Private Project


What do a Hippy, a Logger and a Good Ol' Gal have in common?

Find out as a Boreal Forest paradise evolves into a world-renowned nexus of Art, Music and Ecology despite constant threats from the logging industry.

Nestled among ancient untouched trees, where the Canadian Boreal Forest meets the great plains, lies a place like no other. Ness Creek. Known for its renowned music & arts festival and, home to a diverse world-wide community who make it so much more. This documentary, from first time filmmaker Nathaniel Puffalt, tells the story of how the humble beginnings of a tree planters paradise evolved into a nexus of art, music and ecology. An evolution spanning nearly 3 decades despite the adversity of an increasingly divided world and environmental collapse. What is the essence of it all? What fuels the fires in the hearts of those who call this incredible place home and who prove lasting positive change is possible through diversity, acceptance and, love.

  • Nathaniel Puffalt
    Director, Filmer, Editor, Producer, Sound Editor, Writer
  • Anthony Towstego
    Executive Producer
    The Systemic Effect, Canada Remembers
  • Scott Jamieson
    Sound Editor
  • Brittany Keller (ZAYDA)
    Original Composer
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 29 minutes 31 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    May 15, 2019
  • Production Budget:
    20,000 USD
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Director Biography

Self-taught, First Time Filmmaker Nathaniel Puffalt hits the big screen with a Documentary Feature that will inspire and leave you wanting to stand up and make a difference in the world. Nathaniel filmed, edited and produced Essence with one camera, a $50 mic and 1 bar of service in the secluded Boreal Forest. Nathaniel pushes his subjects for the story that drives them and weaves it into a captivating cinematic experience.

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Director Statement

In a world with so many problems it can be overwhelming for someone wanting to create change. I created my first feature film with one camera and a $50 mic in the remote Boreal Forest using 1 bar on my phone's hot spot to prove to myself that I could achieve a lifelong dream. In doing so, I hope to inspire others to follow theirs and create a better world in whatever way that moves them. For me, that's film.

Saskatchewan, known Canada wide for being a "boring, flat place" is home to a renowned Music Festival that attracts thousands of visitors each year from every corner of the world. Ness Creek, a place that is anything but boring. A place that accepts you as you are. A home in the Boreal Forest for a diversity of life unlike any other. A worldwide community that has thrived for nearly 3 decades despite constant threats by the logging industry and an increasingly divided world.

I was born and raised on the endless great plains under living skies and for a time, I almost believed the outsider's view of my beloved home. That is, until I found this incredible place. Now, I am inspired to show the world the renaissance rising in the prairies!


Juno Award Winning Live Performers
Live performances in the film include: The Dead South, Megan Nash, Mob Bounce, The Sadies Brock Andrews, Many Nations Dance Troupe, The Garry's, Ben Hunter & Joe Seamons, Ellen Froese, This Way North, Aryn El Hefe, Kjelti Katherine

Environmental Partnership
The Saskatchewan Chapter of the Canadian Parks & Wilderness Society has partnered with first time filmmaker Nathaniel Puffalt to launch a new Conservation Campaign introduced by the documentary with the goal of creating a new Protected Area. The Protected Area will include critical habitat for Canada's last herd of truly free ranging plains bison, endangered caribou, snowy owls and more.

1 Camera and a $50 Mic
Essence, a micro-budget Feature Documentary was filmed and edited in the remote Boreal Forest by first time filmmaker Nathaniel Puffalt with one camera, a $50 Mic and a laptop hotspotted with 1 bar of service.

7 Women and 5 Men
Tell the Ness Creek Story like never before. Nathaniel knew there were many voices with diverse experiences at Ness Creek and from the very start he wanted women to have an equal voice in telling its story!