Filming the Raging Grannies 20th anniversary in Victoria

Just returned from Victoria, B.C. where I filmed the 20th anniversary celebration of the Raging Grannies. Victoria is where it all started, and many of the formidable women who took the initiative for this movement are still active – a little frail some of them, but very motivated, creative and busy !

The Raging Grannies use humor and particularly satire to promote peace, social justice, and environmental protection. Street theatre has become their modus operandi, and they add a colorful touch to many rallies and demonstrations.

The Victoria Grannies initiated many of the daring stunts that have been picked up by other “gaggles’ as their movement spread across the country and then to the U.S., paddling canoes our to military ships and “visiting’ army recruiting stations. But this time in Victoria it was their own celebration, held in a church hall. And here they are, singing one of their signature songs:

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I went to Victoria because I didn’t want to miss the event, but I took advantage of the trip to interview some of the founding grannies. Here is Fran Thoburn, speaking about the spread of the movement.

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A terrific team. I have been working on this film for almost three years with producer Ian Boyd of Island Filmworks in Montreal. I wrote the treatment together with Carole Roy, author of a book on the Grannies, and Peter Haynes. The cinematographer is Martin Duckworth, and Terre Nash will edit the film.

Although we have a considerable track record as filmmakers, we have had a very difficult time raising money for this film. It’s a movie about how elderly women in society don’t have much of a voice, and how the Grannies have found a way to make themselves heard. It’s about elderly citizens who find the energy to share their wisdom and try to have an impact. It’s about a Canadian movement which has become international. But all the major English-language broadcasters have turned us down. ( We do have an agreement in principle with a French-language broadcaster, and we did receive some scriptwriting money from SODEC, our provincial funding agency. )

Needless to say, we don’t take no for an answer. Thanks to the generosity of our crew members we have already covered some important events. Stay tuned…

Betty Brightwell.

Betty Brightwell is one of the founding members still active in the Victoria ‘gaggle.’

Victoria Raging Granny Fran thoburn and filmmaker Magnus Isacsson. Photo Jim Wagner.

And here I am with the other founding member who is still active in the group, Fran Thoburn.


The film’s website

The Victoria Raging Grannies

Carole Roy’s web site.