February 13, 2020
Film and television producer Caroline Cox emerged on the Northwest Territories (NWT) film scene only five years ago and she’s already taking it by storm. Following on the success of her series Wild Kitchen, Cox most recently took home the top prize at Prime Time Ottawa’s Power Pitch competition for her upcoming feature-length film Food for the Rest of Us. We caught up with her to hear more.
Can you tell me a bit about Food for the Rest of Us?
It’s a feature documentary about marginalized people farming and harvesting as a form of activism. The inspiration came out of Wild Kitchen and with the help of Talent to Watch funding we received, we were able to start work on the film.
We shot in Tuktoyaktuk and Inuvik and talked to people about greenhouse gardening in the high arctic and the ties to food sovereignty. We also shot in Ottawa, Hawaii, Denver and Kansas City. I felt it was important to have a broad scope and to tell stories from outside the north. The aim was to reach a larger audience and to share northern stories with that audience. I didn’t want to shy away from going big.
What was the experience like, pitching in front of those leading industry representatives?
I was definitely a bit nervous when I went up because I hadn’t done a pitch before or much public speaking, but I know the film really well and I’m passionate about it so when I got on stage it was easy to talk about and the nerves faded away.
The Power Pitch prize was pretty significant – a combination of funding and in-kind services valued at $35,000. What will that be used for?
We wrapped shooting for Food for the Rest of Us at the end of October so the next stage is post-production. We’ll be using that prize for post-audio mixing and marketing.
How did you get involved in film? What was your first foray into the industry?
I had done some experimental films, particularly when I was a musician. Then, when Animal Planet’s Ice Lake Rebels came to town I was hired on in the first season as a Production Assistant and in the second season as Associate Producer. That was really where I learned about story development, casting, and how to manage a day from the producer side of things. The mentorship from folks in LA working on broadcast-quality projects was really important to building my knowledge and skills. That work really informed how I structured Wild Kitchen.
You’ve reached some pretty big milestones already – including travelling to France for the Sunnyside of the Doc festival as part of Telefilm Canada’s delegation. What have been some of the biggest highlights so far?
My Copper Quartz Media Inc. partner, Tiffany Ayalik, and I went to the Bentonville Film Festival in Arkansas in 2017 for Wild Kitchen. It’s the festival that Geena Davis founded. They treated us really well and it was just an incredible experience.
Working on Food for the Rest of Us was also a major highlight. I was challenged by it and pushed myself professionally. I’m really excited to see how we pull it all off and I’m hoping to have it released by this fall.
How has the NWT Film Commission impacted the work you’re doing?
With every project I’ve worked on the [Film Commission] has helped us reach our funding goal. It’s so important. For Food for the Rest of Us we received development funding from the Film Commission and that enabled us to put a trailer together to start pitching the film. That pitch trailer really helped us get momentum and initial funders for the project.