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Presenting our next Live Documentary Project for 2019/2020


Ice Farmers  traces the history of the “Back to the Land” scheme of the 1930s, an initiative that saw the relocation of out of work men and their families from southern Ontario to the fertile but frigid Clay Belt of north. This had been the third attempt by the government to establish agriculture in the region since 1916 and it was the third scheme to fail due to the unsuitability of the land for farming with its limited 80 days annually without frost. During the Depression, out of work, and out-of-options men and their families headed north for adventure only to be exposed to starvation, isolation, poverty, bitter cold, and finally, defeat. The film explores the story of one family’s struggles to survive and the land itself as tormentor, victim and witness. Ice Farmers is a transmedia project, viewable as a traditional documentary and live documentary experience performed with the Windsor Symphony Orchestra and audience participation.

The film considers the perils of government organized relocation of citizens. Can a bureaucracy operate in the best interests of people and adequately support population transfer? Should they ever be involved in telling people where to live?