The Old Fire Hall ‘blazes’ with films

Firehall Films, like most ventures, had humble beginnings.

It began in a tent at LePage Park, back in 2002-03, with a loaned big-screen television from Erik’s AudioTronic.

“We had to lug a 200-pound TV each week and there was a lot of glare from the tent’s door and traffic would drown out the sound,” says Andrew Connors, Yukon Film Society’s programmer.

Then YFS moved to the Visitor Information Centre and that worked out well.

“But then The Old Fire Hall became available and we could offer 7 and 9 p.m. shows,” he says.

Scheduled on a Tuesday and Wednesday, one week a month during the summer, Firehall Films offers film buffs a chance to “experience films in a different way,” says Connors.

“A cinema gives you time and space to experience the film.

“So much of our lives are fragmented now; we deal with so much different media at one time.

“This is a space that has no interruptions, to allow focus and reflection.

“Let yourself be pulled into the emotion [the film] elicits.”

Besides, says Connors, the screen is a 13-footer and contains silver nitrate to reflect back. And with the high-resolution projector and Blu-Ray discs, it looks and sounds great.

So the audiences that have been coming out contain a portion of cinemaphiles – “There is a strong, savvy audience in Whitehorse” – but each film tends to draw a different crowd, too.

Anvil: The Story of Anvil brought out the 20-year-olds while Yojimbo, a film that scene by scene inspired Fistful of Dollars, brought out a different group again.

A typical screening sees between 30 to 60 people in attendance.

Firehall Films this month sees the 1956 film, Giant, appear Wednesday, July 15 at 8 p.m. It is part of the “revisionist western” series YFS is playing with. In August, the movie will be Brokeback Mountain.

On Thursday, July 16, starting at 7 p.m., films from the Dawson City International Short Film Festival will be shown.

At 9 p.m., the Picturing the Yukon series continues with The Man Who Lives in the Bush (by Mary Jane Moses), Shipyards Lament (by Andrew Connors), Tending Toward Silence (by Arlin McFarlane) and Duane Ghastant’ Aucoin’s My Own Private Lower Post.

Connors says the Picturing the Yukon series has films about the Yukon and films made by Yukoners. It is a series that makes the rounds of Yukon communities, too.

On Friday and Saturday, July 10 and 11, YFS is bringing the Picturing the Yukon series to the Atlin Arts and Music Festival in the Globe Theatre. There will also be kid-friendly films at 4 p.m. on the Friday and other films on Saturday, starting at 10:30 a.m.

This is the third year YFS has programmed films for Atlin. After the success of the first year, a second night was added.

For Firehall Films, Connors says if it becomes more successful, it may become weekly instead of monthly.

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