Twenty years, twenty thousand kilometres
When Einstein was asked what made him a genius, his answer was simple, “Curiosity.”
That same characteristic makes creative Sandy Hill media artists Helene Lacelle and me never give up, since curiosity keeps us making new and innovative pieces of life in our creative dimensions.
“All our contributions to understanding life start with our curiosity to pursue knowledge of our lives and our culture.”
In Sane, our latest “real & raw,” no-crew documentary explores the ups and downs in the life of volatile, bipolar photographer Marko Polakiwski, who has spent most of his life trying to figure out how to overcome his mental illness enough to produce a body of work. That body of work means he’s on the road recording all Canada’s UNESCO World Heritage sites.
No crew, just Marko and me and our old vehicle barrelling along highway after highway, site after site, sleeping in the car, in a tent or hostel to keep things on the cheap since In Sane was funded by ourselves.
“I’m not making any money on this but I’m hoping to make a name for myself as a photographer and at least learn how to make ‘one off’ books of my photographs to take around to schools to show young people how great Canada is and how one can overcome adversity to make their life liveable,” Marko says while in his borrowed studio, walls lined with thumbnails of his work.
The studio belongs to Marko’s mentor the internationally famous photographer Edward Burtynsky, who tells us that photography is an ideal way to help someone understand the meaning of their life through the life around them. “You shoot an image and then later you reflect on that image to go deeper and really see that life around you. It does help put meaning into your life. Marko needs meaning in life to help stabilize his bipolar issues.”
So after 20 years and 20,000 kilometres out comes In Sane all 20 minutes of it ready for the festival circuit. The title In Sane is broken into two words to indicate that being crazy is both sane and insane—that both are a part of the life of a person with mental illness. The documentary is inspired by all those courageous people who suffer from mental illness and is dedicated to Nicola Tesla.
Thanks to all those in the Sandy Hill community who offered advice and suggestions.
Lacelle and Evanchuck’s previous documentaries (completed in 2019) also reveal Canadian culture and social life as it is “real and raw”: Searching for a Beautiful Bachelor, and A Short History of Poverty have achieved remarkable success in the festival circuit, winning accolades and invitations to festivals in Fredericton, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Virginia, Florence and Rome.