Helping Yukon’s Filmmakers Get Funded

One of our missions here at the Klondike Institute of Arts and Culture (KIAC)  is to support artists and art creation. So, among the film screenings, get-togethers, and workshops at the 15th Dawson City International Short Film Festival were several invaluable information sessions for  Yukon’s filmmakers. Their objective was to help those looking to create films in the north to understand where to find various sources of available funding, and to understand what the qualifications and procedures for those funds are.

Ian Reid of the Canada Council for the Arts

Ian Reid of the Canada Council for the Arts

At noon, Ian Reid of the Canada Council for the Arts outlined the different programs available from the CCA that can assist filmmakers and media artists in the north. Much of the information can be found at their website, so Ian helped show how to navigate through the site, and offered several handy tips to help with the application process.

At 5:45 p.m. one of the Yukon government’s representatives covered programs specifically for Yukoners. Kevin Hannam, a film commissioner for the Yukon Film and Sound Commission walked the audience through the Yukon Filmmakers Program, and gave a breakdown of amounts that

Kevin Hannam of the Yukon Film and Sound Commission is introduced by DCISFF Producer Dan Sokolowsky

Kevin Hannam of the Yukon Film and Sound Commission is introduced by DCISFF Producer Dan Sokolowsky

can be applied for, as well as eligible expenses, how to calculate budgets, and other project and procedural considerations.

Kevin was followed by Chris McNutt of Cable 9 Community Television from Whitehorse. He let the audience know about a special limited-time incentive for northern producers just announced by the Canada Media Fund, and outlined Channel 9′s ability to help in this application process. (CMF applications require proof of a broadcast license, and C9 productions qualify in this regard).

ChrisMcNuttThe bottom line is that Yukon filmmakers have a variety of resources available to them to help fund and foster their projects, and they should explore these avenues fully before undertaking development and production.

All the speakers also emphasized that there are contact people available in their organizations to counsel and advise people looking to tap into the network of funding.

Dan Dowhal

The Kids Are Alright

Today’s first screening showed that talented filmmakers can come at an early age. The 2 p.m. Yukon Youth showing featured 11 short films by Canadian kids, including five by Yukoners. From the whimsical to the profound, and from animation to documentaries, the young artists displayed real creativity in their stories and their production techniques.

Not surprisingly, films by Dawsonites garnered the most enthusiastic reception. Jack Amos, who has already made a name for himself in local theatre, tackled the world of cinema with his claymation piece Cirq “no” soclay. Tess Crocker, whose mom Suzanne has also shown at DCISFF in the past, produced a drama mystery titled The Secrets of the Secret Mansion. Oliver Fiegel’s documentary The Rib Off chronicles a fierce local cooking competition.


Dan Dowhal

Yukon Talent Shines at First Screening of Shorts

DCISFF producer Dan Sokolowsky acknowledges filmmakers in the audience

DCISFF producer Dan Sokolowsky acknowledges filmmakers in the audience

The 2014 DCISFF’s first slate of short films took place at 7 p.m. in KIAC’s Oddfellows’ Ballroom, and played to a packed house. Titled Yukon and Beyond, nine of the 11 films in the line-up came from Yukon filmmakers, including several local Dawsonites. In fact, in making the introductions, festival producer Dan Sokolowsky pointed out that there was someone in the audience representing each and every one of the films.

Yukon Minister of Tourism and Culture Mike Nixon (who’s son Kyle, by the way, is showing a film in tomorrow’s Yukon Youth screening) gave some official greetings and acknowledgements, and then the audience was treated to a cinematic smorgasbord of shorts.

The offerings were eclectic, but all engaging. They included Cent-Free Nation Meg Walker’s tribute to the now-defunct Canadian penny, Wedding on Mussel Island, a poignant family memoir by Lulu Keating, Kerry Barber’s Pieces, an edgy experimental piece, the imagery-ridden animated Self Portrait with Migraine by Kathryn Hepburn, and the whimsical Drifting Home by Karen McKay (who also manages the festival’s front of house operation).

Look for more great Yukon-generated content throughout the rest of the festival.

Dan Dowhal

Dawson Film Fest Settles Down to Business

After the opening Thursday night features and after-parties, Good Friday was a get-down-to-business day for the 15th Dawson City International Short Film Festival.

Normand Roger

Normand Roger

At 1 p.m. two skilled and experienced cinematic music and sound experts held a 3-hour workshop at the Yukon School of the Visual Arts (SOVA) entitled Music Composition and Sound Design for Film and Media Production.

Normand Roger is best known for his soundtracks for animated films (including 6 Oscar winners) and has spent 40 years creating soundtracks for the national Film Board. He played excerpts from films he has scored and explain his views on how music supports films, including when to use less or none at all.

Daniel Janke

Daniel Janke

Daniel Janke composes music for dance, theatre, and the concert stage as well as film, and is himself a producer and filmmaker. of award-winning short films and TV series. He described how music fits into the overall sound design of a film, and how composers and sound designers work together.

Together, the talented and experienced duo walked workshop attendees through the process of developing a soundscape for a film.

Video Festival Revels in Contemporary Media

ColdCuts_logoAt 4 p.m. the opening reception of the Cold Cuts Video Festival was held in the ODD Gallery, where the exhibits will be shown for the next two days. This is the second year of Cold Cuts, which is a curated exhibition of video by contemporary Canadian and international artists that runs concurrently and in association with the DCISFF.  The festival is curated by Nicole Rayburn,  with help from her SOVA colleague Justine Hobbs.

This year’s installation is entitled Revel In It, and the works are designed to explore the world of pop culture and mass media and “envelop it and wallow in it.” The ODD Gallery’s viewing hours for Cold Cuts are Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Dan Dowhal, Writer at Large


Two Longer Offerings Launch 2014 Film Fest

The 15th Dawson International Short Film Festival  kicked off tonight with a pair of screenings of, well, not-so-short films. The remainder of the weekend will of course see the traditional line-up of shorts, but these two special feature documentaries continued the DCIFF’s recent tradition of opening with some select longer offerings from filmmakers or writers with a Dawson connection.

Filmmaker Michelle Latimer answers questions from  the audience following the screening of her documentary ALIAS.

Filmmaker Michelle Latimer answers questions from the audience following the screening of her documentary film ALIAS.

First up was ALIAS from current Filmmaker-in-Residence Michelle Latimer. The documentary is a raw and intimate look into the lives and aspirations of hip-hop artists from Toronto’s public housing projects, looking to use their music as a way to escape the poverty and  menace of the mean streets, and as a voice and means of expression for  their urban underclass.

During a Q&A session afterwards, Latimer described the process of gaining acceptance into the rap-music subculture, and provided updates on where some of the individuals we met in the film are today. She also described how her own aboriginal heritage caused her to abhor the injustices that members of many visual minorities  encounter daily at the hands of the police.

Author Charles Wilkins wrote and voiced the narration of The Big Blue, which depicts a trans-Atlantic rowing voyage by a crew of 16.

Author Charles Wilkins wrote and voiced the narration of  the documentary The Big Blue, which depicts his trans-Atlantic rowing voyage as part of a crew of 16.

The subsequent late showing was The Big Blue, by former Berton House Writer-In-Residence Charles Wilkins.  The film chronicles a voyage across the Atlantic from Morocco to Barbados aboard an experimental rowboat. There was no support vessel, no stored water, no sails, and no motor. Most of the crew were young, fit, experienced rowers — and then there was Wilkins, a self-described “scrawny 63-year-old intent on a last great adventure [who] had never swung an oar in earnest.”

The voyage resulted in Wilkins’ latest travel book Little Ship of Fools, but he also wrote the narration for and voiced the film, as well as serving as one of its subjects. Speaking after the screening Wilkins described how a movie can only capture certain facets of a story, and went into more depth and colourful detail about the hardships, and the interpersonal tensions encountered on the voyage.

Wilkins had also spoke about his book and presented a slideshow at the Dawson City Community Library on Wednesday, and will be part of the upcoming Live Words Yukon Writers’ festival, which takes place from April 23rd to 26th in Whitehorse and other Yukon communities.

Now its on to the main business of the Dawson Film Festival  — short films, workshops, and lots of fun.

— Dan Dowhal, Dawson City Writer-at-Large


Film Fest weekend in Dawson City!  Check out all the action at

The Animal Project Tonight at KIAC

The Animal Project, 7pm, KIAC Ballroom

As a thirty something acting teacher attempts to push a group of eager young performers out of their comfort zones, he struggles with his own ability to live an authentic and fulfilling life with his teenage son.
Director Ingrid Veninger will be in attendance
$5 DCAS members/seniors/students, $8 general public