It’s difficult (and often unfair) to single out a few notable films from the bevy of great submissions that comprised the line-up at the 17th Dawson International Short Film Festival. Nevertheless, after much hair pulling and brow knitting, the judging panels managed to select the lucky recipients of this year’s festival awards.
Here are the 2016 winners:
The MITY Award
The Made In The Yukon (MITY) Award is designed to honour and enable Yukon artists. It provides tangible benefits to Yukon filmmakers, allowing them to further their craft. The MITY Award has three categories: Professional, Emerging Artist, and Youth.
Sculpted by Dawson City artist Veronica Verkley, the awards themselves are constructed from items essential to survival in the Yukon: birch, steel, copper wire, and duct tape.
MITY Professional Award Winner
Krista Davis & Cari Tangedal won the MITY Professional Artists Award for Take the Wild. This work uses the metaphor of the Wild as an older, wiser lover encouraging us to let go of the structures and expectations of City in favour of getting caught up in her knowledge, her rhythms and her extremes.
MITY Professional Award Honourable Mention
Honourable mention does to Brendan Preston for his film Garbage Truck Santa. It’s the story of Wayne Henderson, a City of Whitehorse Garbage Collector, who 20 years ago wore a Santa suit to work and unwittingly started a holiday tradition that has captured the heart of a community.
MITY Emerging Artist Award Winner
The MITY Emerging Artist Award went to Jun Chen for her film Zombie Me! The film depicts a mad scientist creates a zombie with plans to take over the world, but his zombie is less interested in eating people and more curious about the world around her. The scientist slowly grows a heart and learns to care for the zombie.
MITY Emerging Artist Award Honourable Mention
Honourable mention goes to Georgette McLeod for her film Light on the Path, the tale of a young girl who loses the only people who can protect her, and must learn to survive the difficult times. It is a story of resilience, hope, and exploring inner strength to overcome difficult family times.
MITY Youth Award Winner
The MITY Youth Award went to two young Dawsonites, Kate Crocker and Jack Amos for Frost Bite. The experimental film centres around footage of aerial acrobatics, and teaches us about the hazards of practiciing this form of gymnastics in the Yukon winter. It hurts!
The Lodestar Award
A Lodestar is a star that is used as a point of reference (especially the North Star) and also refers to a guiding principle, interest, or ambition.
The Lodestar Award is given to the best Canadian or International film, which exemplifies the guiding principles of the art of independent short film/video making — freedom of expression, authenticity, exemplary artistry despite limitations, and clarity of vision. The winner receives (in addition to bragging rights) a sterling silver DCISFF pin hand crafted by Sharon Edmonds.
Lodestar Award Winner
The Lodestar Award went to Kajutaijuq: The Spirit That Comes by Nunavut’s Scott Brachmayer. This 15-minute drama depicts a hunter in the Arctic trying to live by the
traditional skills his grandfather taught him — but these lessons are difficult for a modern man to apply, and the price of failure can be costly.
Yukon Brewing Audience Choice Award
This award is chosen by audience ballot, with voting throughout the festival. The winner receives a cash prize, sponsored by Yukon Brewing.
Audience Choice Award Winner
The people chose Assini by Gail Maurice. Set in the the 1970s, it tells the story of children who love to play Cowboys & Indians, except nobody wants to be the Indian. But when Assini discovers she’s an Indian, her world changes forever. It’s tough finding out you’re an Indian in the 70’s when John Wayne is the hero.
DCISFF Trailer Contest
Trailer Contest Winner
— Dan Dowhal