Canadian Forces Station (C.F.S.) Dana, a NORAD Pinetree Line radar station, operated from 1962 to 1986, and was officially closed on August 30, 1987. It enlisted 200-300 service personnel and their families at any given time, though a much greater number people were involved at the station over the years. What remains of this military installation is explored and remembered in this half-hour documentary through ten individuals who once worked at the base. There are insights from a cross-section of people such as radar technicians, an elderly school principal, and a retired air force major. The current owner of the station explains how he came to own the military property as he stands before a herd of buffalo that now graze the area.
Although many such radar stations stretched across Canada within the Pinetree Line, the intent of this documentary is to focus on C.F.S. Dana, Saskatchewan. For the filmmaker, the station served as one of the first childhood homes during the early 1970s. Despite all of its military and political ramifications it was a great place to for young kids to grow up within a unique military community.
Sadly, some of the people involved in the project over 10 years ago on the documentary have since passed away including the station owner, Joe Saxinger who graciously allowed and assisted in the production. Peter Ford, sound recordist on the project and formerly of the CBC, worked very hard volunteering his efforts – sadly passed away in 2000. John Armstrong and Arley Philips have also since dearly departed.
The project was completed primarily by contribution of volunteers and with the assistance of various insitutions such as the Banff Centre for the Arts, EM Media in Calgary and the National Film Board of Canada. Richard Agecoutay volunteered a great deal of time and effort as the project’s director of photography. His creative eye proved to be a great asset to the overall look and delivery of the documentary. The post-production environment was provided by the Banff Centre for the Arts under a co-production status which also helped make the production possible.
Greg Marshall is currently working part-time on the completion of another documentary dealing with experiences of war.