The 11th annual Yellowknife International Film Festival was successful in bringing a smaller but richer and deeper experience for filmmakers, guests and participants of the festival. This year we had scheduled 14 official festival guests 10 of which were from out of town. We screened 12 features, and 29 shorts films, of which 14 originating from the NWT. We are so excited to announce the 2017 Audience choice winners: (Short Narrative: The Last Walk. Feature Narrative : Sami Blood. Short Documentary: Mammoth. Feature Documentary: I am not your negro).
The film highlights this year were screening of the local films, ‘The Last Walk’ and ‘When They Awake!’ with many local musicians featured in the film in attendance with a great Q&A session afterwards. Also the timely screening of the Tragically Hip documentary ‘ Long Time Running’ shortly after the death of Gord Downie drew large crowds as did ‘Rumble: The Indians who rocked the world’ and ‘I am not your Negro’.
The Industry Programming was a huge success and included 13 different events from Q&A sessions, receptions, Galas, 6 workshop sessions, and an after party. All events were free and open to the public and were well attended. The sessions were informative and gave local filmmakers several opportunities to chat with industry professionals such as Haydn Wazelle and Jaro Malanowski and establish relationships with funders such as Telefilm, and the NFB. The National Screen Institute was also back to continue to develop training opportunities in the north and meet with local filmmakers in consultation with WAMP and the NWTPMA. All of our guests were really impressed with the hospitality and activity of northerners which we had on full display. The festival and industry events continues to reinforce the importance of the north for compelling stories and storytellers.
One of our more exciting events was the Pitch This! Event at the Top Knight where Northwestel was giving away $5000.00 in cash for the next greatest show from the NWT. This was matched by WAMP with $5 000.00 in production credit. The judges Chris McNutt, Jay Bulckaert, and Pablo Saravanja, were impressed by the number of pitches and great ideas coming out of the community and awarded the following people with production and development deal:
Jeremy MacDonald [S*** I Found Diving] – $2000 cash, $1000 WAMP bucks
Miranda Currie [Children’s Educational TV] – $2000 cash, $1000 WAMP bucks
Ryan Gregory – $500 cash, $1000 WAMP bucks
Ollie Williams [Exceptional Community members/ Curling Doc] – $500 cash
Rod Kennedy [Sir John High School Productions] – $2000 WAMP bucks
NWTel development support for Dez Loreen, Keith Robertson and Dean.
This year we were finally able to host our first festival arcade that featured video games created by Indigenous Youth in WAMP’s summer video game workshops, an Interactive Documentary about occupied Palestine, and the Virtual Reality project 2167, a touring immersive media project by 5 indigenous filmmakers and artists produced by imagineNATIVE, in partnership with TIFF, Pinnguaq and the Initiative for Indigenous Futures (IIF) This arcade and the distribution of WAMP cards at the festival by volunteers provided an opportunity to inform the public on WAMP’s other activities.
We had greater representation from the Yukon this year will Screen Production Yukon Association (SPYA) and Available Light Film Festival (ALFF) representatives as well as Yukon filmmakers with films in the program including, Journey to Adaka and Camera Trap. This is likely in response to the large NWT presence at ALFF last year and is a good indication of cross territorial cooperation with another festival and industry association with much in common and one of WAMP’s goals.
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