This film, based on the play of the same name, portrays the harsh lives of early Saskatchewan settlers and the foundation of the co-op movement on the Prairies.
Paper Wheat was among the last of the films produced within the Challenge for Change program. It chronicles an agitprop theatre troupe's tour of the Prairies with a show examining the history of the Saskatchewan wheat pool.Thomas Waugh, Ezra Winton, Michael Baker
The play, based largely on interviews with members of farming communities across the province, reached out to local audiences and told them their own stories in a way that mainstream theatre at the time did not. Contributor Chris Meir argues "the film itself adapts the formal and political concerns of the play, while also documenting an important moment in Canada's and Saskatchewan's cultural history in its attempt to make a positive intervention in the life of the nation and the province."
Paper Wheat is perhaps one of the most widely seen CFC films, as it was broadcast on CBC several times after its release in 1979, the same year as the film version of alternative theatre classic Hair – the most internationally famous product of the Vietnam-era alternative theatre movement.
From the playlist: Challenge for Change