Above from left: Chris Vajcner with Telefilm’s Lauren Davis
Back in October 2015 I was lucky to attend the Yellowknife Film Festival. It was my first time in the Northwest Territories and also the eve of the release of the first feature film shot there – The Sun at Midnight, developed through NSI Features First by the fabulous writer/director Kirsten Carthew.
And now, two years, later I got the incredible chance to return. I reveled in the fact that, for four-and-a-half of the five days I was there, it was warmer than Winnipeg (where NSI is headquartered).
The energy I experienced during my first trip was even greater this time.
Since I was last here, Kirsten and her team have travelled the world with The Sun at Midnight, and Jennifer Walden is in post-production on the second feature from NWT – Dark Sky which, again, the community is very much involved in.
Chris sipping The Sun At Midnight cocktail with writer/director of The Sun at Midnight, Kirsten Carthew
I had the chance to catch several excellent films including the dark and impactful Hello Destroyer (exec produced by NSI Features First grad Trish Dolman). The film’s producer Haydn Wazelle was there to deliver a master class.
I also saw Borg vs McEnroe about the tennis rivals, the web series Wild Kitchen by Caroline Cox and Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World from exec producers Catherine Bainbridge and Christina Fon (both NSI Global Marketing grads).
I had great meetings with local and visiting storytellers about the media industry in the north, and sat on a panel with David Christensen from the National Film Board and Lauren Davis from Telefilm answering lots of great questions from the audience.
Above from left: Telefilm’s Lauren Davis, NWT film commissioner Camilla MacEachern and Chris Vajcner
Work from several NSI alumni played at the festival and Laura Milliken (Featuring Aboriginal Stories Program) presented a session and was there to hang out. My ‘proud NSI mama’ heart was full.
And I have to mention the food and drink. Wow! Those who know NSI staff know we’re foodies – from mac n’ cheese and wieners to sushi and beyond. So the food experience is important to share ?.
Hot and iced chocolate at Birchwood Coffee Kǫ̀, gourmet breakfast sandwiches and butter chicken at The Fat Fox, pickerel unlike any I’ve ever had at Bullocks Bistro, plus all-Northern delicacies at the Friday night gala. Fantastic.
Thanks to Camilla MacEachern, NWT’s film commissioner, and the festival team from Western Arctic Moving Pictures – Jeremy Emerson, Nancy MacNeill, Pablo Saravanja and Kirsten – for a wonderful time. And special thanks to all the amazing media artists who shared their stories.
Above from left: Jeremy Emerson, Nancy MacNeill from Western Arctic Moving Pictures with Chris