I received a lovely email from my aunt Marg this morning, enquiring if I would be at my parents’ house on Salt Spring Island for Easter weekend. And while, indeed, my parents’ place on the island has such charms as green grass, adorable lambs and (of course) my lovely parents, there is absolutely nowhere else in the world I would rather spend Easter weekend than in Dawson City.
Because while it is indeed Easter weekend, it is also Film Fest weekend, and Film Fest weekend in Dawson City is the best weekend of the year.
Things kicked off last night with the screening of Lucille’s Ball, a feature-length film made by local filmmaker Lulu Keating. It’s a wonderful film–very funny, but also meaningful and honest–and I hope that someday soon Hollywood invites Lulu down there to show them how it’s done (although if Lulu ever leaves Dawson City, she will be so greatly missed). I particularly enjoyed how Lulu approaches relationships in the film; while Hollywood and other traditional/mainstream sources of storytelling often represent romance and romantic relationships as a goal to be achieved with a dramatic kiss, Lucille’s Ball speaks to the way that successful relationships are processes that require negotiation. For all that the look of the film is highly stylized–incorporating animation sequences and an innovative use of studio space–it ends up feeling more real than many conventional romantic comedies.
In the Q&A following the screening, Lulu showed how her funny and charming film is really just an extension of her funny and charming self. While I am not going to explain to you what was stuck where–you’re just going to have to watch the movie–her demonstration of a five minute casting session with willing victim Victor Ghizaru (whose film Aurelia is closes the 9:30 Into the Night screening on Saturday) is a moment that will live on in film fest history. (“It’s stuck. It’s stuck? It’s stuck… It’s stuck!?!”)
There is so much to look forward to this weekend. I will be repeating the strange endurance feat I undertook last year, and will be attending every single screening and watching every single film. While no doubt at some point I will feel like my eyeballs are bleeding, I know it will be absolutely worth it.
Kit Hepburn explores various forms of visual art including printmaking, drawing and sculpture, and creates short stop-motion animations. Her love for the Dawson City International Short Film Festival will never die. Follow her on Twitter @KathrynJHepburn for on-the-spot updates.