A screening of a documentary film by Ian Macmillan. Trailer
Preceded by the short film Robert the Rat
Within Sight of Shore follows Scott Macmillan as he composes his new work to the premiere as he seeks out the remaining living survivors/rescuers and enemies of HMSC Esquimalt, the last Canadian Warship sunk in WWII in the Halifax approaches. Scott’s father was the Captain, he was often blamed for the sinking and that source of pain was in Scott’s family growing up.
Beyond personal and creative motives, Within Sight of Shore presents a story that is both relevant to the history of Canada’s Naval involvement in WWII. HMCS Esquimalt’s sinking is an often overlooked and its misinterpreted account is well deserving of increased public exposure. With this screening on Sunday May 6th Macmillan will connect the extremes of love and war, providing a historical perspective for those in attendance and ultimately paying homage to HMCS Esquimalt and her crew.
To further illustrate the story, Scott’s son Ian Macmillan filmed a documentary on the making of the piece. The film, Within Sight of Shore, is a labour of love further connecting three generations of the Macmillan family. It provides a heart-warming extension of Macmillan’s composition and serves as a companion piece to the musical performance, giving the audience an in-depth account of the music’s background. The film engages, informs and creates an emotional connection, delivering the inherent visual medium to round out an evening of thought-provoking resonance.
In order to faithfully capture the essence of the events, Scott Macmillan conducted a series of interviews with the surviving members of the HMCS Esquimalt. It was through this process that he was able to put himself in the moment; sensing the fear, pain and overwhelming emotion that his father and the crew felt.
Scott’s father Lt. Commander Robert Macmillan served as the commanding officer on the HMCS Esquimalt, a Canadian Minesweeper that was sunk on April 16, 1945. While on routine patrol of U Boat approaches to Halifax harbour, the Esquimalt was detected by the German U-190. A homing torpedo was fired which hit Esquimalt in the stern quarter at approximately 06:30, twenty kilometres off the shore of Halifax, Nova Scotia. The ship went down within four minutes, leaving the crew stranded in the frigid North Atlantic waters for over six hours before being rescued. Of the 71 crew members, only 27 survived.
Ian Macmillan’s film chronicles the tragic sinking Esquimalt while providing an emotional, heartfelt account of his father Scott’s quest to capture the story through his powerful musical narrative Within Sight of Shore. Ian was fortunate enough to have long-time Canadian actor and television host RH Thomson provide narration for the film. Thompson expressed interest in the documentary due to the film’s unique commentary on the event, which includes interviews with the crew-members of the German U-190. Since the tragic sinking of Esquimalt, several of the opposing war veterans have found reconciliation with one another, which is faithfully captured by Ian Macmillan in the film.
The documentary presents the story behind the music; the reason why it was made and the deep emotional connection Scott Macmillan felt toward his father through the project. The film depicts Scott Macmillan the composer, the musician, the historian, the troubadour. His creativity, passion and driving purpose are expressed in a revealing fashion that is rarely seen by the general public. The film touches on the lifelong struggles of his father and the surviving crew; living through such a tragedy and coming to terms with its haunting effect on human consciousness. The film’s powerful imagery and touching interviews give an insight into the events that cannot be described in words, making it an integral part of the program’s delivery.
Background on Scott Macmillan and Ian Macmillan
Scott Macmillan’s passion for music is driven by his need to be creative. Macmillan seeks opportunities in all aspects of music making, inspiring exploration into genres from rock to blues, classical to choral, Celtic to jazz. The 2014 recipient of Nova Scotia’s top Artist Prize, the Portia White Prize, Macmillan is a musical treasure, playing a significant role expanding audiences for Atlantic Canadian music both nationally and internationally for over 40 years.
Music has taken Macmillan to many places, Carnegie Hall in New York twice, as well to the British Isles, Germany, the US and crisscrossing Canada many times. His beloved collaboration with librettist Jennyfer Brickenden, his ode to our world’s oceans, “Celtic Mass for the Sea” celebrates 30 years in 2018 having been performed internationally numerous times since its premiere.
In 2017 Scott garnered two East Coast Music Awards; Traditional Instrumental Recording ‘GOOD2GO’, a duo recording with Cape Breton fiddler, Colin Grant and Classical Composition, ‘Currents of Sable Island’, composed for solo voice and chamber ensemble. ‘Currents of Sable Island’ also tied for Classical Recording of the Year at the 2017 Music Nova Scotia Awards. Scott and Colin were honoured at the Canadian Folk Music Awards with 2017 Group Ensemble of the Year.
Continuing to remain active as a performer and composer, Scott also began mentoring a new generation of guitarists at the Fountain School of Performing Arts, Dalhousie University since 2008.
PETER ROWLEY [email protected]
The work of cinematographer Ian Macmillan has been seen internationally at festivals such as TIFF, BFI, Vienna, Raindance, Tribecca and Cannes. He has photographed dozens of music videos and several award-winning commercials.
His portfolio includes countless short films and five feature films. His latest feature, FILTH CITY, is an action comedy produced by STUDIO+ and LaRue Entertainment. Other credits include the CBC comedy webseries The Plateaus, and digital series for Fox, Global & Showcase.
Macmillan also has an extensive documentary and lifestyle television resume including series for VICELAND, Discovery, HGTV, SuperChannel, FOOD Network, YTV, & BRAVO. The OLN documentary series Illusions of Grandeur garnered him a 2015 CSC Award nomination.
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