The Brackendale Art Gallery featured in upcoming documentary

The Art Gallery in the Woods to be released August 1

It is lights, camera, action for the man known by many in Squamish as the President of the Republic of Brackendale, Thor Froslev.

Froslev, the Brackendale Art Gallery, and Brackendale itself are the subjects of an upcoming documentary.

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Burgeoning Vancouver documentarians Laura Palka, originally from Spain, and Michael Hansen, from Denmark, will release The Art Gallery in the Woods this summer.

“We saw Thor as a missionary, really,” said Hansen. “And we thought [the BAG] was such a big cultural beacon for B.C. in general.”

The film looks at how the art gallery and Froslev are the heart of a thriving creative and cultural Brackendale community.

The documentarians filmed many events, including the Brackendale Fall Fair and the Christmas dinner at the BAG.

“It is not really about Thor, it is about how [the BAG] is a community centre,” noted Palka.

Though this is their first full-length documentary, the pair has experience in film and TV. Hansen’s career is in visual effects while Palka is a film and TV technician, specializing in camera and editing work.

Hansen originally came to Squamish from his home in Denmark when he visited the gallery in 2011 when he was 21 years old.

After returning to Denmark to finish his education, Hansen and partner Palka asked Froslev if they could come and stay at the gallery. While there they learned about the gallery being for sale and were inspired to put the story on screen.

“We heard about the gallery situation, and everything and Thor’s age was catching up with him, so we decided to make a documentary about the place,” Hansen said.

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Mayor Patricia Heintzman, members of different organizations such as the Squamish Streamkeepers Society, Eagle Watch and various artists and friends of the gallery, are also featured in the 50-minute documentary.

The filmmakers say through the process of making their film they were inspired by how such a small place — Brackendale and the gallery — could do such big things.

“That is what we learned, that a small place and an individual can really accomplish big things,” said Hansen.

The footage is all shot and the editing of the film are complete. Next will be some further post-production tinkering and figuring out plans for the feature’s distribution.

The official release date for the film is August 1.

The couple plan on making more documentaries, likely on environmental causes, once this one is behind them, they said. 

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