The Mainprize documentary has received a lot of support but still needs more to be completed.
Since the beginning of the fundraising campaign, the team of dedicated volunteers – who for years has been pushing it forward trying to save the heritage of Dr. William Mainprize, also known in the area as Doc, for future generations – received several bigger and smaller donations. A GoFundMe page attracted over $4,000 in donations, and there have been a number of other exciting developments.
The RM of Cymri donated $25,000 to the documentary and the Mainprize executive added Joe Vilcu, the Reeve of RM of Cymri, to the executive committee, bringing the total to six. Vilcu will be one of four volunteer members on the Mainprize fundraising sub-committee.
The committee also received an anonymous one-time donation of $25,000 and another $10,000 in donations and pledges.
Since November 2020, the executive has raised about $65,000, but they are still far from the $295,000 goal, needed to produce a full-length high-quality documentary, which would be featured in movie theatres and during festivals in Canada and abroad.
The Mercury recently spoke to Graham Barker, one of Dr. Mainprize's "babies" and the Mainprize executive member, about his involvement and the campaign progress.
"It's a challenge. It's been set out for this project to produce a life-long, high-end production that gives suitable tribute to one of the most fantastic individuals that has ever lived and served in Saskatchewan," Barker said.
Barker explained that not only did he get involved because he was one of those many people who were delivered byMainprize, but he also felt that keeping Mainprize's story to only those who knew him would be like a crime.
"It's in the nature of Saskatchewan people, we are pretty humble people … but we have produced some amazing individuals in the province … I'm one of the Doc's babies, I was born and raised in Midale. When I started to understand the story and got into it more, (I realized that) it's a truly amazing story. He was a guy that dedicated his life to make everyone's lives better. And the last thing that Doc would want is recognition for that. But the reality is the contribution that he's made to the social and economic impact of this province is absolutely amazing. And we thought that it would be a terrible waste if the story remained untold," Barker said.
There aren't many pieces left telling a story of this very talented doctor with an engineer mind, who chose to stay in a small community to make it better for hardworking people growing the newly-established province. For Barker, it was important to join the Mainprize documentary project at its early stages, and to contribute to preserving the memory of that great individual.
"If we can get this thing off the ground and running, it will be a life-long tribute that other generations can go back and view as well."
Graham, who's been in the advertising world for about 35 years, said the projected budget is a high-end number, but "it reflects the seriousness of the group." The ongoing pandemic and the decline in the economy have made it even more difficult for the executive committee to raise money for this cultural piece. Some major corporate players that were supporting the project before, are now struggling to stay above water because of the new realities and can't help.
There are also no government funds available. However, the understanding of the value of the project keeps the group going, and their hopes up for completing it one way or the other.
The executive lately has been working with community leaders trying to bring them on board.
"It's all starting to come into play, and the time will tell if it was successful, but I think it will have a positive impact," Barker said.
He added that if the executive won't raise the needed amount of money, they will have to sacrifice some parts of the documentary. Most shooting has been completed and there is no shortage of material. Now the money is needed to complete the production part of the project.
Currently, the fundraising sub-committee is working on final preparations to target prospective private donors through their fundraising letter campaign.
If anyone is interested in becoming a part of the project and supporting it they can go to the project's website at www.mainprizeproject.ca.