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Squamish featured in CBC docu-series

Local is the director-producer behind The Nature of Things, 'Wild Canadian Weather — Wind' episode

Like the familiar and soothing cadence of David Suzuki's voice, Squamish is immediately identifiable in an upcoming The Nature of Things, Wild Canadian Weather episode.

The Wind episode, which airs on CBC Jan. 29, features Squamish at about the 10-minute mark with a stunning helicopter shot that sweeps up next to the Stawamus Chief and then widens to Howe Sound and the Spit.

Later, an aerial shot shows dozens of kiters out doing their thing in the blustery sound.

Squamish's Louise Ferguson, of River Road Films, was the producer and director of the Wind episode.

The company created all the episodes in the series — Wind, Rain, Cold, and Sun.

Other episodes also include scenes from Squamish — such as the Rain episode that includes Squamish Valley footage.

The Wind episode includes many faces familiar to local kitesurfing fans.

The Squamish Windsports Society was "incredibly helpful" in the shoot, Ferguson noted.

There are close-up shots of several local kiters.

Kiteboarder Sean Millington is featured at the Spit, discussing the power of the wind. 

Kiters Matt Cooper, Sam Medysky, and Denham Trollip played important roles too,  Ferguson said.

The project began in June 2018 and includes footage of the last KiteClash, in 2019.

(The popular kiteboarding competition was cancelled last summer due to the pandemic.)

Luckily, almost the entire Wind episode was shot before COVID-19 hit, Ferguson said, adding there were just two short bits to shoot after the pandemic was declared.

Other less-recognizably local shots were also from Squamish.

"I filmed in people's gardens, like when you see wind chimes and flowers getting blown by the wind — I filmed most of that in Squamish," Ferguson said, adding that she worked with members of the Squamish Gardening Facebook page.

But like Squamish weather, filming doesn't always go as planned.

Take the helicopter shots, which included the Stawamus Chief and the aerial view of the kiters, for example.

"That was such a touch-and-go moment, it was ridiculous," Ferguson said, over the phone from her Squamish home, as her dog intermittently barked in the background.

There were 60 or 70 kiters who volunteered to be out on Howe Sound kiting for the shot that was set for about 2:30 p.m., but there was a problem with the camera equipment and the shoot was delayed and delayed.

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Scene from The Nature of Things, 'Wild Canadian Weather — Wind' episode

"The kite surfers were amazing," she said. "They all went far out into the sound, which is really choppy, so it is really hard work for them."

The crew considered stopping and doing the shoot another day, but the kiters were doing their tricks and the weather was beautiful so they persevered and got the shoot done, but closer to dinner than they all would have liked.

"We got enough [shots] that were really beautiful," she said.

Ferguson moved to Squamish from the U.K., where she had worked for the BBC Natural History Unit, about six years ago, with her husband, who had gotten work here.

"It has been amazing and the opportunity to come here and exclusively film Canadian wildlife, which I had always heard about and am passionate about — there is literally nowhere else in the world with what we have."

She next moves on to another natural history documentary, which is strictly confidential for the time being she said, starting next week.

Ferguson said previously, nature documentary work was mostly done back east, but with companies like Vancouver's River Road Films, owned by award-winning cinematographer  Jeff Turner, more and more are bringing a focus to the West Coast.

"We are trying to grow this genre over here," she said.

The Nature of Things, Wild Canadian Weather episodes air as follows: Cold - Jan. 15; Rain - Jan. 22; Wind - Jan. 29; and Sun - Feb 5.

Find out more about the series here.