Article reprinted with permission from the Chinese Canadian Military Museum Society.
All photos of Alison were taken in
Fort Lewis, WA by Cmdr King Wan.
The CCMMS has taken on a collaborative project with Producer and Cameraperson Alison MacLean. Alison’s upcoming documentary, Outside the Wire, will feature an updated look at Canadian and Coalition Forces on the front lines as seen through soldiers’ eyes. With the focus on women in combat, it will highlight Chinese in the Canadian Military and overseas work with NATO. This film will document the changing face of war as women share in combat duties and assist in the rebuilding of Afghanistan. It will be shot on location in mid-October 2009.
Alison first became associated with the CCMMS in May 2007, when she was the cameraperson for the CCMMS Celebrate Citizenship Dinner. However, her connections to the Museum and Outside the Wire go much deeper than that. Alison is the child of immigrant parents from Scotland, and she grew up in a multiracial neighbourhood. Her father was a pilot for the British Royal Air Force during the Second World War, and was posted to the Middle East. In addition, Alison spent a great deal of time in the Middle East, where she became familiar with the culture of Afghanistan and became involved with secret schools, procuring medical supplies, and women’s groups. Her fascination with diversity, inequities, women, the military and the Middle East are all evident in her current project Outside the Wire.
Alison studied English Literature and Political Science at York University, and financed her university education by working as a coach and instructor in ballet, gymnastics and fitness. While studying, she travelled extensively through Europe and the Middle East, and she worked as a flight attendant for six months on the Hajj -- a Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca -- to finance her TV Broadcast training at UCLA. Upon completion of this degree, Alison was offered a full-time job as a cameraperson at The Sports Network (TSN). Although she began her videowork on the homeless in East L.A., the Aboriginal community and the KC House AIDS Hospice in Toronto, her actual production career began with a focus on sports: Womensport (CBC, 1989-1993) and the Championship Spirit (1993). This interest later evolved into other areas. Alison’s first documentary with her company TOMBOY PRODUCTIONS INC. was shot on location in Russia and was called “Russia: A Changing Face,” garnering an International Award at the Charleston International Film Festival. Her film “The Power and the Grace: WW2” received awards at the Niagara Independent Film Festival for Best Independent Documentary 2007, and Best Independent Documentary Jury Award at the 2009 NewFilmmakers Film Festival in New York in 2009. What an impressive repertoire!
Regarding Outside the Wire, the production for this is unique with so many firsts. It covers female Canadian soldiers and how women can now be in combat, as opposed to the Second World War. Another first is its technology of Hi Definition and use of podcasts and streaming video. Alison’s documentary will show the spirit of the Canadian forces, its work in rebuilding Afghanistan, and the ability that Canada has in reassessing military objectives and making changes — something that other military units don’t do. Alison will be deployed to Kandahar Province some time after Sept 20th with her staff, including Associate Producer Wendy Jang. They will spend three weeks in Afghanistan doing ground interviews and capturing the fast-paced conflict on film. Representing the culmination of her 20 years in film-making, Outside the Wire will feature themes of injustice, reparation and reconstruction, enforcement, and more. Life on the front lines will be Reality TV at its finest. This 1-hour Television Special has a confirmed broadcast airdate for North American Television Release (PBS). A longer film
version will have a World Wide Release in November 2010 at the International Film Festival in The Netherlands. A dedicated website will be launched for Educational purposes. Three Podcasts in Afghanistan will bring in a World Wide Web audience.
Alison has some support and funding assistance from the Chinese Canadian Military Museum Society, but she is actively seeking donations and/or sponsorship. All monies would be used for production development, to purchase equipment, release the product and pay the staff. All donors would be fully acknowledged and appreciated. To find out more, please contact Alison at firstname.lastname@example.org or (604) 874-8174.