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Grand Forks Flood Documentary

$2,415 of $75,000 goal

Raised by 30 people in 10 months
"I’ve been told that if I speak up ‘they’ will ruin me.  But I have nothing to lose.  They can take no more."

My house was filled with water two years in a row.  In 2017 it was 1.5 feet of water.  In 2018 it was 4 feet of water.  In the days following the 2018 flood as I wandered around town looking at the devastated faces of my friends and neighbors, I decided our stories needed to be told.  I began filming footage for a documentary about the flood. 

The 2017 flood had spared some of my belongings. The 2018 flood took the rest – photos from my childhood, mementos passed down through 3 generations of my mother’s family, clothes, the fridge, bags of oatmeal - it all floated. 

Recovery has been a tumultuous journey that continues 9 months later.  I've felt every emotion a human can experience - heartbreak, fear, sadness, despair, exhilaration, joy, love, compassion. 

There are still some flood victims living in RVs and sheds this winter.  The city and Provincial governments are not prepared for disasters like this.

Grand Forks is the canary in the coal mine for climate change disasters.  We are tiny and vulnerable.  There are about 6 environmental activists in our area.  There is no group of loud screaming protestors to make us visible and draw attention to our plight.  Our local government is struggling to figure this out.  The Province gives lip service to ‘having our backs’.

It took me some time to do the research to feel confident about speaking about bad forestry practices as a cause of the flood.  After talking to multiple experts, looking at data, and traveling into the mountains above our townsite, I am now convinced that the mismanagement of our eco-system has contributed to the losses that my fellow townspeople and I have suffered.  Industry insiders and government people continue to deny there is a connection.  But others who have no vested interest are shocked by the level of clear cutting in our watershed. 

I’ve been told that if I speak up ‘they’ will ruin me.  But I have nothing to lose.  They can take no more.

It turns my stomach to think about the destruction of our forests and the losses that we are all about to experience across this (formerly) beautiful province.  I can no longer stand by and wait for someone else to fix this.

We are in crisis.  The Grand Forks flood is just the beginning.

Flood, fire, drought, loss of food security.  Coming soon to a town near you.

THE STORY

In May 2018 the small town of Grand Forks, BC was hit by the most catastrophic flood BC has ever seen.  Hundreds of homes were destroyed.  Flood survivors are struggling to recover.  Many people still have no homes to return to and government funding is inadequate.  This purpose of this documentary is to tell our stories, to help draw attention and resources for our recovery, and to create solutions. 

Watch the documentary trailer:





The people of Grand Forks are now going through the  devastation of seeing everything they have worked for destroyed.  Their homes gutted.  Their belongings all gone.  Family photos saturated and lost.  Mortgages due with nothing left to show for it.

Our small Canadian town is not the only one to go through a climate disaster and it won't be the last.  This film will follow us through the process of recovery:  how we rebuild homes in the flood plains, how we research and discover the cause of the flood, and how (and if) we can prevent it from happening again.

The funding will be used to cover the costs of the documentary:  filming labor, sound and video equipment, editing labor, music, research, travel expenses, legal costs, and marketing to get our story out there.

As the person creating this film, I too was impacted by the flood.  I know what its like to have 4-feet of water flow into my bedroom, kitchen, and living room.  I know what its like to throw my water-logged belongings on the curb, to  feel overwhelmed, and not know what to do next.  This happened to my home in 2017 and I thought I was prepared for 2018.  But my preparations weren't enough.  Seeing what my friends and neighbors are going through has inspired me to become a filmmaker.

Since the flood we have become walking ghosts.  Exhausted mentally, physically, emotionally.  There are days that its tempting to run away and leave it all behind.  But you want to be strong for your family.  Life must go on.  You gotta go to work.  You gotta face your spouse and your kids.  You've got to put your house back together and make big decisions.

So the folks here are doing something epic.  We are coming together as a community to help each other recover and rebuild.  We are coming up with creative solutions for rebuilding and we are doing it ourselves.

While there are people in our local government who have been working very hard to help us, the response from the provincial and federal government has been slow.  Many people still have no idea where they will be living this winter.

There is so much love in this town.  People have been reaching out to help each other in amazing ways.  Volunteers from our town and neighboring towns have worked endlessly to help with furniture donations, offered their homes to strangers, donated food, clothing, and toys.  They have also put their backs into rebuilding homes.

Your help with the documentary will get us the exposure we need to attract resources and help from the larger community.  We can't do it all on our own.  Film is a powerful tool.  It can be inspiring, it generates attention, it can bring people together.

My heart is full of gratitude for the people who are helping us.  So much love has been generated by the generosity of the larger community.  Thank you for joining us in our quest to recover.

~ Jennifer Houghton, Grand Forks Resident, Flood Survivor, New Documentary Filmmaker

UPDATE DECEMBER 2018 - WHAT'S HAPPENING NOW


Did you know that people in the Lower Mainland think that Grand Forks has recovered from the flood? I've been told that they think the government took care of us.  That has not happened. 

The Provincial government is not equipped to deal with this.  The policies and legislation are not in place to deal with these disasters.

We need to spread the word about what happened during the Grand Forks flood and WHAT HAS HAPPENED SINCE THE FLOOD.  Then we will get the support we need across this province to get the government to make changes.   Changes to policy and legislation are needed immediately.

We can do that using the power of social media and the power of film. I need your help spreading the word about the documentary Gofundme.

We need to remember it is grass roots ordinary people putting pressure on elected officials that is the key ingredient for changing policy.

In addition to creating the flood documentary, I am also organizing the people of Grand Forks to create a campaign to put pressure on the government to make changes that will prevent future disasters.  This is critical.  Across BC, we must all unite to make this change or many more towns and cities will suffer the same devastation as Grand Forks.

~  Jennifer Houghton



Check out CBC radio's top stories of 2018.  My piece about the Grand Forks flood starts at 28:57.  SPREAD THE WORD, MY FRIENDS! We are gonna make some changes!

CBC Radio Top Stories of the Year: Grand Forks Flood Makes the Cut
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UPDATE DECEMBER 2018 - WHAT'S HAPPENING NOW

Did you know that people in the Lower Mainland think that Grand Forks has recovered from the flood? I've been told that they think the government took care of us. That has not happened.

Here is an update to my story and what is happening in Grand Forks since the flood: https://youtu.be/hiNsEjdP2Ps

The Provincial government is not equipped to deal with this.  The policies and legislation are not in place to deal with these disasters.

We need to spread the word about what happened during the Grand Forks flood and WHAT HAS HAPPENED SINCE THE FLOOD.  Then we will get the support we need across this province to get the government to make changes.  

Changes to policy and legislation are needed immediately. We can do that using the power of social media and the power of film. I need your help spreading the word about the documentary Gofundme.

We need to remember it is grass roots ordinary people putting pressure on elected officials that is the key ingredient for changing policy.

In addition to creating the flood documentary, I am also organizing the people of Grand Forks to create a campaign to put pressure on the government to make changes that will prevent future disasters.  This is critical. 

Across BC, we must all unite to make this change or many more towns and cities will suffer the same devastation as Grand Forks.

~  Jennifer Houghton

Check out CBC radio's top stories of 2018.  My piece about the Grand Forks flood starts at 28:57.

SPREAD THE WORD, MY FRIENDS! We are gonna make some changes!

Click here to listen to CBC: https://podcast-a.akamaihd.net/mp3/podcasts/bcalmanac-AtPBbyMz-20181228.mp3?fbclid=IwAR1fsY62CZoatnCeLaRfwGbiGJEo9Amd3-k7Qj32rwtHLm6m9wVGXkLSCRo
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Hello Dear Grand Forks Flood documentary supporters! I just wanted to give a quick update on my film making activities this summer and fall.

VIDEO FOOTAGE
Immediately after the flood I filmed a number of residents who were impacted. The footage was taken on the scene at their homes. Since then additional footage includes: public meetings about the flood recovery, an interview with a forestry researcher, an interview with a retired forester (he took me up to the clearcuts - it was heartbreaking), footage of the donation centre for flood victims, and footage of flooded children receiving donations of backpacks and school supplies.

RESEARCH
This fall and winter (yep, even over Christmas) my efforts are going to be focused on research into how forestry practices are related to our flood. This will take some reading and some interviews with experts.

GOVERNMENT FUNDING
I finally have time to sit down and make some funding applications to the government for the making of the documentary. If I am able to get some of that, I will certainly let you know!! I've had some wonderful folks send me links to possible places I can apply.

GOFUNDME EFFORTS
Its been a busy summer and fall and I've been working 3 jobs plus building the tiny house on wheels, so I haven't done much to advertise our Gofundme. But now I'm ramping back up to make this fundraising platform visible on social media again. So please give me a hand by SHARING THE CRAP OUT OF THIS GOFUNDME with all your friends and family on Facebook!!

ORGANIZING
I have organized a presentation and strategy session in Grand Forks entitled "The Grand Forks Flood: Forests & Forestry - How they are connected and what we can do." This presentation features Herb Hammond, Forestry Ecologist and Forester plus Fred Marshall, Professional Forester providing evidence of how forestry practices contributed to our flood. After the presentation and Q & A, we will have a strategy session to figure out how we can connect with government and industry to change policy and practices. All are welcome. By donation. Tuesday, January 22, 6-9pm, USCC Hall, Grand Forks.

MARKETING
Over the next few weeks, I'll be sharing mini-videos and samples from the documentary footage on social media. At this point, I'll be paying out of my own pocket for some sponsored Facebook ads to get the word out. Its worth every penny!

PUBLIC SPEAKING
I am in the process of seeking public speaking engagements across BC, including in the Lower Mainland and Vancouver. So far I've done 3 speeches about our flood. People are touched by what they hear. Our province is populated by amazing people who care about each other.

PERSONAL MOTIVATION
I am excited to be contributing to a positive change both with the documentary and the environmental activism that the flood has pushed me into. I wasn't an activist before. Now I wake up every morning with a purpose. The pain I have felt plus the pain my friends and neighbors have felt as a result of this flood are motivating me to take powerful, strong, righteous action. I am fighting a fight that matters. Our homes matter. Our businesses matter. Our future matters. The management of our forests matters.

All of us are filled with enough courage to pull ourselves out of this environmental catastrophe that is happening during our lifetime. I've stored this courage deep inside for a long time - it has been waiting for this moment to come forth.

I have immense gratitude for your support.
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Its been 7 months since the flood. There are still people without homes. Some are living in RVs with make-shift insulation. Some have been put into motels for the rest of the winter. No temporary housing was provided by the Province or Feds. There are many people who had to leave Grand Forks for a place to live.No berms or dikes have been built. Over the next few weeks the Flood Recovery Team is appraising 128 homes to ask the Province and Feds for funding for buyouts. My tiny house build is progressing - it is now insulated and the windows are all installed. There are at least 28 businesses that aren't up and running yet. There are others that shut down completely. Meanwhile, the government found the funds to remove the bolts that held in the Tiger Dam downtown (it was installed too late to prevent flooding anyways). This required the street to be dug up and repaved. Its a mess economically in town - millions of dollars in revenues have been lost. Businesses that have reopened are struggling and not getting enough customers. Some residents are still fighting with insurance companies to get the help they insurance for. The recovery is still happening. I am dedicating time this winter to researching the underlying cause of our flood - all signs point to irresponsible logging and forest mismanagement. This will all come out in the documentary. I'm also mobilizing locals to take action in regards to protecting our watershed from ecological collapse due to destructive logging. ~ Jennifer Houghton, Grand Forks Flood documentary creator
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Grand Forks Flood Documentary Trailer
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Read a Previous Update

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Raised by 30 people in 10 months
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