By Kyle Reid
Of all the artists interviewed for his new series, ‘Arts Delight,’ filmmaker and producer Bill Coultas was especially eager to feature Tors Cove artist Allan Gillard.
“The truth is we could have done a ten part series on Allan himself,” said Coultas. “In terms of talent — we opened up the show and my daughter said that Allan doesn’t play the guitar, he builds it first and then plays…this was a guy right under our noses.”
That’s not to take away anything from the other artists that Coultas featured in the 10-part series. Arts Delight, produced for NTV, will feature in-depth interviews with well-known local artists such as Mary Walsh, Donna Butt and The Ennis Sisters.
And while those are names familiar to most, Coultas said he was also delighted in the opportunity to feature artists who often find themselves behind the scenes. Relatively undiscovered gems include Gillard, a Tors Cove heritage staircase builder, artistic wood burner, painter and musician; Ian Sutherland, Memorial University’s Dean of Music; and filmmaker Noel Harris.
“There’s lots of hidden gems that are going on in Newfoundland,” said Coultas. “Certainly this (series) is another indication of what goes on in Newfoundland and how deep it is. We’ve got world class professional entertainers that can match anything anywhere…we prove it all of the time.”
The mandate of Coultas series was to obtain a wide variety of local artists, including a filmmaker, storyteller, concert pianist, actor, painter, musician, sculptor, actor, theatre director and writer. As part of the feature series, Coultas found himself on the Southern Shore numerous times, including his feature of Gillard and an interview with painter Jean Claude Roy while Roy was painting in Tors Cove.
As part of his excursions along the shore, Coultas also found himself attending a surprise kitchen party with the Ennis Sisters at Sullivan’s Songhouse in Calvert.
“I went up there with the camera, and it was a great bit of fun,” said Coultas. “We got the interview and plus we got the interview cut up with images of the house party and the girls singing with the guests.”
Now living in St. John’s, Coultas is a former resident of the shore himself. Formerly a Burnt Cove local, Coultas, along with his family, opened an art studio in an old schoolhouse in the area.
“That place was a great place to do interviews for the series,” noted Coultas.
Coultas owns the production company Springwater Productions and has spent nearly 30 years in the television production industry. Over that time he has interviewed a staggering number of local artists which he said enabled him to make connections that allowed him to delve into much more deeper and personal conversations with the artists. In line with that intimate interview feel, Coultas allowed Bob Wakeham, journalist, and friend of Mary Walsh and Donna Butt, to interview the two.
“It makes for a more intimate, personal kind of show,” said Coultas. “It makes the series a cut above a simple interview series. It’s very revealing, very personal.”
A veteran of the industry, this likely is Coultas’ last venture into television production, noting he plans to retire after the airing of Arts Delight.
“I wanted to produce one last television series before I retire,” said Coultas, who also noted that despite his retirement plans he has a habit of taking on projects when the inspiration hits him. “Newfoundland is an interesting place, there’s lots to talk about…coming across a guy like Allan Gillard…there’s so much talent here.”
Arts Delight will premiere this Sunday at 4 p.m. on NTV.