Get Moving

A glance at the credits of a film reveals that it’s a collaborative art form involving a lot of people over a lot of time.

Now imagine that there is only 48 hours to assemble a film, from start to finish. That’s the operating premise for the Yukon 48 Challenge, an event held by the Yukon Film Society (YFS) with the collaboration of the Klondike Institute of Art and Culture (KIAC), and NorthwesTel’s Cable 9.

The challenge happens on the weekend of November 14 to 16, and will involve filmmakers from Whitehorse and Dawson, and hopefully points in between.

“ A lot of people use this opportunity to make a film that they’ve been wanting to make all year,” says YFS general manager Zoe Toupin. “They just kind of need to be pushed to do it. So we do have a theme, and the theme will be announced the day of the challenge, so that it’s fair for everyone, to have the right brainstorm ideas. But nobody’s forced into doing the theme…but to be eligible for the jury prize, they’ll need to do the theme.”

So teams register, and then they have the weekend to make the film, and we present them at the Old Fire Hall the following week. In order for the films to be eligible, they have to be under 10-minutes and they can’t use any previous footage. People could be writing their scripts, or coming up with concepts that they want to do beforehand, because we can’t really monitor that.”

There will be simultaneous screenings of the films entered in Dawson and Whitehorse the weekend of November 21. In addition to the jury prize, there will be an Audience Choice prize in each centre.

Last year’s jury prize went to the filmmaking team of Kieran O’Donovan, Christopher Griffiths, and Tyler Kuhn. Their film, Enough To Get By, went on to be shown at the Cannes Film Festival as part of a special Telefilm Canada presentation of made-in-Canada short films.

Reached in Toronto where he was meeting with industry-types, O’Donovan offers advice to this year’s entrants.

“ It’s such a quick turnaround, the whole thing, that the idea sort of evolves through the process,” he says. “Don’t let your hesitations and doubt about whether it’s really going to work get too much in the way of just moving forward and trying to get something done. Because there’s all the happy accidents that happen along the way, that turn out to be something really good.

“ You can’t do everything that you want to do. You don’t generally have a budget to work with, you don’t have all the equipment you want to work with. So you have to find a story and the visual aesthetic that will basically turn the sort of weaknesses that you’re going to have within your production into strengths.”

Toupin had high praise for the calibre and versatility of Yukon filmmakers:

“ There’s a lot of talent here, and there’s people that have interesting stories to tell, that are unique to the Yukon too.

“ You get some funny stuff, some really creative stuff, and some strange things as well.”

There were seventeen films completed last year, and Toupin expects the same amount this year. Watch for them at the Old Fire Hall, November 21.

Go to to download a registration form.

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