Andrew Derksen

Filmmakers aim to draw tourists with DVD

Filmmakers plan promotional DVD for tourists and visitors, providing a virtual tour guide to highlight North Vancouver Island’s attractions.

PORT HARDY—Transplanted filmmaker Mark Job has lived here for less than a year. But that’s plenty long enough to spur the former Montreal resident to share the news about his adopted home town.

“It’s one of the best-kept secrets on the West Coast, as far as I’m concerned. It’s a real paradise here,” said Job, 50, an independent screenwriter, videographer and film editor. “In terms of wildlife, it’s like its own National Geographic television show, 12 months a year. There needs to be something done here.”

The “something” Job has in mind is a promotional DVD for tourists and visitors, providing a virtual tour guide to highlight North Vancouver Island’s attractions.

He has enlisted the support of Andrew Derksen, a small business owner who has lived here four years since relocating from Prince George, and Port 1240 radio announcer Brad Russell.

“Between us, we came up with the idea,” said Derksen, who is assisting in sales and marketing. “Being in Port Hardy for a while, I noticed there’s a lack of infrastructure for tourism. What we really need is tour guides or something like that. So we thought, why don’t we do something like a video?”

Job began shooting footage for the video during the recent Filomi Days celebration. He expects to have a “rough” cut within six weeks and a finished DVD by late September. It will not be a feature-length show, or even the equivalent of a half-hour television program, but rather a quick-hitting “highlight reel” designed to entice viewers to come to the North Island to live the experience in person.

“We need to say everything we need to say in a 15- to 20-minute envelope and keep it as direct as possible,” said Job. “Once you get longer than 15, 20 minutes max, it’s too much — there’s only so much a person can take in.”

“The whole idea is to make (viewers) want to come out here and enjoy the experience,” Derksen added. “We want to give them just a taste of it and get them excited.”

The team plans to pack plenty into the short video, with scenes of wildlife and scenic areas as well as both guided and independent activities like hiking, camping, wildlife viewing, fishing, kayaking, surfing, diving, caving and more. They will also touch on local events, such as Filomi Days, and culture, particularly that of the region’s First Nations.

“People coming from Europe, particularly, they want to see these native people and activities,” said Derksen. “That’s the golden egg for them; it’s something different.”

Job said he envisions the final DVD as live-action, set to music. An alternate version may have introductions and salutation cutaways with on-camera personnel.

“That’s where Brad (Russell) comes in,” said Job. “In marketing and promotion, he brings a lot to the table. Brad is also excellent at voice-over. If we need that voice on camera, Brad is very good.”

The group hopes to spread distribution of the finished DVD over a wide range of outlets, including travel agencies and visitors’ centres across Vancouver Island, while also offering online sales.

“We’d like to get these in airports, ferry terminals, anywhere people are traveling to come to the Island,” said Derksen.

Job said he hopes the DVD will both increase the number of visitors to the area and spur local entrepreneurs to engage in services catering to those guests — including the possibility of the aforementioned tour guiding services.

“Saying Port Hardy is a paradise isn’t enough,” he said. “Why is it a paradise? We need to qualify that, and the DVD qualifies why this area is such a paradise. That needs to be done, and I’m surprised it hasn’t been done.”