Wayne Price and Halin de Repentigny are among the last canoe builders. For thousands of years Pacific Northwest indigenous people crafted dugout canoes from giant logs. Indigenous people of eastern Canada built bark canoes which later became widely used by voyageurs in the fur trade.
Voices Across the Water is about master canoe builders who hold on by threads to traditional watercraft that once held up entire civilizations. At a glance, these two men lead very different lives but they are connected as practitioners of the disappearing art of traditional canoe construction.
Both are visual artists of significant repute, with their life’s work rooted in the landscapes of their distinct cultures. They are each the same age (60) reflecting on lives rich in experience and accomplishment, and now they are concerned about legacy and succession: how to preserve their traditional canoe-building skills at the core of their cultural identities before it’s lost. With passion and determination they are trying to practice these old technologies, and hoping others will seek to learn from them before it’s too late.
The film is a co-production with the National Film Board of Canada.