By Belle Hatfield
Rae-Anne LaPlante has a dream to film a documentary on Sable Island off Nova Scotia’s east coast.
The British Columbia-based videographer is using a fundraising website as her community bulletin board, turning the world into her neighborhood.
Kickstarter.com is a platform for funding creative projects.
“If it wasn't for Kickstarter, I would be waiting years, possibly a lifetime, to be able to produce this documentary. It has really kick-started my dream,” she said in an interview, generated by a bulk e-mail sent out to news organizations on the east coast.
By the end of last week, S(t)able Island – The Beauty of the Free had raised $12,000 of the $15,000 goal.
For the British Columbia videographer, the pursuit of the dream has become an all-consuming adventure, one that began as an answer to that age-old question, “If you could do anything, what would it be?”
Her answer was immediate; film a documentary on Sable Island. Her friend’s advice was to “dream smaller”. That has only made her more determined.
“You’re never too old to pursue your passion, and never too young to chase your dreams,” she says.
Much of her support has come from the equestrian community, in which she is deeply entrenched. In the past month she has haunted horse shows, setting up her information booth. Her enthusiasm and passion for this project are infectious. Online equestrian magazines and blogs have featured her story. Radio stations have interviewed her.
She rises each morning by 5 and puts in hours answering and sending e-mails before going to her day job in Victoria as a videographer at a local Shaw Cable outlet.
On the day she spoke with The Vanguard she had just answered an e-mail from a supporter in Belgium who had happened on her video appeal and made a donation.
“Kickstarter has been a really great platform to connect with people. It has helped to connect me to the world. It’s like making my dream local, but the world is my neighborhood. It is being seen by so many people,” she said.
It was the allure of the Sable Island pony, bred in isolation since first being introduced to the island in the 1700s, that first fueled her interest in Sable Island.
Her research has deepened her understanding of the island and its fragile, yet resilient eco-system.
“We [humans] can’t sustain ourselves on that island without a lot of support, yet the wild horses, the other animals -- the whole eco-system of Sable Island -- thrive so well,” she says.
She wants her video to open a lens on the island, so that people, most of whom will never physically see Sable Island can experience a natural eco-system at work.
“I want to inspire people to appreciate and understand our environment,” she said.
She has permission from the Canadian Coast Guard to visit the island next August or September. If she reaches her $15,000 goal, she’ll spend the next 10 months getting ready. Access to the island, which is a national park, is restricted.
This Friday, Nov. 16, the clock will stop ticking and she will know whether her dream has been funded, or if she has to start over. She says the experience has been worth it no matter which way it turns out. “I’ll figure out a way. This is my life’s passion,” she said.
To view LaPlante’s video go to: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/676944760/stable-island-the-beauty-of-the-free.