Planet in Focus: Brick by Brick – The Story of the Evergreen Brick Works

By Matthew Higginson, LEAF
Read more reviews from the Planet in Focus film festival, sponsored by WWF.
As she should, after all she and her creative team picked up a 2011 Heritage Toronto Award of Excellence in the Media Category for their film Brick by Brick: The Story of Evergreen Brick Works. The doc takes a fun approach to one of the most amazingly sustainable projects in North America.
Looking at the history of the area, all the way back to the apple orchards and beaches, she includes interviews with a colourful cast of former prisoners of war, hipster artists, “crop growers,” photographers and brick workers. These stories punctuate the narrative of Geoff Cape, Executive Director of Evergreen, on his journey to pull together the most ambitious project of his career.
Watching the project go up, through the hardships and shortfalls, offered a nice synopsis of all that goes down in that corner of the Don Valley and hearing Geoff tell it in a very honest and unguarded way was inspiring. The best moment – beyond the dry statement that “the all night art parties were a lot more fun than a farmers market would ever be,” was watching the smiling faces of the children who took part in Evergreen’s earliest projects and the moving TV spots they started with.

Though the film screened with Second Nature: The Biomimicry Evolution, the discussion that follows is spent mostly on questions for Geoff.  One attendee notes how strongly the two films complement each other – kudos to the programmers at PIF for that.  As Second Nature speaks broadly about the opportunities that arise by paying closer attention to nature, Annau sets her sights on a localized project that blends with the landscape, borrowing as much from nature as it gives back.
Having spent time at the Brickworks while it’s buzzing with life I’ve got to say, those must have been some pretty amazing art parties.