In 2016, the wildfires of Fort Mac pushed Gabor’s client, Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC), into full crisis mode to help survivors deal with their incredible loss. IBC was primarily focused on the victims and their recovery. Gabor, listening to predictions that this was estimated to be the biggest natural disaster in Canadian history, knew that it needed to be well documented. Telling the story as it unfolded was of utmost importance, and IBC, as a leader in the insurance industry, needed to share it.
When evacuees were first allowed back into town after the fires were put out, there was a media ban in effect. IBC, while integrated with emergency response teams, was able to gain access to the area to film the town as it began to get back on its feet, for archival purposes.
Gabor quickly assembled an onsite crew made up of locals for video, sound, production and photography. The crew was housed in RV’s so as to not deplete the town’s already scarce resources. All supplies were brought from Calgary so that the production was almost entirely self-contained.
Crews filmed and documented the total devastation seen behind security lines and out of view of mainstream media. The Gabor/IBC team donned respirators, safety boots and Tyvek suits. Residents were asked for permission to shoot and share their stories for the purpose of historical preservation, and not just news sensationalism.
The result was a video piece to be shown at National Insurance Conference of Canada (NICC) showing the colossal damage due to the fires, and an invaluable bank of archival footage of this disaster.
One year later, Gabor returned to the site and interviewed residents after their return. Check back for that story soon.