[Victoria Film Festival 2020] Sovereign Soil, A Preview

Screening at the Victoria Film Festival with the director in attendance.

Feb 13 at 5:30 p.m.
The Vic Theatre
808 Douglas St,

Feb 15 at 12:15 p.m.
SilverCity Cinema #3,
3130 Tillicum Rd

If there’s one thing viewers can learn about Sovereign Soil, I firmly believe it’s in the pioneering spirit of those attempting to harvest where agriculture does not come easy. The area around the tiny sub-Arctic town of Dawson City, Yukon is not exactly the easiest land to work in. Some claim it is very rich in nutrients to grow crops in, but to toil hard to find those spots require more than using divining rods and laying a claim. Thankfully, the weather around here is not always cold year-round.

This film by writer-director David Curtis focuses on how friends and neighbours can help each other out. One is an arborist, so she can tell when is a good time to dig into the trenches. However, for the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in First Nation, who once were hunter gathers, turning to agriculture for food security is a must. This producer said, “This raises very important questions about community, our changing connections to land, and self-sufficiency. What is our fundamental relationship to food, the people who produce it?”


Watching this film is humbling. It’s a slow meditation in us trying to understand the people working hard to have enough not only for themselves but also for others. In the cast is a former hippie from Toronto, a German Immigrant horticulturist, a family living off the grid, and a few First Nations people. While half are just taking care of themselves, the make money in what they do is also important.

But there’s much more to this film. It sweetly examines personal beliefs in how to live off the land. Like the First Nations people, we have to understand our connection with it before we can sow the dirt and growing those potatoes. “You need good food; there’s a joy of life,” intoned one farmer.


What I learned is how I should begin growing my own crops and not depend on heading to the grocery store every time I need fresh veggies. Thankfully, I have relatives from the old country in China who know this already; I really should learn from them before it’s too late. This film does not expect us to become farmers overnight, but leaves us thinking in how we can be in tune with how to be sustainable ourselves than be another mass market consumer.



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