Unconventional Risk


WGAW Registry ID: 1725160
Format: Hybrid VR 1.85:1 (protecting for 1.77:1) 35mm 4k Digital Cinema
Exceeding EBU ‘UHD1 Tier 1’ Standard, sRGB & Rec709 Deliverables
Director: Jonathan Flack
Producer: Curtis Augsperger
Associate Producers: Kirk Hanson, Eric Nalder
Story:  Kirk Hanson, Jonathan Flack, Eric Nalder
Cinematographer: Tavish Campbell
Additional Camera: Jonathan Flack
Writers: Arno Kopecky, Eric Nalder, Kirk Hanson, Jonathan Flack
Sound: Tavish Campbell
Status: Pre-Prroduction


The Salish Sea has become ground zero in a worldwide debate over dependence on fossil fuels & their impact on climate.

Few North American waterways are as delicate or beautiful. Yet, few are so convenient for oil companies seeking a western doorway to Asia for the vast reserves of climate destroying carbon that lies within the Canadian tar sands.

Seals frolic in evening light in the Salish Sea

This thousand-square-mile ecological wonderland, comprised of a vast network of waterways & fjords, links Washington State & British Columbia to the Pacific Ocean.

OrcasTankerHaroBeamreachCaution is at the heart of Unconventional Risk, a pre-emptive cautionary tale artfully nested within a classic ‘call to adventure’ narrative.

The title, derived from the industry term “Unconventional Oil,” refers to petroleum produced or extracted using techniques other than conventional methods, and raises the questions about the unconventional nature of risks industry has forced on communities impacted by their product’s transport.

The oil industry and governments across the globe are currently investing huge amounts of capital in unconventional oil sources due to the increasing scarcity of conventional oil reserves & their dwindling commercial viability as renewable sources gain ground.

Unconventional Risk is not simply another exposé on corporate greed and the recklessness of ecological folly. Unconventional Risk provides a fully immersive hybrid cinema / VR experience, whilst providing an insightful portrait of a family’s deep inter-generational love for the sea and their friendship with indigenous First Nations who have lived for generations beside the Salish, and remain fiercely determined to preserve their traditional way of life, maintaining their role as stewards of these waters, which they regard as sacred.


This narrative is intertwined with months of investigative reporting which has exposed a regulatory system rife with abuses & loopholes, utilized by industry to maximize profitability for oil transport with little to no regard for the safety of these unique coastal treasures.

Humpback Whales are an increasingly rare sight in the Salish Sea with increased shipping

Unconventional Risk provides a thought-provoking showcase for the necessity of sustainability, and for long-range planning that makes wise use of this area’s, indeed, the earth’s, dwindling natural resources and wild places, whilst providing penetrating examination of the trade-off that’s at stake: economic prosperity? For whom? ..and the risk of sacrificing forever this unique and fragile ecosystem and the unique indigenous cultures dependent on it.  An ecological & cultural gem that, with just one spill, is likely to be lost forever.