce, city councils and other private entities for financial support.
She estimates that the project will cost around $300,000 for a 10-episode series. Each episode will be between 24 and 30 minutes long.
“It’s not anything like a movie budget,” said Bennet.
Each episode will cover a different area, looking at markets from the Greater Victoria area to Campbell River and everywhere in between—including the West Coast. One episode will focus on Port Alberni, which has two markets at Spirit Square and Cherry Creek. The Cherry Creek market is the longest-running year-round outdoor market on Vancouver Island.
At this point, Bennet has not settled on a streaming service to air the series once it has been filmed.
“But I’m fairly sure we’ll find a streaming company to stream it on,” she added.