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Film Reviews Haida Gwaii: On the Edge of the World, a documentary of the place and the people who live there

Filmmaker Charles Wilkinson, director of the documentary Haida Gwaii: On The Edge of the World, stands for a photograph outside the Vancity Theatre, one of the venues for the Vancouver International Film Festival, in Vancouver, B.C., on Thursday October 1, 2015.

DARRYL DYCK/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

3 out of 4 stars

Directed by
Charles Wilkinson
Starring
***
Country
Canada
Language
English

The Vancouver International Film Festival runs Sept. 24 through Oct. 9. Each day, The Globe and Mail picks at least one must-watch film.

In one quietly powerful shot in this spectacular-looking documentary, a father and son play on an empty beach as a barge packed with freshly cut logs glides along the pristine water and out of the frame. This is Haida Gwaii (formerly the Queen Charlotte Islands), an archipelago off the northwest coast of B.C. The place has an amazing history. But it was devastated after contact – first by smallpox, and then by the stripping of its culture and resources. So much more than a profile of this remarkable place and the cast of characters who populate it, this film captures the heart and heartbreak of the clashes it has seen, primarily over logging. And it hints at what's to come in a showdown over Enbridge's proposed Northern Gateway pipeline. As one resident warns and promises: "We are ready to fight, believe me."

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