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Spotlight on Vague D'Acadie

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Behind the scenes view on the test shoot for Vague D'Acadie

Pour la version en français.

Vague d’Acadie is a two-part documentary series in development to be produced by HRM-based company, Connections Productions. The series is being created for ARTV and Radio-Canada and will air across Canada in late 2017. The production will celebrate the success of Acadian singers and songwriters in the world of francophone music. Connections Productions has a history of creating music related broadcast shows with a roster of over 250 shows including the East Coast Music Awards, Pour l’amour du country, currently in season 15 and Clé du studio.

The shooting of Vague D'Acadie is set to begin in early 2017, we caught up with producer Chris Goguen to learn more about the production. 

Please, for the Anglophones – can you translate what the title means?

The direct translation of Vague d’Acadie is “Acadian Wave”, we called it that because in the last few years there’s been a huge insurgent “wave” of popularity of Acadian artists/musicians around the world. Acadian artists are “hot” in the francophone music world today and have been for the better part of the last decade. To evoke a parallel, think of the 60’s British Invasion in the US, but instead Acadian Wave, in the francophone music scene both in Canada and Europe. It’s not just a few artists, it’s becoming a widespread phenomenon! This series will delve into the who, what, why, how it’s come to be and its future impact.

What goes into filming a production like this – specifically one that centers around music?

First thing that is required is a ton of research and writing. This step happened over the past year, it included many phone pre-interviews (40+), keeping track of all the different francophone music festivals in Atlantic Canada, Québec, Louisiana, France, Belgium and Switzerland, which are all hot spots for this genre of music.

Our road crew will be loading the van and hitting the road for about 25 days this Spring and Summer to travel across Nova-Scotia, the Atlantic provinces, and Québec to visit artists, agents, bookers, promoters, producers in recording studios, rehearsal spaces, performance venues, homes, offices, festivals, and more. Once all the footage has been collected, it will go through a three to four-month period of editing and post production as well as a full website with additional content to accompany the series. Once the two-part series is ready for broadcast, the promotional phase will begin, which includes social media and television.

Anything unique about this shoot?

We’ll be shooting this entire series in 6k, with our RED EPIC camera, which is usually a feature film camera. The “Hobbit” trilogy was also shot on a RED EPIC. This gives us a cinematic look in a documentary series and also makes us ready for eventual 4k release. It’s not always the most practical, but the results are well worth the effort, our crew works extra hard to make this possible. In addition, to have a stunning soundtrack, we will be mixing the sound in 5.1 at Current Studios.

Tell us about the crew?

Our crew leader is Blake Stilwell, our Director of Photography (DoP), who also doubles as our Visual Effects (VFX) artist. Blake is a fantastic DoP, he has worked for us full time as a permanent employee for many years. He is also the Jib camera operator for Pour l’amour du country and when he’s not on the road shooting or in the studio, he often does VFX for us and other producers in Halifax. He recently completed all the VFX for Michael Melski’s film The Child Remains.

Eric Leclerc is our in-house sound guy. He does all our audio from location recording, to sound editing and mixing. He also works on Trajectoires and Pour l’amour du country. For many people those names may be familiar, as they where both long-time employees at the Postman Post Production Studio. Myself being one of the former owners, made that many former Postman Post Production Studio staff have found permanent homes at Connections.

Both Blake and Eric spend most of their Fall and Winter travelling all over North America shooting our NHL documentary series Trajectoires.

How many people are involved in the production process of Vague d’Acadie?

Like all productions it takes a wide range of specialties, trades and disciplines to complete a production; everything from lawyers to colorists and everything in between.

Connections has a permanent staff of 10 here in Nova Scotia that will work on this production assisting in the producing, shooting, editing, sound, visual effects, admin, coordination, accounting and music rights. Outside of Connections we will be working with director/writer Phil Comeau, Halifax’s Village Sound will create the score, and Current Studios will be helping us with the post-production. Let’s not forget the interviews with over 40 people. When the production is complete, this series will have had over 100 people working on this project.

Where in Nova Scotia are you most excited to shoot in?

We’re very excited to shoot “à la baie”, (Baie Ste. Marie/Acadian Shores/Yarmouth) deep into rural francophone Nova Scotia. The region is not where you would expect to find an avant-gardist hip-pop scene, like Arthur Comeau and his Tide School (a rap school in Meteghan) as well as Radio-Radio but yes, that’s where they started and now are major players in the global francophone music scene! These guys have broken the mould and are trendsetters in major cities like Montreal. The most interesting part is that they achieved all of their successes by sticking to their Acadian roots. There’s a lot of cultural pride and integrity in the movement and there’s no doubt you know where these guys are from.

As we’re doing this interview, I just received an e-mail with a link to Jacques Surette of Yarmouth. A 16-year-old Acadian singer/songwriter, who put a video of himself playing on YouTube and it has already collected 140,000 views in 48 hours!

Wow – that’s amazing- will he be a subject as well in one of the shows?

He has definitely caught our attention and we’ll be keeping a close eye on him for sure. One of the beauties of documentary making is that nothing is ever set in stone; the research and the development of scripts are ongoing until we deliver the final master. As for Vague d’Acadie, it’s quite possible that we reach out to him, perhaps also for the upcoming season of Pour L’amour du Country.

Why do you think it is important to tell this story?

This is a great story, many know its stars, but few are aware of its origins. It all started as traditional music, which then slowly grew into various fusions of different styles. For example, a blend of hip pop, rap and trash folk are not musical genres we typically associate with rural Acadian music. It can be seen through examples such as: Lisa Leblanc bumping ahead of Madonna and Adele on the iTunes chart when she released her platinum selling self-titled debut album; or Radio Radio, who were finalists for the Polaris Prize producing rhymes in their beautiful but thick “French Acadian Shore,” accents; or Wilfred LeBoutillier, the fisherman turned artist who won Star Académie (the French version of American Idol) that made him a household name. This new “wave” of artists has similarities to the alternative grunge scene of the 90’s with bands like Sloan or Eric’s Trip that went from obscurity to headlining shows on major stages around the world. But how they got there, and all that’s involved - not everyone knows.

Acadian band Cy, one the artists to be featured on Vague D'Acadie.  

What Acadian artists will the documentary series follow/highlight?

We’ll be interviewing multiple artists from all over, the first that come to mind is Joseph Edgar, our host. He’ll be conducting interviews with names such as Radio Radio, Lisa LeBlanc, Cy, Arthur Comeau and Roch Voisine – to name a few.

Where can people learn more?

It’s still very early in this series but we will have a web page with lots of extra content. Eventually, we’ll be promoting via the production’s Facebook page and twitter account. The broadcasters, ARTV and Radio-Canada, will also be promoting the series as we get closer to the air dates (TBD). But as it’s still early days, these aren’t up and running yet – stay tuned!

Vague d’Acadie is qualified to receive funding through the Nova Scotia Film & Television Production Incentive Fund. Learn more about filming in Nova Scotia and accessing the Nova Scotia Film & Television Production Incentive Fund.

Use our Film Fund Estimator tool to estimate funding available for your Nova Scotia production.