Westwold landfill manager Jackie Cooke is the subject of the new documentary

Westwold landfill manager Jackie Cooke is the subject of the new documentary

Westwold shot documentary going to Cannes

Jackie Cooke, who lives in the community outside of Falkland, is the subject of the new documentary Jackieland by Darcy Turenne,

  • May. 18, 2016 12:00 p.m.

Terry Farrell

Black Press

It is regarded as the Super Bowl of film festivals – the one every person in the movie industry targets as a goal.

At 32 years old, Darcy Turenne is right on target.

Turenne, who grew up in the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island and was a professional mountain biker, traded in her wheels for reels four year ago.

Now she is heading to one of the biggest events of the film industry – the Cannes Film Festival, which opened May 11 and runs until May 22.

“It’s kind of a dream I have had in the back of my mind for a while, and now it’s happened,” said Turenne, a freelance, independent filmmaker, now living in Vancouver. “I’ve been to France a few times, but never been to a film festival of this prestige. Everyone knows about Cannes.”

Her documentary, Jackieland, is one of the feature films in the Cannes Short Film Corner.

“It is about a woman (Jackie Cooke) who is a dump manager in Westwold, B.C.,” explained Turenne. “It’s about her life and her perspective on the world. She runs the landfill in Westwold, but she is a hoarder. She collects material from the landfill and gives them to people who need them – to charities, and poor people around town. So she is a philanthropic hoarder.”

Jackieland is a character sketch based around the eccentricities, wisdom, and experience of Cooke.

Everything in Cooke’s life, including  her home of 39 cats, nine dogs, eight exotic birds, 30 chickens, and several tonnes of materials saved from the local landfill, has at some point been cast aside. This includes rescued animals, the salvaged bike frames, even Jackie herself, reads a synopsis for the film.

“The more we poke around in the clutter and chaos of Jackieland, the more understanding and compassion we discover, along with a fresh pot of road kill stew and the occasional wire trip,” reads the summary.

Turenne, who  directed, shot and edited Jackieland, said she knew she had something special from the time she started working on the film.

“As soon as I saw Jackie … I knew it should happen, and the first thing I thought is this is my film to go to Cannes,” said Turenne, on the eve of her flight to France. “It was kind of a pipe dream at the same time, though. I didn’t think it could actually happen. So I submitted it, and sent in my 85 euros and thought that might be the end of my 85 euros. But they emailed me within a couple of days, before the deadline had even passed, and said that they wanted my film. So that was exciting.”

Turenne admits filmmaking was not even on her radar in her teens, or even throughout her post-secondary.

She was lauded throughout her school years as an extraordinary athlete, and became a professional mountain biker. It was only during her thesis preparation that she discovered her talent behind the lens.

“I have a master’s degree in intercultural communications,” she said. “I got into films, through doing my master’s – my thesis was a documentary. As soon as I made that film, I kind of knew that filmmaking was what I wanted to do.

“I was a professional mountain biker for 10 years and I was doing my master’s during an injury. I didn’t really know what I wanted to do after my mountain biking career ended, so it all just kind of fell into place. I feel really lucky because of that. So many people, after their athletic careers, are kind of on a career quest for quite some time.”

Being featured at the Cannes Film Festival can be a launching pad for directors. It’s where the likes of Quentin Tarantino (Pulp Fiction, 1994) and Steven Soderbergh (Sex, Lies and Videotape, 1989) first received mass exposure.

Turenne is taking the accomplishment in stride.

“I guess that’s yet to be determined, how important this will be to my career, but it definitely gets a goal checked off my to-do list in my lifetime,” said Turenne, who will be attending the Cannes Film Festival with Feet Banks, the film’s producer. “It feels really amazing to reach that far out, and have something happen. I didn’t think that this early in my career I would have the opportunity to go to Cannes. So I really hope that I meet a lot of people and it advances my career, but I am pretty happy where I am at. I have no expectations. I am just really happy to have the opportunity.”

To see a trailer of the film, visit jackielandmovie.com (language warning).