KIAC will once again host the Dawson City International Short Film Festival over Easter weekend starting April 6, 2023. You will want to get your pass early once you hear what is happening this year. Dan Sokowloski, director of the film fest, has been able to organize a full on event with no Covid-19 restrictions hindering the workshops, social events and attendance sizes. You can expect a large contingent of out-of-towners coming from Whitehorse and elsewhere.
The film festival really begins, for some of us, in mid-October with Film Selections every Monday and Wednesday. A small eclectic group of people with discerning palates gather together in the KIAC ballroom to watch and score the film submissions, painstakingly plucking the nuggets from the dregs. 400 plus film submissions were narrowed down to 88 films with half from The Yukon. If you didn’t know Film Selections was a thing you do now.
The Film Festival highlights are many beginning with the Thursday Night opening Polaris a ninety minute drama directed by Kirsten KC Carthew, Yukon/NWT. “A young girl raised by a polar bear pursues her destiny after escaping capture by brutal warriors intent on killing her mother.”
Dawsonites will want to stick around for the Sunday night screenings that close off the festival with films created by and/or starring local legends Lulu Keating, Suzanne Crocker, Cud Eastbound, Caveman Bill and David Curtis.
There are some brilliant films in the youth screening on Saturday afternoon with young film-makers local and national. That screening is followed by First Eyes at the DÄNOJÀ ZHO CULTURAL CENTRE as seen through an Indigenous lens. Both screenings are free.
The biggest highlight of the film festival will have to be Dawson Defrosted: The 2nd Great Film Find. “A recent discovery of footage from a lost time in Dawson is revealed to the public for the first time.” Dan Sokolowski explains further: “As everyone knows there was a Film Find from early 1900’s beneath the permafrost years ago and now there has been an actual second Film Find where someone has found a really old film that was shot in Dawson years ago and it was sent to Anthropology Canada after the film was restored. They evaluated the footage because nobody remembers where there these films are from or who is in them or what has occurred. So anthropology Canada has looked at them and they evaluated what was going on in Dawson at that time. We are still not sure the exact year but it was a long time ago. No one has publically seen these films so we are going to be screening that on a Friday night at the opening screening.”
Workshops and Demos this year is Old School vs. New School. The Old School is a Hands On Super 8 Cameras and Eco-processing Workshop led by Brittney Appleby. “She/they is an interdisciplinary artist and filmmaker with a primary focus in experimental analogue film and photo techniques. Brittney draws inspiration from nature by creating botanical cyanotypes and using plant based eco-developers to process film.” The Friday afternoon is free and there will be an additional workshop for locals on April 15th who want to continue to shoot and develop their films.
Representing the New School is local auteur Jonny Klynkramer with the Future is Now: Virtual Reality Demo. You’ll have to bring your brain bucket for this one (and it will fill up fast) because it looks intense.
The best part of any festival is the food. The KIAC concession serves up chef level quality food as created by the lovely and talented Chef Maria Sol Suarez Martinez. Equally amazing is the Sunday 5 pm Perogie Festival with a free live performance by Ryan McNally. The perogies are carefully hand-sculpted by an energetic crew of perogie pinchers a week prior to the event. If you want to get in on that it is not too late.
Finally, if you are tired of sitting on your butt all weekend you can blow off some steam at the (S)hiver Party at The Pit. Sweat it up with your finest techno hot pants and rave regalia.
Film Festival Tickets are still available but I wouldn’t wait too long. www.dawsonfilmfest.com