Guardians of Eternity

France Benoit | Canada | 2015 | 25 mins


Guardians of Eternity Synopsis

Giant Mine, located near Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories, is still an unhealed, open wound for Mary Rose Sundberg, a grandmother from the Yellowknives Dene First Nation. On behalf of her grandchildren and her people, she is anxiously following the remediation of the 237,000 tons of arsenic buried underground, enough arsenic to kill the world a few times over if it gets in contact with water.

The mine happens to be located under the source of water for Yellowknife, Great Slave Lake, which eventually makes its way to the Arctic Ocean. The permafrost is melting underground, water is infiltrating the tunnels, and we will need to pump that water to the surface forever. Mary Rose is worried.

How do we communicate the toxicity lying under Giant Mine to future generations, those who will follow us in 100 years, 1,000 years, or 100,000 years? We must warn them of the danger lurking down under, the monster under Giant Mine. Her people have communicated their knowledge since time immemorial through legends and stories.

Must they now create a modern legend about this man-made toxic waste? Mary Rose pleads for future generations, the guardians of eternity.

About the Filmmaker

France Benoit is a policy advisor turned filmmaker who decided to become a vegetable farmer in Yellowknife. After a feature documentary, she switched to short films and recently completed her first short fiction. She has lived in Yellowknife for 26 years. She has been directing films for more than a decade.

Her film, Un pied dans la main/Hand to Toe, was selected for Hot Docs in 2011, the first filmmaker from the Northwest Territories to be selected. In 2008, with Les Productions Rivard of Winnipeg, Radio-Canada, and RDI, France wrote and directed One River, Two Shores, reflections on the Mackenzie Gas Project. The documentary discusses the environmental, spiritual and socio-economic consequences of the proposed natural gas pipeline which would largely follow the Mackenzie River in the Northwest Territories.

The film was selected to the Rendez-vous du cinéma québécois in Montréal in 2009. Also in 2009, for the TVA show Viens voir ici, France completed a 30-minute episode on local food production in Yellowknife. France continues to live self-sufficiently in the boreal forest outside of Yellowknife, pumping her water from the lake, heating her home from wood, and drawing her energy from the sun.

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