Dave Barber. Photo: Wayne Glowacki, WFP.

I’m on the fence when it comes to putting up statues and memorials, and naming buildings, bridges, roads and venues after people and companies. Mostly, I just don’t think it necessary, but sometimes it is, particular when someone is more than deserving of that honour.

Dave Barber was the programmer at the Winnipeg Film Group’s Cinematheque until he tragically passed away on Monday July 26. Crucial to the development of independent cinema in Winnipeg and an outstanding ally to generations of local filmmakers, he was awarded the Winnipeg Arts Council’s first ever Making a Difference Award in 2007.

Dave was known to many as “… a gentle, kind, curious, funny, and selfless soul [who] lived his passion for film, music and people every day, pouring that tireless creative energy into his work at the Winnipeg Film Group [WFG] and impacting the lives of the thousands of people he met along the way.” [WFG, 2021]

For my part, Dave and I were occasional friends. We used to joke about how to get him to Australia. I regularly bugged him to secure Aussie films for Cinematheque. And I will always remember his role in the Australian film fest many years ago. I thought of Dave as a good man with a big heart who was always willing to chat.

How does one pay tribute to such a generous and talented guy? Fortunately, the WFG knows exactly what to do.

“It’s not possible with any single effort to honour his memory and the impact he has had on our community. Cinematheque would not exist without Dave. It was his theatre and always will be. We will soon be officially renaming the theatre The Dave Barber Cinematheque in his honour.

“We are [also] accepting donations in efforts to establish a filmmaking fund in Dave’s name.* Donations can be made at https://www.winnipegfilmgroup.com/product/donation/ .”

And that’s how we can all say thank you to a very good man who gave so much of himself to a community that meant so much to him, and vice versa.

At the end of the day, I still think things like kindness, patience, tolerance, understanding and inclusion are the memorials we really need, but Dave Barber has shown us that sometimes some people deserve a little bit more.

* The Winnipeg Film Group is a charitable, non-profit organization, and as such relies on the generous support of our public and private sector funders, corporate sponsorships and private donations. Donations above $10 will receive charitable tax receipts. No matter your donation we sincerely appreciate your support. Please Note: On the checkout page there is a section where you can attach a note to support a specific project, or make the donation in a loved one’s name. When making a donation in Dave’s name, put “The Dave Barber Filmmaking Fund”.