From the Network blog, Cinema Politica remembers a friend and ally:
I’ve known Twyla since I was a kid growing up on Vancouver Island, where our families have remained close friends. Twyla tragically passed away 38 years young this month but her legacy will continue for lifetimes. She was a caring, compassionate and committed activist and independent filmmaker who used her creative talents (she was an incredible marine/nature photographer and videographer) to fight against corporate greed and malfeasance as well as government corruption. She worked tirelessly to steward and protect Canada’s West Coast, most notably on projects critical of fish farms, big oil and other initiatives centred on First Nations rights.
Twyla always had a huge, welcoming smile despite the serious and often discouraging subjects and issues she devoted almost all her time to. She was an inspiring force of human spirit and creative ingenuity whose loss reverberates from family and friends out into the wider communities she—and her crucial work—touched. Her impassioned exposé documentary on fish farms, SALMON CONFIDENTIAL, has screened widely, including in our very own Cinema Politica Network, and I remember Twyla telling me she wasn’t interested in distribution deals or any money-making schemes around the film but was dedicated to it making an impact through wide-reaching grassroots channels. Her other work in video activism, such as BC FOR SALE, has carried a similar mandate thanks to her unwavering commitment to community and her fierce resistance to commercially organized, for-profit systems.
BC, Canada and the world have not only lost a talented and tireless progressive filmmaker, they have lost an incredible grassroots community and media activist as well as an educator and a protector of our land and water. Her premature departure calls to mind the urgent need for community and collective care in activist circles, where selfless dedication such as Twyla’s often leads to burnout and desolation. One way I personally will continue to honour Twyla’s legacy will be to work harder to support and protect activists on the front lines of our collective struggles. It is the Twylas of the world who are sacrificing so much to protect and improve our world, after all, and they are doing so while so many look the other way, (sometimes willingly) ignore our ecological and social problems, or worse, contribute cynically to their devastating continuation. It’s likely all of us know someone who devotes their time, energy and emotional capacity towards improving the world. There’s also a chance that person could use support in some meaningful, affirming and caring way. Activists operate on the fringes of society, and we must do better to honour, protect and nurture those peripheral warriors for justice, equity and peace.
Twyla’s legacy can be witnessed most readily in her films (which are embedded in this post), but her less tangible, more diffuse legacy lies in the change she passionately instigated in this world thanks to her collaborative, creative and committed spirit and efforts.
Twyla will be deeply missed, but we can remember and honour her life by continuing her work and supporting activists and independent filmmakers who remain dedicated to important causes, despite all they are against. In this way, her legacy will never be forgotten.
Click here to donate to the memorial fund that has been set up for Twyla’s daughter.