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School board okays screening of ‘inflammatory’ Flin Flon Flim Flam

A documentary critical of Hudbay will be screened at the Hapnot Collegiate theatre following a narrow 4-3 vote among school trustees.
Flin Flon Flim Flam
A scene from Flin Flon Flim Flam, filmmaker John Dougherty’s 2015 documentary about Hudbay’s operations.

A documentary critical of Hudbay will be screened at the Hapnot Collegiate theatre following a narrow 4-3 vote among school trustees.

In a recent email to the school board, American filmmaker John Dougherty asked to screen his documentary, Flin Flon Flim Flam, at the theatre sometime around early to mid June. The film is already available on YouTube.

Trustees discussed the implications of renting out the theatre to Dougherty, whose film examines Hudbay’s pollution in the Flin Flon region, First Nations resistance to northern Manitoba projects and allegations of violence in Guatemala, among other topics.

Trustee Angela Simpson made the motion to rent the space to Dougherty.

“Just because we are willing to let them use our theatre, does that make us guilty? I think controversy is healthy,” she said.

“If they are willing to pay the cost, it’s just a business deal.” 

Trustee Amy Sapergia Green said she was uncertain about the best course of action. 

“I am extremely torn about this,” she said. “I fully support his ability to make the film and show it to whomever would like to see it. There’s nothing to give it an R-rating or an X-rating. I guess my concern is it is an extremely inflammatory film.”

Trustee Trish Sattelberger agreed: “It’s not a balanced portrayal and that’s what worries me, too.”

Trustee Andy Burbidge asked if the school division had ever refused a film screening. Superintendent Blaine Veitch said he didn’t recall any similar cases in the school’s history.

Both the Flin Flon Kinette Club and the Central Canada Film Group have hosted film screenings at Hapnot’s Dorothy Ash Theatre.

While Hudbay declined to be interviewed for Flin Flon Flim Flam, the company has voiced concern over the perceived bias in the film.

Flin Flon Flim Flam was funded by Farmers Investment Co. (FICO), an Arizona-based company that publicly
opposes Hudbay’s proposed Rosemont mine in that
US state. 

In a November 2015 interview with The Reminder, Scott Brubacher, director of corporate communications for Hudbay, said the company was “unable to see how a fair and balanced outcome was possible in a video paid for by opponents of Rosemont.” 

Brubacher said FICO, “a known opponent of the Rosemont project,” plans to build a 7,000-acre master-planned community in the area near where water would be drawn for the proposed mine.

“We believe fair-minded people will see the result for what it is,” Brubacher said of the film.

Dougherty dismissed concerns FICO funding shaped the documentary, saying the company had no editorial control or direction in the production.

He also said Hudbay refused “several opportunities to meet and present its views” for the film.

Brubacher told The Reminder that Dougherty twice asked for on-camera interviews, but Hudbay received no other requests to verify claims or content in the film.

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