Published: Feb. 13, 2013

Nicole Robicheau will be presenting her work (via Skype) alongside M.E. Luka on  Tuesday March 12th (time tbc). Please  join us at the Brakhage Center (ATLAS 311).

 

Project Description: The Border Between Us is an interactive documentary about two border towns and twelve people. It’s set in Stanstead, Quebec and Derby Line, U.S.A. It looks at life in the two communities post-9/11.

 


What follows is an interview with Nicole about her documentary, conducted by Mél Hogan for the Korsakow blog  on November 10, 2012:

What brought you to this border town: Stanstead and Derby Line?

Iwanted to do a project about borders. I’ve long been interested in how such an arbitrary demarcation can affect the lives of people who happen to find themselves on either side of it. Doing research on the Canada-U.S. border was a tangible way to examine a border that’s near me, and one that is going through drastic changes. I came across Derby Line and Stanstead in my research, and the unique character of the two towns, and I was immediately drawn in.

Tell me more about this idea of the border as an arbitrary demarcation…

I’ve crossed quite a few borders overland and I’m always struck by how these lines that delineate nation-states seem to be carved up without any regard to the life that surrounds it. And certainly many borders of current countries, if not all, were decided by people in places far removed from the actual line, just by looking at maps. It’s impossible to see lived experience by looking at maps. Not to mention the fact that usually people who decided these boundaries didn’t even have the right to do so in the first place. Yet very few of these lines are now being challenged.

You have a background in journalism. How has that influenced the way you’ve approached your topic?

Ithink in the beginning, I approached the story very much like a journalist would. In fact, I was working as a radio reporter for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) at the time, and I began by looking into its archives for contacts of people who had been interviewed and were somehow invested in all the changes that were happening along the border. What was different for me with this project though was that I was really interested in capturing the stories of everyday people living along that line. I was tired of having to interview experts, which I always had to do in my work as a journalist. With this project, I was actively militating against my journalism training, which usually had me interviewing people in positions of authority.

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Nicole Robicheau is a storyteller and media maker who primarily works and lives in Montreal. She has previously worked as a radio journalist for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). She also does aid work with the Canadian Red Cross and has also also worked with various organizations in Africa and in Europe on media development.