The depth and breadth of video storytelling across the NWT is gaining momentum, as shown in the ambitious week-long event staged in Yellowknife last week.
The Yellowknife International Film Festival, after nine years, is generating an impressive line-up of talent and sponsors with no shortage of serious political and social messages.
Hosted by the Western Arctic Moving Pictures Society, in partnership with the NWT Professional Media Association, the event “strives to provide valuable professional development opportunities for local content creators and inspire creative networks,” said festival director Jeremy Emerson. Indeed, it’s gaining traction and support with sponsors like Canadian North, Dominion Diamonds, Bell Media and the Canada Media Fund stepping up to the table.
A total of 39 films were screened nightly from Sept. 28 to Oct. 4, with daily workshops ranging from film rights to crowdfunding to stunt acting.
The films showcased an impressive range of themes and topics, from personal dramas encountered living in the North, to suicide, the struggles of a lesbian couple in a remote Arctic Inuit camp, the toxic legacy of Giant Mine and a post-apocalypse comic book fantasy.
One of the closing films was the premiere showing of Way Up North, a fast-moving 75 minute documentary featuring big Northern names such as Tanya Tagak, Leela Gilday and Leanne Goose, and wintery community vistas from across the NWT. It revolves around the 2013-14 tour called Listen Up NWT!, a collaborative musical adventure that toured NWT regional centres and pulled original compositions together from junior high school students. Their live concert was performed in Yellowknife in May of this year.
The festival will take a selection of films to regional events in the near future.