The great movie dancer Ginger Rogers is reported to have said that “the joy of dancing is conversation.” Well, the TBL video Faire danser un village certainly got a joyful conversation going. Joy flows from the video starring Town of Brome Lake, its charming hamlets, its history, its landscapes and mostly its residents who dance to the tune of an original track written by local composer, Amos Joannides.
Fruit of the imagination of producer Marie-Claire Lord, the video Faire danser un village began life thanks to some internet financing which first enabled production of a pilot film in the Brome-Missisquoi region.
One hundred thousand viewings later, Maria Condaro of TBL Tourism, councillor Louise Morin and her colleague Lee Patterson grasped “the potential, the soothing comfort, the tranquillity and the joy released by that kind of video,” explains Morin, “especially in the global context of disruptive weather and politics. So we said, ‘Let’s get going’.”
It was by internet that invitations to participate in the project were sent out. The response was immediate and significant, according to Morin. Shooting the film took just one weekend.
Enthusiastically, Lord points out, “Everyone got the word out in the village. Elected officials, employees, everyone had suggestions for the filming.” What emerges from the video, to Lord’s delight, is that “the participants are natural, authentic, in their milieu, in their daily life. They experience a sense of belonging which enhances their quality of life.” Several ‘dancers’ met at the venue for the first time, for the dancing. Others, such as the firemen, were hesitant to appear in a film. They needed to be convinced. Councillor Patterson managed to persuade them to participate and ultimately set them on fire.
For Lord, success first came with 30,000 views on the internet. Two weeks after the film’s launch they had reached almost 300,000. This video, grounded in the tangible reality of a people and their town, was made possible and measured by the global reach of the virtual world.
A Mobilizing Impact
The municipality invested $20,000 in this project to create pride and a sense of belonging among its people. It will also boost the town’s tourism offer and profile.
Currently, the some 273,000 views and 4,500 shares on Facebook have encouraged very positive feedback. “This was a surprise for us, a surprise that exceeded our expectations” emphasizes Ghislain Forcier, TBL’s Director of Communications.
While it is hard to pin down the profile of those who actually viewed Faire danser un village, a film shared on four virtual platforms, including those of Eastern Townships Tourism and Brome Lake Tourism, it was viewed around the world when Louise Penny, Knowlton’s well-known author, who being out of the country could not participate in the film, shared it on her Facebook page, as did many TBL residents who also shared their joy of living here.
Translation: Tam Davis