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Tooker TV Documentary Project

Tooker Gomberg Documentary Video
Project Proposal – Phase 1 - INVESTIGATE

By Barb Allard, Rainbow Bridge Communications Company (, Edmonton

March 2009

Introduction – Project Goals

Five years after the death of Tooker Gomberg, it is time to ensure that his life’s work is properly preserved for the interpretation of future generations. I want to tell the story of his remarkable life and make it available to all Canadians and people around the world. This phase one proposal, therefore, includes archiving his collection of videotapes, logging them and doing preliminary work so that a “Tooker Gomberg Documentary”, can be pitched to a national network and video funding agencies. I do believe that a national broadcast and international theatrical release suits the subject. Most Canadians don’t know what Tooker did for them in his tireless struggle for environmental responsibility and our collective, sustainable future. This is the way to set the record straight.

Investigate and Archive – 250 hours

The original 600 hours of video are being previewed for consideration in the shortlist of 100 tapes for the documentary and the archive. The archived tapes are being transferred to VHS and will ultimately reside in the Tooker Gomberg memorial library. Eventually, these should be transferred to Betacam (the industry standard for archiving.)

During this process, rough logs are being created for ultimate use in scripting the documentary. The 100 or so shortlisted tapes will inform and provide the basis of our teaser and treatment.

Video Documentary Proposal and 10 minute “teaser” and treatment

A 10 to 15 minute “teaser” will be edited from the footage. We will do at least one interview to start providing context for the footage. I will write a treatment, budget and proposal for the purposes of enticing a broadcaster, and thereby securing funding to produce a broadcast quality video documentary of the life of Tooker Gomberg.


in development

Investigate - What is on these tapes?

There are hundreds of hours of political campaign media events, like hosting a “garbage train” to illustrate his platform on recycling and biogas extraction or camping out on the street to protest homelessness or war. There is street theatre and other forms of culture jamming to raise awareness of clear-cut logging in the boreal forest or the need for safe bicycle routes in the city. There are blockades, sit-ins, a break-in to an American military base and other forms of direct action. There are field tapes for the “Greenspiration Odyssey”, a bicycle-powered world tour to find environmental good news stories. There is Indymedia style journalism of massive anti-globalization and peace demonstrations in Canada and in Europe. There is a through line with the Kyoto accord: coverage of the first meeting in Japan, to the COP6 (where he burned his passport in disgust at Canada’s stonewalling), to Alberta, the “lost document”, and an increasingly desperate campaign for a public admission from Ralph Klein. There is documentation and testimonials of arrests and detainments, tear-gassing and other forms of engagement with security personnel. These events were all meant for the public eye and were videotaped for that reason, but we also know there is a lot of behind-the-scenes footage, including campaign strategy sessions, organizing conferences or attending activist training workshops. There are also hours and hours of interviews with Tooker and others. Tooker loved to talk and had a lot to say about how he saw the world.

We expect to find an overview of fifteen years of environmental and social justice activism, through the eyes of one man (and his life partner, Angela). But we will be digging deeper than that. We will be seeking out fragments that provide essential facets of Tooker’s character, beyond the public persona. We believe we will uncover the Tooker that most of us didn’t know, his motivations and aspirations, and perhaps some clues to what caused his depression and suicide at the age of 48.

Copyright 2008 Rainbow Bridge Communications Company