A drawing of a young boy with an oversized head, a character from BLA BLA, an interactive website produced by Vincent Morisset in 2011.

Press Releases & Media Kits

North American premiere of Wiebo's War at Hot Docs

Press release

2011/04/07


Wiebo Ludwig and filmmaker David York in attendance April 30


Toronto, April 7, 2011 – It’s an alarming tale of domestic eco-terrorism that has left more questions than answers: a series of pipeline bombings against this country’s oil and gas industry that echoes a similar campaign ten years earlier.

Wiebo Ludwig, leader of a closely knit Christian community in northern Alberta, is a suspect, having been convicted on vandalism and explosives charges in the first bombing campaign. One filmmaker, Toronto-based director David York, gained exclusive access to Ludwig and his family to create the 52 Media/National Film Board of Canada feature-length documentary Wiebo’s War, which will have its North American premiere at the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, on April 30 at 7 p.m. at the Isabel Bader Theatre.

The controversial Ludwig will attend the premiere, along with filmmaker David York.

About Wiebo's War

Wiebo’s War
tells the story of a Christian community at war with the oil and gas industry.

Ludwig is a suspect in a 2008 string of pipeline bombings that echoes a campaign of sabotage he was accused of waging against the oil and gas industry in the 90s, during which roads were barricaded and wells blown up. When a 16-year-old girl was fatally shot on the family farm in 1999, the unsolved tragedy thrust Ludwig’s fight with the industry further into the media spotlight.

The Ludwig family lives in northern Alberta, in the heart of Canada’s oil patch. They arrived there 25 years ago, wanting to live more closely in accordance with their Christian beliefs and the Scripture. They built their community in the wilderness with their own hands, not knowing that it lay on top of one of the largest undeveloped fields of natural gas on the continent. Others took whichever buyout was on offer, accommodating the oil and gas industry. After years of trying to deal with the industry, politicians and the media, Ludwig and his family went to war.

Their community is self-sufficient in food and electricity, but isolated. Apart from Ludwig and his wife Mamie, there are five married couples, seven unmarried adults and 38 grandchildren, many entering their teenaged years. They are security conscious, aware that they are being watched, open to the outside world, but guarded.

And they believe that those who don’t share their beliefs, like filmmaker David York, are living in terrible darkness.

Complete Hot Docs schedule for Wiebo's War:

April 30      7:00 p.m.            Isabel Bader Theatre           
May 3        7:15 p.m.            TIFF Bell Lightbox 4     
May 7        6:30 p.m.            Regent Theatre

Wiebo’s War had its world premiere at the Thessaloniki Documentary Festival (March 11 to 20, 2011) in Thessaloniki, Greece. The film was produced by David York for 52 Media and Bonnie Thompson for the NFB.

About the filmmaker

David York is an award-winning producer who has made feature films, TV dramas, and more than 100 hours of non-fiction television that have been broadcast around the world. In 2008, his company, 52 Media, was named by Realscreen Magazine as one of the “Global 100” most influential production companies.

Highlights in David’s producing career include Gerrie & Louise, a feature-length documentary directed by Sturla Gunnarsson, about an unlikely marriage, set during the opening weeks of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The film won an International Emmy for Best Documentary and a Donald Brittain Award for Best Documentary at the 1998 Gemini Awards. The feature-length documentary Air India 182 was also produced by David and directed by Sturla Gunnarsson; it played on the opening night of Hot Docs in 2008 and was subsequently broadcast commercial-free by the CBC. 


About the NFB

Canada’s public film producer and distributor, the National Film Board of Canada creates social-issue documentaries, auteur animation, alternative drama and digital content that provide the world with a unique Canadian perspective. The NFB is expanding the vocabulary of 21st-century cinema and breaking new ground in form and content through community filmmaking projects, cross-platform media, programs for emerging filmmakers, stereoscopic animation – and more. It works in collaboration with creative filmmakers, digital media creators and co-producers in every region of Canada, with Aboriginal and culturally diverse communities, as well as partners around the world. Since the NFB’s founding in 1939, it has created over 13,000 productions and won over 5,000 awards, including 12 Oscars and more than 90 Genies. Its NFB.ca Screening Room features almost 2,000 productions online, including high-definition and 3D films. The NFB also puts the experience of cinema into the hands of Canadians everywhere through its acclaimed mobile apps for the iPhone, iPad, and now, Canada’s first film app for the Android platform.

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Information

Jennifer Mair, NFB Publicist
Telephone: 416-954-2045
Cell: 416-436-0105
E-mail: j.mair@nfb.ca
Twitter: @NFB_Jennifer