For seven decades, a mysterious site on the Trans-Canada highway marked Sackville, New Brunswick. Where the hills and trees faded just past the Nova Scotia border, 13 120-metre towers rose up from the town’s Tantramar Marsh. They encompassed CBC’s Radio-Canada International (RCI) shortwave broadcasting site, built during the Second World War to send broadcasts worldwide.
Like others in the area, artist and filmmaker Amanda Dawn Christie was fascinated by the site — which not only transmitted Canadian content around the world in various languages, but also relayed Radio Free Europe broadcasts during the Cold War. This week, she’s premieringSpectres of Shortwave, her experimental documentary film on the site, at the Atlantic Film Festival in Halifax. It’s a project seven years in the making.
“[The transmission site’s] purpose wasn’t for the locals,” Christie says. “So my interest was in what its relationship was to the local people who lived around it.” That relationship was more than just landscape: the transmission site affected the appliances, homes and even dreams of local residents.[…]