Screenings for the Dawson City International Short Film Festival began in October, with five or six people meeting twice a week to view what would eventually add up to between 400 and 500 submissions for the Easter weekend festival.
Producer Dan Sokolowski, now in his 12th year of producing the festival, which began in 2000, says that about 30 people were involved in the five-month selection process. In the end, they selected 80 films for showing. Besides finishing up the details for the weekend, he’s been burning up the Internet bandwidth at the Klondike Institute of Art and Culture (KIAC), downloading the films for the festival.
There are six less than last year, but Sokolowski says quite a few of them are longer than usual, so he’s actually had to add another screening to the already packed three nights and two days of films. Entrants will be vying for one or more of several awards, some selected by panels, and the Audience Choice Award, which is selected by the audiences at the dozen screenings over the weekend.
Something like 1,500 viewers (including those who were repeats) took part in the process last year. The major award is the Lodestar, given to the film judged best of the bunch. The MITY (Made in the Yukon) awards, designed anew each year by Veronika Verkley, come in both Youth and Professional categories.
At this writing, entries are still coming in for the Trailer Contest. These short and often humorous teasers will be shown between screenings throughout the weekend. One of them will win an award.
This year’s Thursday night long-form opening evening will be at KIAC at 7:30 p.m. “One Woman’s Journey” is a live music and video performance by Caroline Cox, a documentary filmmaker who travels extensively, and is based out of a small, off-grid cabin on the Liard River in the Northwest Territories. She is in Dawson working on her original screenplay, Ash and Snow, which is a feminist western.
Friday’s events will begin with a workshop by Joel Penner called Scanner Timelapse at 1 p.m.
The festival will officially open with the Cold Cuts Video Festival and the opening reception at 4 p.m.
The Cold Cuts Video Festival is the sixth annual exhibition of video works by contemporary Canadian artists. This has been curated by Christina Battle and will feature four films: Land Also Moves (Association for Decentering Landscapes, 2016), The Treaty is in the Body (Tanya Linklater, 2017), Round the Rouche We Go (Amanda Boulos, 2015), and Something in the Way (Liz Knox, 2015).
The evening’s screenings will begin at 7 p.m. and continue at 9:30 p.m. and 11:30 p.m.
Eleven films will viewed during Yukon Seen; seven more during Up River; and eight during Beyond The Aurora.
Saturday will open at 1 p.m. with Christopher Healey’s film What If Was Here and continue at 2 p.m. with nine films by Yukon Youth.
While most of the film screenings are in the KIAC ballroom on Second Avenue, the venue for the First Eyes screening at 4 p.m. will be the theatre at the Dänojà Zho Cultural Centre on Front Street.
At 7 p.m. that evening there will be a presentation of material by the nine visiting filmmakers in the The Weight Of The Mountains group. They have been in the Klondike all winter, working on various projects, individually and collectively. They hail from the United States, Australia, Great Britain, Egypt and Germany, as well as from Canada.
At 9:30 p.m. the Confluence screening will present five longer works; and at 11:30 p.m. Strange Thing Done will have 11 shorter items.
Sunday morning will commence at 11 a.m., with Daniel Janke’s presentation called Simple Sound.
After lunch at 1 p.m., Out of the Cold will have eight films, and Down River will screen three.
The 5 p.m. Street Feast will take care of supper for most people, weather permitting. If it is as nice as it was during Thaw di Gras, there should be no problem. There is generally live music for this, but that hasn’t been announced at this writing.
At 7:30 p.m. the seven films in the Break Up group lead into the closing ceremony and awards presentation, usually delayed a bit while the final audience votes are being tabulated. For more information, visit www.DawsonFilmFest.com.
After three decades in classrooms in Beaver Creek, Faro and Dawson, Dan Davidson retired to continue writing, as he had been all those years. Please send comments about his stories to [email protected].