“If a man looks sharply and attentively,” wrote Francis Bacon, “he shall see Fortune.”
In The Fortune Wild, a new Sitka Films production directed by Ben Gulliver with support from Pacific Wild, a small group of surfers set out to seek their own kind of riches on some of the most remote beaches of the Canadian coast.
Starring Peter Devries and Reid and Arran Jackson, The Fortune Wild follows an expedition to the far-flung shores of Haida Gwaii, a chain of waveswept, lushly forested islands off the British Columbia mainland. Surfing, camping and foraging for food on the area’s unspoiled beaches, the three surfers step away from the modern world and into a quieter, more attuned and more self-sufficient existence.
As the days pass, their trip becomes more than a picaresque adventure to paddle out into rarely surfed waves—after being granted permission by Haida elders to visit a hidden area of the Haida homeland, the small crew pitches camp to explore and experience a place where people have lived in partnership with nature for thousands of years. Later, they’re joined by fellow surfer Noah Cohen for some final sessions in the area’s clear and chilly waters.
“There are a lot of good surf breaks around the world,” says Devries, “but it’s tough to find a place that compares to the British Columbia coast. The grandeur, the beauty and the culture—it’s truly unique and unlike anywhere I’ve ever been.”
The Fortune Wild is about the peace and promise of wild places, but it’s also about learning to see the natural world in a more profound and reverent way. Featuring interviews with Severn Cullis-Suzuki, Haida leader and activist Guujaaw and Haida artists Christian White and Gwaliga Hart, it’s a glimpse into a system where tradition and respect for the land are values that can’t be bought or sold. At a time when economic development and resource extraction and transportation are critical issues for the province and the country, The Fortune Wild is a journey into the heart of what matters most.
One-third documentary, one-third surf and adventure film and one-third storybook wander into the unknown, The Fortune Wild is a beautiful and slightly eccentric look at what makes the West Coast so priceless and so worthy to protect.