Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Sunday, May 2, 2010
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
You were a beautiful lover, Dawson City International Short Film Festival, and I was happy to have intertwined my life with yours.
ONE LAST POST, in an ode to retrospecting every and all things! I failed to be a daily correspondent as was my original intention, due to my computer being held in a tower by a ferocious dragon with lock and key, and... it pains me more than it pains you, I be certain.
In summary, the festival was an obliterating mind expander, and true to all great lovers, I had my heart swiftly broken. This film festival was the first in which I entered a film, and I had great hopes, like those I had of my first lover. Instead of the long love and marriage, I dreamed of winning a prize, two prizes, seven prizes... I broke up with my first love and I won no prizes. I cried, at both experiences. But like I always say, it's not my fault. I'm a Cancer. We're a sensitive people.
A big congratulations goes to my school chum, Gemini Sophie Fuldauer who won the Emerging Artist Grande Pris. Ain't nothing like a school chum to remind you to step it up. Up your game. Game your up. Get going. Get her done. Et cetera.
Excellent weather, excellent proximity to my residence, and at the end of the festival free and free-ish food and beer for those of us that stuck it out to the end. Can't do much complaining in the face of the free, and the fun.
She was a good lover, she was a fair lover, and I thank her daily for a memorable weekend. Until next year, Dawson City International Short Film Festival- you were great.
Monday, April 5, 2010
I am certain the other bloggers will soon detail the awards that were handed out... I will just mention that I was pleased to see the film by Suzanne Crocker "Time Lines" take the top award, though I realize it was a difficult choice given the many options... but the simplicity and emotions of this short film speak for itself...and truly sum up the fine art of storytelling and the short film... and I think for that reason alone it deserved the MITY Award. Kudos to the judges for sifting through the difficult choices, as all the films had appeal and value.
That's it for now, I think i will hit the hay, somewhat saddened that the fest is over, that there is NO TOMORROW down there at KIAC... for those of you like myself that thought their particular film idea would look good and be well-received... well, we have a WHOLE YEAR to get off our asses and make it happen... see you next year film-goers... GOOD NIGHT.
Sunday, April 4, 2010
Anyway, who the heck has much time to sit around and blog this weekend? I must tell you, with everything going on, it has been difficult to take the time...
So, yesterday, a big treat was had by all who made it over to the best little theatre in town... the Danoja Zho Cultural Centre of the Tr'ondek Hwech'in (the First Nation). I had the chance to sit back and relax and take in the "First Eyes" Program, consisting of 12 excellent films including the comical Tsi tkahetayen (The Garden) and Poi Dogs, which was shot in Hawaii. Other highlights included two films from Old Crow: one by Mary Jane Moses (who was in attendance), teaching us how to set rabbit snares; and another one about the importance and practicality of dogsled culture, by Erika Tizya-Tramm, who unfortunately was not able to join us in Dawson for the fest. The program ended off with a rather disturbing film called "Jacob", set in 1940s Australia, which reminded us of the sometimes brutal origins of today's multi-racial reality, while at the same time showing us that the hope and love of the human spirit transcends this thing we call race...
So, more later, right now I am off to the brunch being offered by the local French Cultural Association because I'm FAMISHED...
Saturday, April 3, 2010
Here’s what my day looks like today: prep for making my one minute film; attend brunch at McCauley house; make one minute film; volunteer at twelve o’clock NFB screening; attend two o’clock youth screening at SOVA; attend Midday Magic screening at KIAC; 7 pm screening; 9:30 pm screening; 11:30 pm screening. Clearly I can be something of a completionist. It’s not good enough to go to just a couple of the screenings: I have to see them all. I do wish that the clone I’m making of myself in the mini-laboratory underneath my bed was ready now, because it’s killing me that at 2 pm and 4 pm today I am going to have to miss screenings because I will be at other screenings. It’s brutal. (What’s also brutal is that I will be spending about twelve hours watching films today. Awesome, but brutal. I wonder if I’ll actually make it to them all or if I will just end up at Peggy’s crying into a martini.)
Yesterday was great: in the afternoon, Chris Landreth taught a fascinating master class about his own particular blend of technology and psychology. I followed this up with a nap, so that I was well-rested to catch the evening’s screenings: Yukon and Beyond, By The Light of the Moon and Strange Things Done. There were too many good films screened yesterday to mention them all here. Stand-outs for me included 10North exquisite cadaver project and Miles to Go, by our own Evelyn Pollock; Attack, Decay, Sustain, Release, The Art of Drowning, and Love on the Line from the outdoor screening; and The Wild the Untamed, The Black Dog’s Progress and Tu(A)Mor from the Strange Things Done screening.
More to come... but right now I need to start working on my film!
Friday, April 2, 2010
The opening movie last night can be described as a shocker… yes, a shocker. The film “Nude Study” featured two continents and many local actors, telling the story of a young woman coming to terms with her family, her hometown, a Dawson winter, and all the sexuality that comes with the territory, including some sensual girl-on-girl and food-on-girl action. Although the movie at times went out of its way to recycle some well-worn stereotypes, it also had some breathtaking shots, technically brilliant sequences, and even came complete with a scene that could be said to take “auto-asphyxiation" to a new level! Thank you Stefan and Katherine for generating such lively discussions afterwards in Bombay Peggy’s with your film! Some will probably need to talk about it today… many folks had to be taken home after the film and tucked into bed so they could get over it, rest up and be ready to tackle Good Friday…
Cheers, gotta run… either to do dishes or check out the workshop with Chris Landreth…
First dutiful blog entry composed early in the morning (12 pm).
Well, made it through the first day of Film Fest, and was certainly NOT taken for fool, no sir, not this year. Last night (Thursday) was the jump off for this film festival madness, and the champagne to strike the boat was film by ADOPTED LOCALS Katherine Berger and Stefan Popescu. The film they created in Dawson two years ago called Nude Study was a trip, every kind of trip I can imagine, excluding positively lucid. The subject matter they touched on in the film was WIIIIILD –from the Momz dyin’ of the terminal cancer, to the beautiful muse being done from behind by her husband’s skeeze friend. Well, those are both rather tragic, now that I’ve listed them so linearly. But, alas! The film did not wreak of sorrow, or misdoings. Through employment of experimental film techniques, and using a bunch of cuts of some of the most beautiful footage I’ve ever seen (such as ginger cat stealing away a house rabbit from the grass for its lunch!) Nude Study, for all it’s dark bits manages to remain an optimistic film in my memory. What, you want a synopsis? Forget about it. It’s already in existence, in the festival booklets! PICK UP A BOOKLET. They are large! And FREE! And endlessly helpful in navigating the activities coming in the near future.
A couple of things Dan (Our Noble Leader, in all things film. If we were in the Sahara, Dan would lead us to water. Follow Dan.) mentioned last night, at the screening: there’s some contests going on, over this weekend. Yer first contest is to spot the hat! Dan will be wearing a different hat each day, and you are meant to catalog them, record them, present your recordings on the last day, and receive a FABULOUS prize! Second contest: there will be on film that will have a Bombay Peggy’s logo planted in it… spot the logo, report it to your officials, win DRINKS. No word of a lie. Third contest: Along the lines of the second, another film will have a drink? A drink, I think. I sort of misunderstood this one, but say you see a film with a drink reference, that may or may not remind of the DOWNTOWN… well, report it, because it could get you drinks at the DOWNTOWN!
I didn’t get to the hockey film afterward, because April 1st is moving day in Dawson, if your name is Jessica Viens, and so you see, my fates were written.
(Also my friend had a PUNK BIRTHDAY PARTY, which was pretty cinematic in and of itself.)
LASTLY, there was a FRIENDLY encouragement to show up HALF AN HOUR early if you want to hit the concession –it’ll be open, and you’ll allow the films to start on time, which is important, it’s a packed schedule.
Don’t forget about the one minute film contest, too. Free stuff, just saying.
Over and out.
Your friendly neighbourhood correspondant,
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
At the end of my first summer in Dawson, I swore I would never again live in a place with such a small library: I would simply waste away if I strayed too far from the millions of volumes of a well-stocked university library. Fast-forward five years, and after spending two more summers in Dawson, I stayed for the winter and learned an important lesson about quality over quantity. This "city" might not offer quite the same level of variety enjoyed elsewhere; what Dawson offers instead is an unparalleled opportunity for people to participate, instead of merely forming the audience. I may have been to a few film festivals elsewhere, but only in Dawson was I able to help make a film festival happen.
Selections for the Dawson City International Short Film Festival are community based. Rather than having an elite hand-picked jury choosing the films, everyone in town is welcome to attend the selection screenings and to weigh-in on the films submitted. Each person gives each film a score out of thirty: a possible ten points for production value, ten points for creativity and another ten for how engaging the film is. There is also a point-blank yes or no: should the film be accepted into the festival? There’s a safety valve, too, and films that are clearly not suitable for the festival can be voted off if half the selection committee agrees. It’s a process that brings the best of the submitted films to Dan’s attention, making his job as festival producer a little easier. It also injects some of Dawson’s unique character into the festival.
I attended almost every single selection screening this winter, only missing a few when I was away on vacation. I’m a rather exacting critic, and during the screenings I tried to keep my eye on the prize--choosing the absolute best films for the festival. I rarely hesitated to begin voting off a film if I didn’t think it should make the cut, and gained something of a reputation for the readiness with which I called out “One!”
I was also a member of the festival planning committee. This was a somewhat less exciting committee to be on, as all the fun film watching was replaced with things like debating the meaning of “ex-officio” and approving meeting minutes. All worthwhile, of course--the gears hidden behind the clock-face, and all that. Meg and Gord did a great job sourcing out festival swag, and I think that apron versus scarf will be the great debate of the weekend (easily solved by just getting both, of course). Our best committee meeting was the last one, when we convened at Peggy’s to rename the martinis in honour of the festival’s special guests. Alcohol consumption and hilarity ensued, and the morning after I wasn’t sure if I should be embarrassed or proud of my contributions to the discussion.
I loved the process of the screenings--the wine Dan provided and the good company of my fellow screeners certainly contributed to this--and with the festival only a couple of days away, I can hardly wait to see the end result. Sometimes going out to the movies can be such an individual experience: people sit, cocooned in the dark, not talking and only watching. But this weekend at the Dawson Film Fest, I’m going to be more than a spectator. I’ll be part of a community, surrounded by all the volunteers, filmmakers and Dawsonites who make this festival possible, and who make this crazy town a city like no other.
I hope this sense of community will spill over into the blog. Bill Kendrick and Jessica Viens will be blogging over the weekend, keeping us all updated on the screenings, socializing and salacious gossip. I hope that you, dear readers, will contribute as well: you are cordially invited to participate in the blog, too, by leaving comments on the posts. Just remember to set your martini down on a flat surface first: you’ll need both hands to type.