Movie lovers have a chance this weekend to experience a rare venue for viewing in the north – a pop-up drive-in movie night is set for October 1 at The Cut Off Restaurant and Pub parking lot.
The latest creative entry in the fine Yukon tradition of making our own fun, the event is the brainchild of a group of friends – Vivian Belik, Bailey Staffen, Darren Susin, Chelsea Jeffrey, and Naomi Mark – with skills in pop-up events and film presentation. “We were looking at unique ways of projecting film,” says Belik, and turning a parking lot into a drive-in was one answer.
The crew has unearthed a large screen – 20 feet high – and radio transmitters that allow sound to be tuned into the car radio. Kitchen staff at The Cut Off have devised a menu in keeping with the theme, and a concession is planned for snacks and popcorn at intermission.
Viewers will be treated to the first public screening of Underdog, written, directed and produced by Vivian Belik and Naomi Mark, one of the first six films shown on the CBC Short Docs platform.
Underdog follows dog musher Yuka Honda as she prepares to set out on the 2016 Yukon Quest trail for the fifth time. This is an especially meaningful effort for the Japanese-born musher; as she makes painstaking preparations for the race, she’s grieving the loss of her mother.
Underdog shows the sacrifices it takes to get to the finish line – after all, “It’s a feat in itself,” says Belik. Yuka Honda cuts a determined figure in the film, moving toward the starting line with a quiet passion that few understand.
The second short film on the program, The Working Cats Guide to the Klondike, draws from the past to bring viewers “the greatest story never told” — tales of cat sledding, a practice unique to Dawson City. It’s all about the real cat trains of the north and why, “once you go cat, you’ll never go back.” Directed by Veronica Verklay and produced by Spoofamentary Productions, the 10-minute film was released in 2012.
The feature film at the drive-in is Labyrinth, directed by Jim Henson, creator of the Muppets. David Bowie stars as Jareth the Goblin King and Jennifer Connelly is Sarah, a young girl seeking her lost baby brother. The rest of the characters in Labyrinth are puppets from the Jim Henson Creature Shop.
Labyrinth, released in 1986, overcame a lukewarm reception to become an enduring success, beloved by many who discovered it in childhood. Also, David Bowie is in it.
Showtime is 8:00, but plan to get there earlier for dinner or snacks, and to get a parking spot. Admission is by donation; 20 dollars per vehicle is suggested. Profits from the event will be donated to Yuka Honda’s entry in the 2017 Yukon Quest.
The Cut Off Restaurant and Pub is located at 217 Duncan Drive (across from the Carcross cut-off).
The drive in movie night is being presented in partnership with the Yukon Film Society and Creative Lab, with additional support from On Yukon Time.