Taylor Jackson and Lindsay Coulter have had a busy few weeks since launching a documentary project capturing the unique story of the tech ecosystem in Waterloo Region.
After exceeding crowdfunding expectations, the pair has been conducting interviews and capturing it all on camera for their film, Startup Community, which they still expect to have ready for September 16.
That’s the deadline for entries in the Sundance Film Festival.
“We tried to not have expectations of what people were going to say, and if we did have expectations, they were always wrong,” says Coulter. “People are always much cooler than we anticipated them being and their stories are ten layers deeper than we could have anticipated.”
The biggest surprise that Jackson and Coulter have encountered is the scope of the project. In true Waterloo Region form, this has been aided from all levels of community support.
“It’s amazing to see that people are not just financially backing it, they are also giving it their time and energy, and investing in everything they can into the film,” says Coulter.
The duo has been backed by some of the region’s talented videographers and PR experts.
“Now that we have funding it’s nice to be able to involve people and pay them. Whereas initially the reason that we didn’t involve people was because I felt like a jerk asking people to do free work,” says Jackson.
The documentary, which was intended to be a 30-minute film, is already an hour long in its first draft, and there are still half a dozen key interviews to be conducted.
“We’ve had so much interest from the community for more and they haven’t even seen the 30-minute documentary,” says Coulter.
“We’re not sure if we’re going to do a feature length or if it will be released as episodes after that.”
Recurring themes were made clear from the first few interviews.
“We started with interviews and let everything grow organically and everything came together,” says Jackson.
“Themes like Communitech, University of Waterloo, access to talent, arts and culture, all of those things are common throughout the entire documentary,” says Coulter.
Private screenings of the film are yet to be announced but digital copies will be released for all who backed it.
The campaign is still open so people can still secure one.
“We have too much good content to only give the community 30 minutes of it,” says Coulter.