The City of Nelson, British Columbia (population 10,000) has been a mountain town refuge for hippies, artists and entrepreneurs looking to create a funky utopia for generations. Nelson’s bohemian bubble bursts when one man kills another on the main street over a panhandling spot. This tragedy prompts Bubbles the Clown, who has twisted balloon animals downtown for 20 years, to run for Mayor as she stumps for the marginalized citizens of Nelson.
On the other side of Nelson's political spectrum, the death downtown ignites a call from the frustrated business community to oust the current Mayor and the six sitting Councillors. This populist flavoured uprising forms 'CORE - Coalition of Responsible Electors', the city’s first-ever political party with a platform to clean up the streets and make Nelson great again.
Stakes are high as the town heads into the municipal election, otherwise known by locals as 'Silly Season.' We follow a colourful group of candidates and a handful of concerned citizens along the campaign trail, including the pot shop owner, mountain bike champion, transgendered activist, small town reporter, punk rock musician, street elder, and a used car salesman.
Only in Nelson nods to the character study of Errol Morris's Vernon, Florida, the tone of a Christopher Guest mockumentary and the scope and spontaneity of Robert Altman's ensemble cast of Nashville. This unique feature-length documentary harmonizes comedy with tragedy and mingles satire with empathy as we witness a town in crisis over how to move forward amidst the wave of gentrification and global populism encroaching on their counter-culture haven.
"THE ONE THING THAT ALL THE DIFFERENT GROUPS HAVE IN COMMON IS A KIND OF LIBERTARIAN SPIRIT. PEOPLE REALLY WANT TO BE LEFT ALONE TO LIVE THEIR OWN UTOPIA."
- Anna Purcell, City Councillor
"I OFTEN REFER TO NELSON AS THE BUBBLE. IT WAS KIND OF THE LAST BASTION OF HUMAN KINDNESS WHERE THINGS OUTSIDE OF COMMERCE SEEMED TO BE AT THE PARAMOUNT OF WHY PEOPLE LIVED HERE."
- Mike Hodsall, musician
"PEOPLE TALK ABOUT HOW WE, IN NELSON, LIVE IN A BUBBLE. WE’RE KIND OF SAFE FROM THE REST OF THE WORLD, BUT THE REST OF THE WORLD IS HERE AND ALL OF THOSE THINGS ARE COMING IN ON US NOW AND WE’RE HAVING TO DEAL WITH THEM."
- Deb Kozak, Mayor of Nelson
1pm ONLY IN NELSON