• James Parry

Ben McKinnon: A True Lightkeeper


PHOTO COURTESY THE McKINNON FAMILY

The community is mourning the loss of Rigaud based cinematographer Ben McKinnon who passed away August 12. The family will soon provide information about a ceremony during which Ben will be honoured.

The local community – along with the world of creativity and cinematography – lost a shining star this past weekend with the devastating news that Rigaud resident, 24-year-old Ben McKinnon who - according to an official statement by his family on Facebook - “Decided to end a long battle he'd fought so courageously, so relentlessly for two years, and surrendered his own life.”

That statement, addressed to dear friends of Ben, added, “Our dear brother, our dear son, is no longer with us. In this time of great pain and sadness, we wish to keep alive in memory only that brightest essence that Ben was.

“Since he believed in touching the lives of others through his art, his words, and his own hardships, may you remember Ben in the unique, personal way that he touched you. Ben, may you be at peace, wherever it is you have flown to. May you know that we love you, love you, love you, and cherish all that you were. With love, your family.”

That sentiment was shared spontaneously by some of Ben's many fans and admirers contacted, with the full approval of his parents, by Your Local Journal yesterday. All of whom said they were so saddened to learn of Ben's passing while expressing their sincere condolences to his parents Robert and Brigitte McKinnon, his brothers Sam, Liam, Renault and older brother Sebastian with whom he worked so closely on film projects and the company they founded together, Montreal-based Five Knight Productions specializing in film and video production, and his fiancée Lulu Lovering.

Said Hudson Film Society president, Clint Ward, who has screened all three segments of the McKinnon brothers' critically-acclaimed KIN Fables at Hudson Village Theatre, “It is sad beyond belief. The world of film, to which so many of us are dedicated, has lost someone very special and very talented who I really believe had a great future in filmmaking ahead of him. My heartfelt condolences to Ben's family at this very difficult time.”

Said Hudson Village Theatre executive director, Kalina Skulska, “On behalf of everyone here at the theatre, our hearts go out to Ben's family and all his friends including so many young people here in our community whose lives he touched in a most positive way and who will never forget him.”

Said Bob Kemerer who, together with fellow Hudsonites Peter Williamson and Your Local Journal writer James Parry, spent 10 days in Newfoundland with Ben and Sebastian last year filming Salvage, the second chapter in their award-winning KIN Fables trilogy, “Ben was the consummate cinematographer. Even when filming, we costumed 'fishermen' over the transom of a land-locked dorey in a huge, unheated shed in Port aux Basques. We were all freezing. But Ben and Sebastian never lost their cool. I will always have good memories of them both. They wanted the best. They were so professional. And they, in turn, inspired us to give our best. It is so sad that Ben has left us.”

Said St. Lazare singer-songwriter Vivianne LaRiviere, “Ben's charisma was also enigmatic. He was exceptionally gracious. His eye for beauty captured so much beyond what we would expect in such a young man. He provided a depth of breath in his work that magnified his philosophies, as he was tremendously devoted to the craft of capturing beauty in the light, in the storm, in the turbulence of nature.

“Ben captivated beautifully the sentiments of one of my songs, Tell Me Life, in a video we did a few years back. We filmed much of it on Rigaud Mountain. He knew the ground well. It was his home, both physically and spiritually. I am deeply saddened and shocked by his death. We have lost a budding genius.”

Ben wrote very recently, “In the end, light will always pierce through the darkness, beaming fiercely through the shadows, cutting its way through the night.”

There is no doubt that Ben McKinnon’s unique and beautiful light will continue to guide and inspire the hearts and minds of all who knew him.

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