SAR NEW INITIATIVES FUND
A documentary seri es on SAR in Canada
A new documentary TV series about search and rescue (SAR) in Canada, entitled CALLOUT, is now in production. This New Initiatives Fund project was sponsored by RCMP National SAR Program Coordinator, Sgt. Robert Lajoie, who states that “Not only will the series create heightened awareness, appreciation and understanding of SAR in Canada, it will provide longterm education and prevention resources for SAR teams and the public alike.” Thirteen half-hour TV programs will be produced annually in English and French for three years, along with a Web site, public service announcements and training resources.
The series is produced by Fire One Entertainment Ltd., a division of Vancouver-based Third Wave Communications Inc. Fire One’s executive producer, Brian Ross, sees the project as “a great opportunity to showcase the unsung heroes who fade quietly into the background after a job well done. SAR people deserve recognition and the public will be fascinated by all the different elements that go into a SAR mission, in particular when they are witnessing a live callout.”
Real rescue footage
CALLOUT is definitely live and real. Fire One provides small HD video cameras and HD helmet cams to SAR teams to film rescues in which they are involved. Two key concerns with filming live rescues have been recognized and quickly addressed; the filming must in no way impede a rescue or create safety concerns, and the privacy rights of the subjects and the SAR members must be respected.
A SAR team member does the actual filming according to guidelines developed in conjunction with Fire One. Given the nature of SAR missions and the safety issues involved, this is the only practical way to capture actual rescue footage. The SAR teams also participate in follow-up interviews and reenactments produced by Fire One. Subjects and/or family members are interviewed, and the interviews are included in the segments. To date, many subjects and their family and/or friends have participated in CALLOUT interviews and reenactments and are very happy to be part of the SAR project. They appreciate the opportunity to express their gratitude for being rescued and want the rest of the world to learn from their experience.
Variety of rescues
So far the series has edited eight rescues filmed with ground SAR teams. Even though these rescues feature ground SAR teams, the action still ranges from injured snowmobilers and lost hikers to stranded boaters and plane and helicopter recoveries. The stories are portrayed through the eyes of the SAR team, with a focus on methods, challenges and outcomes. The edited clips with voiceover, reenactments, graphics and music are sent to the participating teams and management to ensure that the clips represent the team and the rescues accurately.
Along with one rescue scenario in each half hour program, Fire One is also including a detailed “vignette” featuring a specific aspect of SAR operations. Most recently, they filmed BC-based tracking experts, Darcy Fear and Bart Bjorkman, searching for a “lost” subject, Nelson SAR’s Callie Chatten, highlighting elements of the team’s role within SAR and their tracking methods. At the same time, the “lost” subject filmed her actual route with a small HD camera. The experience of the tracking experts and the “lost” subject will be intercut into a very captivating and informative vignette about tracking.
While to date only ground SAR team involvement has been filmed, negotiations are underway with the Canadian Coast Guard and the Air Force to participate in the series to showcase the excellent work done by their personnel. CASARA and the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary will also be approached as the series unfolds to showcase the air and marine volunteers. Helmet cameras, as well as small video cameras mounted inside helicopters, boats and planes, could capture their stories of dedication and professionalism, along with the admiration of a very thankful public.
CALLOUT is slated for broadcast in late spring 2010 on four networks, with more anticipated to participate. Broadcast information and series updates will be available at www.calloutsar.tv, starting January 2010. Information or questions about the series can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.