Available Light Film Festival promises great stories, great film

For the sixth year, Northern film buffs will have the chance to “reconnect with the world and immerse themselves in great film”.

Andrew Connors, the director of the annual Available Light Film Festival (ALFF), is satisfied he and his volunteers have found enough feature films to satisfy its mandate of telling great stories.

If one were to look for a common theme among the 25 screenings March 4 to 9, Connors thinks it might be the number of experimental films this year: “The most famous Canadian filmmaker pushing this is Guy Maddin and his My Winnipeg.”

Maddin, the director, and Jody Shapiro, the producer, will be in attendance and available during workshops, panels and filmmaker talks. He is also bringing Brand Upon the Brain!

My Winnipeg was named one of the top 10 Canadian films of last year.

Another top 10 film included in the festival is Bruce McDonald’s The Tracey Fragments. It stars Ellen Page, who was nominated for an Oscar for her role in Juno.

The co-editor of The Tracey Fragments, Gareth C. Scales, will be here for the festival.

As the technical quality of the films have improved, so has the ALFF.

Connors says the Yukon Arts Centre invested $10,000 in a projector and, so, it joins the Qwanlin Cinema Centre as a venue.

Yukon representation includes Carol Geddes’ first and sixth episodes of the animated live-action series, Anash and the Legacy of the Sun Rock. She will be in attendance, too.

There will also be Cathleen Smith’s Here Are the News, the result of 10 years of effort to profile Old Crow’s Edith Josie, a news columnist for the Whitehorse Star.

A third Yukon submission is the introduction of Picture Yukon DVD Project, an anthology of Yukon short films from 2001 to 2007. It was curated by the Dawson City International Short Film Festival’s producer, Dan Sokolowski.

It will be distributed this spring to 8,000 Geist magazine subscribers.

Connors says documentaries are popular in the Yukon, but they do tend to be “dark and bleak” and some attendees at last year’s festival commented there was too much. Without shying away from difficult subjects, the festival has responded by ensuring 70 per cent of the films are comedic or filled with hope.

“I think it is an inspiring experience,” says Connors of the program.

More information is available at www.yukonfilmsociety.com.

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