One of the biggest advocates for Cinema CNC has passed away. Although he is not a human, Bergman the dog was a ubiquitous member of the local cinemaphile community. His owners, Peter Maides and Melinda Worfolk, are the key volunteers that arrange and carry out the annual film series and its companion film festival. Bergman was the adopted mascot.
"Bergman was diagnosed with liver cancer last Wednesday; he hadn't been feeling great for a while, and it is as if the diagnosis gave him permission to let go: we had to say goodbye to him (Tuesday)," said Maides.
"I know that Bergman touched many lives: our neighbourhood dogs and people; the College of New Caledonia; the Cinema CNC crowd; folks just out and about. He has friends who will miss him and I know you share our loss, particularly the staff at the downtown Post Office [where we went every day... yes, there were snacks], the staff at The Northern Hardware [more snacks], the folks at Books and Company [yes, snacks]. Bergman walked picket lines in support of Postal Workers, College Staff, UNBC Faculty, Teachers, Health Care Workers... he was truly the People's Dog."
Maides is one of the founders of the Cinema CNC Film Fesitval, and a longtime leader of the college's film series showing non-blockbusters in the intimate confines of the Shaffer Theatre (Room 1-306, named for Stan Shaffer, Maides's colleague in the CNC English Department and the original founder of the CNC film showcase). He does much of his organizational work on foot, and almost always, Bergman was his leashed companion. It introduced the dog to a large portion of the community, especially the arts and culture sector that supported his film and writing passions.
"Bergman came into my life during a particularly bumpy period and stayed there when things got bumpier," Maides said. "He saw me through to a much healthier, happier place, and I just hope that he realized my gratitude. I ended up putting a lot of emotional weight on his little back; he carried it and asked for more. I love Bergman and feel an ache now that he is gone."
Worfolk, also a member of the CNC instruction team, was a partner in all these endeavors, especially in the care and love of Bergman.
"I'd like to thank all the dog-friendly businesses and services that we have visited," Maides said "I've named some and will miss many, but Homework and Dandy-Lines have been constants over the years. As well, the staff at the Sylvia Hotel, Restaurant and Lounge have been great hosts and have showered Mr. B with all the affection he could handle."
When the house lights dimmed and the movies crackled to life, Bergman was as much a member of those audiences as he was a member of the organizing committees.
The next opportunity to see a Cinema CNC event is Wednesday night when the documentary A Line In The Sand is screened there at 6 p.m. (see A&E front page for more information).