Fundraising campaign opened for the Mainprize Project

(Photo of Dr. Mainprize from Mainprize Project Facebook page)

A gofundme fundraising campaign was launched on Nov. 17 to help fund the Mainprize Project officially (https://www.gofundme.com/f/mainprize-project).

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The project’s main goal is a feature-length documentary, and the secondary goal is to establish a bursary named after Dr. William Graham Mainprize, to be offered in perpetuity by each of the three Saskatchewan post-secondary institutions.

The filming is about 90 per cent complete. All financial gifts raised through the campaign will go towards postproduction work and the shooting of a few remaining key interviews.

“The entire project has been warmly supported by a lot of Saskatchewan-born folks and has a large Facebook following,” said producer and director Jack Hilkewich. “The project would not be where it is today if it wasn't for the generosity of our donors.”

In conjunction with the GoFundMe fundraising campaign, the project’s official website was launched. You can find it at www.mainprizeproject.ca.

The Documentary Subject: Doctor William Graham Mainprize

The documentary is a 100-per-cent donor driven Saskatchewan production profiling Dr. William Graham Mainprize and the harsh prairie weather of the early 20th century.

The documentary examines the life of Dr. Mainprize and the people who lived and worked alongside of him from 1911 to 1976. The filmmakers interviewed doctors and nurses that worked with him as well as people that owe their lives to “Doc” as they recount their harrowing experiences of medical emergencies. The documentary also explores how the sometimes inhospitable environmental conditions of a young province shaped the lives of these pioneers as they struggled to survive.

Preliminary work on the documentary began in 2011 with one person. Since 2018, ‘the Project’ has been coordinated by a five-member, volunteer executive committee with members from Regina, Bromhead and Brandon, Man. All members currently live or are originally from the Midale and surrounding area. The production crew is made up of award-winning film and TV professionals, all from Saskatchewan.

Mainprize Regional Park (located 16 km southwest of Midale) celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2011. Jack travelled to the park armed with a camera and a microphone to capture some of the activity and talk to a few people at the event. He was amazed by the amount of people who showed up and expressed to him that it was a great idea to document the park and the memories of Dr. Mainprize.

After that weekend, Jack knew this project needed to have more effort, thought, care and attention given to it in order to do it justice. This was about the man, Dr. Mainprize, who gave so many people a chance at life and asked for so little in return, but it was also about the people who selflessly served alongside of him. This project had to be done right and this is when the Mainprize Documentary Project was born.

Dr. Mainprize ‘Doc’ – A Brief Biography

Doctor William Graham Mainprize, ‘Doc’ was a pioneering doctor beginning in the early 1911 with a practice serving Midale and surrounding area for over 50 years.

He was dedicated beyond what his profession called for. Doc would travel many long hours by horse, sleigh, or whatever he needed to see his patients. He would only get paid what the people could afford and that was usually very little and mostly resulted in some form of food.

Doc would get local people to help him with his duties or travel with him on these long journeys on the open prairie in all kinds of weather. He also got local people to help build special vehicles that would enable him to go on his house calls in the country.

In 1959, the town of Midale and surrounding area appreciated Doc for his lifetime of unselfish service and named a park in his honour.

The film is essentially a love letter to the brave people who settled this province. Dr. Mainprize was an extraordinary human being, going to great lengths to carry out his practice, but he did not do it all alone. He was the leader but had a lot of people who worked alongside him to make sure he was able to serve the people of his community.

There are two main ways to obtain more information on the documentary. Visit the newly redesigned Mainprize Project webpage (www.mainprizeproject.ca) and the Facebook page, Mainprize: The Documentary (www.facebook.com/Mainprizeproject) where you can leave your comments, ask questions and share.

To Donate: Mainprize Project webpage (www.mainprizeproject.ca) GoFundMe (www.gofundme.com/f/mainprize-project)