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  • Spotlight on Lunenburg Nova Scotia Where the Land Meets the Sea

Spotlight on Lunenburg Nova Scotia Where the Land Meets the Sea

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

A featured character from the documentary harvesting Irish moss

Lunenburg Nova Scotia Where the Land Meets the Sea is a Nova Scotia production that will be broadcast to audiences in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland showcasing Lunenburg’s history, culture, its people, and their unique lifestyles. We got in touch with producer Edward Peill from Tell Tale Productions to learn more.

Tell us about this production.

This production is being produced for the northern German broadcaster, NDR (Norddeutscher Rundfunk), and the German version of the film will be broadcasted to audiences in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The English language version will be made available to broadcasters in Canada and around the world.

NDR has an ongoing documentary series that looks at a wide range of stories from around the world. Each film explores a different region and profiles the daily life of six to eight people. This film will be a snapshot of Lunenburg and Lunenburg County, and we’ve got a range of different stories. The characters are quite diverse so that was appealing to the broadcaster.

We cover a variety of stories, from the local dory races, to following a character who does horse logging, which he claims to be a more sustainable way of harvesting wood. We follow a couple who does seaweed harvesting from a small boat, which is then processed and exported, for further processing.

We’re going to be looking at Christmas tree farming – Lunenburg County is the Christmas tree capital of Canada. Additionally, we’re looking at the Lunenburg Opera House restoration, as it recently had its grand re-opening after a 10 year renovation. We’re also going to follow a group that flies ultralights and do backcountry trips. Another story is about a marine-animal rescue group, and the last story is about a family who live on a farm on Second Peninsula and make sauerkraut.

And we’ll also tell a little bit about the history of Lunenburg and Lunenburg County and how it was settled.  One of the main stories is about the building of a traditional 60′ wooden schooner that was just launched this summer in Lunenburg. It was built in the same building where Bluenose II, the Bounty, the Rose and scores of other wooden vessels were built and we’ll follow the story from the laying of the keel right through to the launch.

Do you do a lot of content based in this area?

Our company has done quite a bit of marine-based content.  We’ve done films about sinking of the Bounty, the sinking of the Concordia, and several Land and Sea episodes that have Maritime themes including the annual schooner races, the history of boat building, lighthouses, islands, Halifax harbour, and marine disasters. I’m very interested in stories about the sea and exploring and sharing our maritime history.

Dave Westergard, a character from the documentary with the recently built schooner

Tell me about the language, is it scripted in German?

We’ll shoot everything in English and deliver the film in English, then the broadcaster will dub it into German, which is common practice for them. Lunenburg Country was settled by German and Swiss immigrants 260 years ago so I’m keen to share this history with audiences throughout Germany, Austria and Switzerland.   

Tell me what it’s like to film around Lunenburg.

We’ve done lots of filming in Lunenburg for different projects and it’s a really interesting and unique town. The fact that it’s a UNESCO World Heritage town makes it all the more attractive. The architecture is impressive and there’s lots of new, intriguing things happening there. Anywhere you point your camera, you’ve got something that’s visually appealing. It’s a great place to film and the town’s very open to it. They’ve had a lot of productions filmed over the past 20 years so they have a good understanding of what’s involved. They also see the direct impact and the positive benefit that it has on the town from a tourism standpoint.

Tell me a little bit about the crew you work with on this production?

The director, who we worked with on several projects before, is Rachel Bower.  She’s very talented at what she does and has a great sense of story and knows how to make her subjects comfortable, because that’s a big part of the job. You have to be able to have a good conversation and build a good rapport with people so they’ll share their experiences with you. Depending on the timing, we’ll have different cinematographers working on the film and so far we’ve had four different people shooting for us.  It’ll all be dependent on availability because we’re not just starting the film and shooting it all straight in 10 or 12 days.  We’ll be filming from the summer until winter because some of the stories play out over a period of a couple of months.

How long does it take to put a production like this together?

The conversation with the broadcaster started two years ago at a documentary event in Hong Kong and then we met again last fall in Vienna. After several meetings and discussions, we finally narrowed it down to a topic that was of interest to them and they greenlit the project this summer. The filming will take place over 5-6 months and then the editing will happen next spring, and the film will be completed early next summer.

Is everything made in Nova Scotia with this production?

Yes, it’ll be all Nova Scotia crew.  This is one of those cases where it’s 100% shot in Nova Scotia and features Nova Scotia stories. One of the other benefits that a lot of people may not realize, is the huge impact on the tourism industry. In this particular case, there’s already a very strong connection between Germany and Canada and particularly Nova Scotia, and we have a lot of Germans who like coming here for our wildlife, our nature, and the lifestyle. This film will be watched by millions of people in these German speaking countries and hopefully many of them will then decide to come and visit Nova Scotia.

So what’s the best thing, from your viewpoint, about doing what you do from Nova Scotia?

We’re very lucky here in Nova Scotia, because we have incredibly talented crew and a wide variety of locations. We have a long tradition of storytelling and our filmmakers can compete with anyone in the world. It’s important that we continue to share our stories not only with other Canadians, but with audiences around the world.


Lunenburg Nova Scotia Where the Land Meets the Sea is qualified to receive funding through the Nova Scotia Film & Television Production Incentive Fund. Learn more about filming in Nova Scotia and the Nova Scotia Film & Television Production Incentive Fund

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