Kelly Saxberg is a film producer, director, editor and cinematographer who has worked on over 100 films. She works in English, French, Spanish and Finnish. Most recently she completed Long Walk Home: The Incredible Journey of Sheila Burnford, a 37minute documentary she produced, edited, filmed and co-directed. Kelly has mentored dozens of emerging filmmakers in Thunder Bay through Flash Frame workshops and collaborative film projects since 2001. She organized 4 Docs North Doc Nord, 5 day intensive filmmaking workshops aimed at filmmakers from remote northern communities across the far north of Ontario. In 2016 she gained expertise in 360 VR video and projection mapping. She has now been a mentor for seven 360 workshops and collaborative productions. She is a collaborator on the SSHRC funded new media project LakeheadFinns.ca In 2005, Kelly and Ron Harpelle founded The Bay Street Film Festival with a mandate to celebrate and promote regional film. She is a past chair of the Board. She was elected Treasurer of the board of the Finlandia Association of Thunder Bay in 2014-2015. She is also a contract lecturer in the History Department at Lakehead University teaching History in Frame. Her project “One Woman’s North: The incredible Journey of Sheila Burnford” received a Northern Arts Grant and an NOHFC grant and is nearing completion.
Where the Poppies Grow is a short docu-drama about one soldier during the Great War. Alfred Saxberg was a first generation Finnish Canadian who signed up at the beginning of the war and was fortunate to return home in 1919. When the Great War ended In November 1918, the people of the Lakehead could take pride in the contributions they had made. Over 6,200 people enlisted either as volunteers or conscripts. At home, the community supported the war by raising money to assist soldiers’ wives, children, and other dependents. There were also campaigns to help finance the purchase of military equipment and to send personal items to the soldiers overseas. By the end of the conflict, approximately 300 people from the Lakehead were killed overseas or died of illness due to their war service. Thousands more were wounded in body and mind. Where the Poppies Grow is a docu-drama that looks at the sacrifices made by people from the Lakehead to secure victory in the war.
Long Walk Home: The Incredible Journey of Sheila Burnford is a documentary about a writer adventurer who grew up in Scotland, survived the Blitz in London, emigrated to Thunder Bay, and spent the last 20 years of her life either at her cabin on Loon Lake; on a remote reserve or an Arctic community or her writer’s garret in Sussex. The 1963 Disney movie based on her classic novel “The Incredible Journey” made her famous but her real accomplishments as a writer were yet to come.
The Bishop Who Ate His Boots is a film by Richard Stringer who died before it was complete. After his death in 2007, several of Richards friends gave of their time to complete the film. Kelly Saxberg edited and finished the final version in memory of Richard.
When we hear of identity theft we usually think about someone gaining access to bank accounts or making purchases on someone else’s credit card, but we seldom find a case of someone successfully living another person’s life. A.K.A. is a documentary about the little-known story of Ronald Ivan MacDonald, a serial impostor with only a high school education who stole the identities and obtained work as a psychologist at several universities, clinics and hospitals in Canada. MacDonald managed to stay one step ahead of the authorities until February 1966 when he was revealed to be an impostor at Lakehead University. He had stolen the identity of a leading American academic and for three years managed to trick his colleagues at the university and the local hospital, and an entire community, into believing he was a published author with a PhD in Psychology. A.K.A. uses a combination of archival footage, dramatizations and interviews to explore the world of Ronald Ivan MacDonald, a Canadian response to Ferdinand Demara.
Guardians of Eternity is a documentary film produced by Shebafilms as part of a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada funded project called Toxic Legacies. It is available in English, French and Spanish. The project was led by John Sandlos and Arn Keeling of Memorial University. They teamed up with Ron Harpelle to produce the film. Toxic Legacies examines the history of arsenic contamination at Giant Mine in Canada’s Northwest Territories. It involved a partnership among researchers at Memorial University, Lakehead University, the Goyatiko Language Society (a Yellowknives Dene First Nation non-profit), and Alternatives North (a Yellowknife environmental and social justice coalition).
Engaging the World is a non-linear documentary film produced by Shebafilms using the Korsakow System to generate viewing options that form an evolving structure for the film. The elements of Engaging the World are a series of 52 short videos intended to spark discussion on key issues in international development. The videos were edited by Gabriel Harpelle and made using outtakes from the 180 hours of video shot while making Citoyens du Monde/Citizens of the World. The discussions with the individuals who appear in Engaging the World were edited using images gathered in the course of filming the series. Click here to visit the website to find out more about the project or click here to start Engaging the World.
Pulp Friction is a documentary film about people, places and the global economy. The film was funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada as part of a long-term research project dealing with the new economy and northern communities.