Saturday, January 06, 2007

The world loves you.

Helen, July 2004, visiting Halifax.

Jim and Paul trade specs, July 2004, Halifax.

In case you haven't seen it yet, the official Helen Hill tribute website is up. Click here.

The little super 8 clip, below, is one of only a few bits of Helen footage I have on-hand here in Korea. I apologize for the quality. I shot this in Calgary (May 1999), on a filmmaker trip there with Helen Hill, Helen Bredin, and Jim MacSwain from Halifax. I transferred it, along with all my super 8 stuff, very quickly and haphazardly the day we were packing up to leave Halifax, in Aug 2005. Sadly, it was also the day of Hurricane Katrina. The last phone call we got before our Halifax phone was disconnected, actually, was from Helen. Telling us not to worry, that they escaped the storm...

Anyway, here's Helen Hill doing what she did (past tense still hard to say) best: making sure everyone's in the frame. Here, she insists on filming me almost right off the bat, she tries to convince the reluctant Helen Bredin to turn around, and we manage to find Rick Doe's small film processing lab, which was the point of this particular excursion to Calgary's NE industrial park area. Helen made sure I was included in this trip to Calgary, as a filmmaker - my first of many amazing opportunities Helen gave me. I was still a student at NSCAD, having just completed her wonderful animation summer course, and I was also one of her downstairs flat neighbours.

Helen was just beginning her "Combustible Countdown" project, her mission to bring together recipes and stories of filmmakers who made hand-crafted cinema (which eventually became the book "Recipes for Disaster" and the short film, "Madame Winger Makes a Film"). Watching her go to the lengths she went to bring everyone together, like she's doing here (she's in the orange scarf) is the best inspiration.


And I can't believe I found this today - I put together some clips from our road trip to Phil Hoffman's Film Farm (June 2000) as a sort of going away tribute, when they left Halifax in December of 2000.



Some links
From the New York Times (thanks, James):
click

From CBC:
click
(realaudio links on the top, and intro text is on this page, too - scroll about 1/2 way down)

click
(Nova Scotia-based story)


September 18, 2000. Paul, Helen, me, and Rosie in front of our home at 5515 Falkland Street, Halifax, NS. Photo by John Porter. See more of his beautiful images of Helen at his site, Super8Porter.

We are still trying to put our grief into whatever constructive, positive plans are in the works. They're so much in the hearts of so many, so the energy to organize and collectively remember feels frenetic, especially at the edges of the action, which is where we are. We're trying to get in touch with as many people as we can and we really need to be part of what's going on right now. We're awake at the wrong times, and all of our contributable photos and notes and everything is locked up 13 timezones away. We can't express how sorry we are to not be able to be closer to anyone right now. Waking up after getting a few hours' rest made the cycle of grief start all over again. I know this is a lot to ask, but if you're one of our friends who has been asking us if there's anything you can do for us (which just feels so ridiculous since we know as well as anyone that we are so, so far from being the only ones grieving)... the only thing I can think of is to please, please just keep in touch with us. I really can't stand being here right now and communication's all I got.

Paul and Helen and Kenny and Katrina and Rod and Dan and Lisa and James and my Mom and my Dad and Ali and Siloen and wow, we're just missing everyone right now.

Update: just saw this Daily News article. It was about 2am here when I talked with the reporter, and obviously, I was pretty out of it.

6 Comments:

Blogger Chellezilla said...

Becka and Jim, I'm so sorry for your loss. I wish there was something I could do to help you guys right now.

Take care.

5:33 AM GMT+9  
Blogger Kephanie said...

Hey, guys

It's hard. It's all hard, and just so, so wrong.

But I guess that where life's randomness kicks in, we have no choice but to search for meaning: life is worth living in colour. Beauty is everywhere. Love is way greater than the sum of its parts. What's always right is to be good people, doing good work. Helen was, is; Paul is, and you are, too. We're with you over here, more than you know.

ooo,
Kev and Steph on Moran St.

10:06 AM GMT+9  
Blogger spazz-boy said...

hey Becka...
The loss of Helen is a big one...she was a unique guiding light in a dark dumb world...We're all thinking about her and the family, whereever we are...

I remember that day you guys went to the Local Lab. You stopped by our house where all the puppets live and where Helen Bredin got to stay...
That film is amazing to see 'cause our friend, Rick Doe, has also left us. He had a heart attack at the lab in 2004.
I hope your travels are rich with tastes and images 'cause that's what your friends would like to share...

peter (and brenda)
Calgary

2:10 PM GMT+9  
Blogger John said...

Thanks for writing this. Helen was an Angel. John Preble

3:47 PM GMT+9  
Blogger Annette said...

becka, i wish there was a way to talk with you more privately, but just know that my thoughts and my Heart are with you and Jim right now. I've devoured everything I could fine these past two days; newspaper articles, photos, drawings, artifacts but your words have touched the saddest place in me. I'm sorry you are so far away from everyone you need right now. There is a memorial being planned for next saturday, if there are words you want me to send, a special recipe you want made, anything, please let me know. Though I didn't know them well, I lived across the street in 1999, and as everyone else, was moved by their infectious spirit, joy, beauty, generosity, unique vibrancy, kindness. I connected with them at a time when I was intensely insular and self-protective, and just their presence showed me the promise of immense light. One of my most vivid memories of Helen was when, in the dead of night, a woman was screaming for help on gottingen street. At the time, there were some crack houses in the neighborhood, and it was a common sound that most of us had trained ourselves to ignore. Helen came rushing down the stairs, scanning the street to see who needed her. In that instant, she became a role model for me.
I'm making myself weepy writing to you, so i'll go now. I know you have many shoulders out there, but I am always one more.

You take care. Love Annette

9:27 AM GMT+9  
Blogger Annette said...

becka, i wish there was a way to talk with you more privately, but just know that my thoughts and my Heart are with you and Jim right now. I've devoured everything I could fine these past two days; newspaper articles, photos, drawings, artifacts but your words have touched the saddest place in me. I'm sorry you are so far away from everyone you need right now. There is a memorial being planned for next saturday, if there are words you want me to send, a special recipe you want made, anything, please let me know. Though I didn't know them well, I lived across the street in 1999, and as everyone else, was moved by their infectious spirit, joy, beauty, generosity, unique vibrancy, kindness. I connected with them at a time when I was intensely insular and self-protective, and just their presence showed me the promise of immense light. One of my most vivid memories of Helen was when, in the dead of night, a woman was screaming for help on gottingen street. At the time, there were some crack houses in the neighborhood, and it was a common sound that most of us had trained ourselves to ignore. Helen came rushing down the stairs, scanning the street to see who needed her. In that instant, she became a role model for me.
I'm making myself weepy writing to you, so i'll go now. I know you have many shoulders out there, but I am always one more.

You take care. Love Annette

9:27 AM GMT+9  

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