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P.E.I.'s Susan Rodgers selected to create short documentary for National Film Board

Susan Rodgers, a P.E.I. filmmaker, is working on a short documentary with the National Film Board.
Susan Rodgers, a P.E.I. filmmaker, is working on a short documentary with the National Film Board. - Contributed

A Prince Edward Island filmmaker is one of three to be selected to create a short documentary for the National Film Board. 

Susan Rodgers, best known for her book series, Drifters, and her feature-length film, Still the Water, is working on a documentary-short (under 15 minutes) on Chad Matthews of Skinners Pond and his work as a tribute artist and his portrayal as Stompin’ Tom Connors. 

Chad Matthews appears as Stompin' Tom Connors in the P.E.I. Close to the Ground Concert Series in 2019.
Chad Matthews appears as Stompin' Tom Connors in the P.E.I. Close to the Ground Concert Series in 2019.

The project is still in the development stage, and Rodgers is currently working on researching Matthews and Connors. 

“There were a lot of stories that pass through my mind, but they kept coming back to featuring a tribute artist. The idea of playing (Connors) and Chad is a really intriguing character,” said Rodgers. 

She pitched the documentary idea to the NFB as part of its Reimagine the Island campaign. 

The board did a similar project a few years ago with Reimagine Nova Scotia.

“With Reimagine the Island, we were able to get Newfoundland and P.E.I. in there,” said Rohan Fernando. 

He said the board doesn’t usually conduct callouts to filmmakers, but projects like this allow the board to work with new people and to reinvigorate the form of short-form documentaries. 

“It acts as a lab environment for the filmmakers involved. It allows them to work with a team of people they want to work with but also people who will help them with their craft.”

He said Rodgers’s project was one that stood out among about 40 submissions. 

Rodgers said it’s a different kind of project than those that she usually works on. 

“It’s unscripted, so there are always surprises. You have a blueprint of how you want the project to go, but then you just go from there.”

She said she’s looking forward to working with Matthews.

“I’m excited to deliver what he offers to the world … in a very cinematic way. 

Matthews said he’s humbled to be part of the project. 

“It’s very exciting. This is the first one I’ve been a part of … I was surprised to be part of this and I’m really looking forward to it.”

Both Rodgers and Fernando are hoping COVID-19 restrictions will be lifted for inter-provincial travel to allow for members of the editing team and the other filmmakers to convene in St. John’s for story concept editing. 

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