Dawson City has created a filmmaker out of a doctor. So says Suzanne Crocker, creator of
All the Time in the World, a full-length feature film that is making waves around the country. It will be screened in Dawson City at the Odd Fellows Hall on Thursday, April 2 at 7:30 p.m.The film documents the nine months Crocker and her family spent alone in the Yukon bush.
Crocker never planned to be a filmmaker. Even though she made Super 8 films as a kid and did a lot of creative writing, she wasn’t sure which direction to go as she grew up. “It was a debate whether to go for arts or science after high school,” Crocker says. She chose the scientific path. The next 10 years of post-secondary education, along with 15 years as a family doctor, did not allow much time to be creative. However, after retiring from her medical practice to spend more time with her kids, the creativity came back.
It all started with Crocker’s oldest son, who, at the age of five, made an animation film that was screened at the Dawson City International Short Film Festival (DCISFF). Then Crocker’s younger daughter started to make films. In the end, Crocker was bitten by the film bug. “My kids got me into it,” she says with a laugh. “I’m riding on their coat-tails.
Crocker started taking workshops, and entered some local competitions. “It’s so easy to explore creativity here in Dawson,” Crocker says. “You just have to have an idea and it can happen.” She credits such local film talent as Lulu Keating and Dan Sokolowski for inspiring and mentoring her.
The kids have since moved on from filmmaking, but Crocker is still passionate about it. The idea to film the family’s adventure in the bush was not planned. “There is a huge curiosity from people down south about our lifestyle up here,” she says. “So I decided to document it for them; we took the camera at the last minute.”
After nine months, Crocker came out with 500 hours of footage. At first, she didn’t know if the film would sustain itself, but watching the footage motivated her and she kept working at it. A year into the project, she knew she had something when, while in Victoria, she was contacted by a local school who had heard of what she was doing and wanted to show some footage to the Grade 6 to 8 classes. Crocker put together a half hour segment and screened it for the students. “You could hear a pin drop and afterwards there were so many questions,” she says.
She was told later that her film was the topic at dinner tables that night. “There was obviously lots of interest.” Altogether, it took Crocker three years to edit the film. “Now I see the reasons for making a short film,” she says with a smile.
Speculating on why her film is so successful, Crocker feels that deep down, there is a longing for the simpler things and to have more undistracted time in our lives. She says the take-home message of her film is to try to remember we really don’t have all the time in the world and to make the most of what matters to us.
The film has played to packed houses and has won audience choice awards in several festivals. Crocker is surprised and honoured at the reaction. “I’m proud that a film from Dawson can cause such a buzz,” she says. “People even stay for the credits.”
Despite all the attention, Crocker continues to remain humble about her family’s experience. In the end, she says, what she and her family did wasn’t that extraordinary. “It’s not a film about bush living, it’s a film about time and choice,” she says. “Going into the bush grounds you. It was the best year of our lives as a family.”
All the Time in the World helps kick-off DCIFF on Thursday, April 2 at 7:30 p.m. General admission is $10.