Limit Is the Sky
Limit Is the Sky
For many young Canadians in the 2000s, Fort McMurray was El Dorado. Dubbed “Fort McMoney” by detractors and admirers alike, the city and its vast oil sands projects offered lucrative employment to thousands of fortune seekers who came from across Canada and around the world. Julia Ivanova’s documentary follows seven such dreamers, arriving from places as far flung as Sudan and Lebanon, as they pursue their dreams amidst a time of great uncertainty in the oil market.
Set against the contrasting backdrops of Alberta’s Wood Buffalo region, Limit Is the Sky is an honest and intimate look into the lives and livelihoods of the compelling characters that were the lifeblood of Canada’s preeminent boomtown until the crash of 2015. Their stories provide a necessary human element to abstract arguments over pipelines, oil sands development, and the environment. The young people at the centre of Ivanova’s film did not come to Northern Alberta in a vapid pursuit of wealth, but rather work to pursue personal goals very similar to those of millennials living in Vancouver. Spending time with the young denizens of Fort McMurray featured in this film will leave audiences rooting for their success, which makes the collapse of oil-induced gold rush sting despite its inevitability.
What was a heartfelt, occasionally humorous slice-of-life picture becomes all the more immediate, as Ivanova’s camera captures the downfall of an oil town beset by a free-falling global market. The camera keeps rolling right up to the aftermath of the devastating fire that decimated the city. The haunting images of scorched forests surrounding the once majestic Fort McMurray remind us that all things must end. -CP