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Documentary series on North Shore Rescue wins 3 Leo Awards

The five-part documentary series, 'Search and Rescue: North Shore,' was released last year
Search and rescue doc
North Shore Rescue's volunteers hit the small screen in 2020 in a documentary series which aired on the Knowledge Network.
A documentary series that chronicled the exploits of a search and rescue group saving lost hikers has found huge success at the 2021 Leo Awards.

The crew behind last year’s five-part documentary series, Search and Rescue: North Shore, was nominated for five awards and won three during the virtual awards show on Tuesday (July 6).

From the outset, the film crew embedded themselves with North Shore Rescue between 2018 and 2019, joining them on virtually every call-out.

The purpose of the series, which premiered on Nov. 10, 2020 on the Knowledge Network, was to showcase the kinds of situations that the all-volunteer search and rescue group is typically thrust into and what the lives of members look like when they aren’t donning headlamps and hoisting from helicopters.

“I think it was a real opportunity to show what these volunteers actually commit to,” said documentary series director Grant Baldwin.

In addition to taking home the coveted win for Best Documentary Series, Search and Rescue: North Shore also won for Best Direction and Best Musical Score in the documentary series category.

“Winning Best Series means everything – the whole team is getting recognized for their work,” said Baldwin.

North Shore Rescue team leader Mike Danks congratulated the film crew on their success, crediting their keen eye and willingness and ability to seamlessly integrate with the search and rescue group for why the series turned out as well as it did.

“I think it really allowed them to capture the footage that they did,” said Danks. “I think if it was more of an awkward relationship, it wouldn’t have ended up that way.”

In addition to capturing their daily lives, Danks said the series was a great opportunity to spread the word about backcountry safety more broadly, even though the need for search and rescue groups was still at an all-time high.

“It’s been incredible how the community has rallied around us. We’ve had hundreds and hundreds of emails of support, not only from our community but from other search and rescue members.”

There are 80 search and rescue groups throughout British Columbia.

The virtual Leo Awards are being hosted over three nights this year. The annual awards, founded in 1999, honour the best in B.C. film and television.

Baldwin couldn’t confirm if another season of Search and Rescue: North Shore was in the making.

He said he’s happy the documentary series seems to have had an impact on viewers, who now better know what it takes to rescue lost or injured hikers on North Shore mountains and beyond.

“We’ve had a lot of people follow up with us after the show came out saying, ‘I’ll never head out there again without leaving some kind of note or trip plan.’”