Wednesday, April 7, 2010


Dear DC,

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.

J. McLovin'

Monday, April 5, 2010

Northern Lights and the final Movie Good Night 'til Next Year

OK, so it's quarter to 4 a.m. and I am just getting back from a little get-together at the artist-in-residence house here in Dawson... a bunch of us decided to head there after the "video dance party" at KIAC... lucky us, for we were blessed with one of the BEST NORTHERN LIGHTS shows that this correspondent has ever seen. Yes, even a camera was grabbed from inside, so we may even see how that spectacular represents... but it doesn't matter, for that memory will stay in my head forever... yes, even the fine art of film has its limitations, sometimes we just need to BE THERE!

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


I had been a little worried that I wouldn't be able to be able to come up with anything to say on this blog, but so many amazing things keep happening... I have way too much material and not enough time to write. There is, for instance, a great post about Stefan and Kath inviting me back to McCauley House last night after the risque Midnight Magic screening (Dawson rumor mill: do your worst!) and how I could not stop laughing (until things got serious and names like Barthes and Foucault got tossed around). But there's no time! I actually don't even have time to write the post I want to write about Marv's workshop this morning and how his film Postalolio is deceptively complex and way more challenging than it initially appears and perhaps could even be said to theorize about how we perceive film. All I have time to say is that this morning Marv told me that he likes my cowboy boots and now I never, ever want to take them off ever again.

Gotta run: Karen's workshop is up next.

The Hope and Love of the Human Spirit; I am Off to Brunch...

With each passing night things seem to get a little more risque around here...

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

Pics or It Didn't Happen

The first thing I saw this morning when I walked into McCauley House was Tim Jones flashing his bare chest--film fest parties apparently being rather rowdy regardless of the time of day. Unfortunately I didn't have my camera at the ready, which means there's no pin-up boy of the day today. I did get a few other shots, though (which are perhaps more representative of this morning's brunch).

This lovely lady was was doing the dishes:

There was a lot of intense conversation:

Sometimes seating was in short supply:

Dan made an announcement, because nothing can happen at this festival without Dan making an announcement:

Small children were in attendance:

And awesome socks were an unintentional theme:
That's Lulu in the purple tights, Laurie in the colourful stripes, and me in teal and grey stripes.

Marv Newland also sported some very kicky socks:

(And don't even get me started on that tie! Marv is so awesome! I like him so much I have to lurk at stalkerish distance!)

Big thanks to the Residence Committee for the great brunch--it doesn't get much better than good food and good company.

So Many Films, So Little Time

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

Drive, Rest Up.. the Weekend is Just Beginning

Happy Good Friday Yukon! I myself just arrived back in Dawson after a 2-week absence… and this time I was not only anxious to get home, but I also had the added incentive of getting back in time for this year’s film festival. In case any of you are still sitting in Whitehorse thinking that getting to Dawson today will entail 536 km of mud and hate, you could not be more wrong… I must tell you that the highway is dry and clear; there are no construction hold-ups or floods anywhere… In fact, I only counted a total of 400 meters of soft gravel on the entire highway! Yes… the blue skies and wide-open vistas you hope for and have come to love in the Yukon will greet you today on this highway to Dawson City. Don’t let any misunderstandings stop you from making the trip to this year’s film festival… you can do it!

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…


Friday, April 2nd

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,
Alexander Keith

Crazy Town, Indeed

I was definitely surprised at the film festival last night. I didn't really know what Nude Study was all about, but knowing Stefan and Kath as two nice, laid-back individuals, I wouldn't really have expected them to create a film with so much violence and sex. Watching Nude Study was kind of a shock to the system for me, and I think other audience members felt the same: the little old lady who was sitting in front of me at the beginning of the film wasn't there at the end, and I heard one guy say "I need a stiff drink after that" as he was leaving the ballroom when the film was over. So: shocking, yes--but also good. It was difficult subject matter approached with artistry and intelligence, and portrayed by excellent performances from the actors involved (many of whom, it must be noted, were amateurs). My enjoyment of the film was rounded out by a long discussion with Stef and Kath about the film over martinis at Peggy's. We covered a lot of ground: the editing process, the Dawson City shown in the film, funding, horror, experimental film, selling out... I was nervous to bring up Georges Bataille, but really shouldn't have been, considering Stefan's enthusiasm for him. I hope other movie-goers in Dawson this weekend will enjoy every opportunity available to meet with filmmakers, and ask them about their work. It just adds so much to the viewing experience.

Before I made it to Peggy's and that great discussion, there were two more films to watch. Five Hole: Tales of Hockey Erotica, a short about unrequited love and hockey, neatly bridged the gap between the subject matter of Nude Study and the third film of the evening, The Hockey Nomad.

I'm really not much of a hockey fan, but the kind of passion expressed in The Hockey Nomad is always compelling: you can't help but be interested and excited when it is obvious that a filmmaker cares so much about the topic he is working with. Dave Bidini is clearly all about the hockey. And of course, it wasn't just about hockey: it was also a travel narrative, taking the viewers to the United Arab Emirates, Romania and Mongolia; and at the same time, the film broached the subjects of culture, politics and identity. Despite the subtext, it was still a nice light ending to the evening.

I know you're not really here to read about the movies, though. You want the gossip. Well... I'm not going to name any names, but there is a certain local filmmaker who challenged a certain local film enthusiast to see who will gain more notches in her belt, as it were, this weekend. There may be a cat-fight brewing, but in the meantime: Gentlemen, if any lady asks you to step up to the plate and help her win this throw-down, you know what to do.

XOXO, Film Girl.