Project Made Possible: End of the Ice Age Documentary

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January 11, 2018

Transforming ice into infrastructure is perhaps one the best known example of Northern resiliency and resourcefulness.  

For more than 50 years, a 185 km man-made road of ice has connected two of the territories' arctic communities: Tuktoyaktuk and Inuvik.

In July 2016, with construction of the Inuvik-Tuktoyaktuk Highway (ITH) approaching completion, Peter Clarkson knew he needed to capture the ice road’s history before it disappeared.

End of the Ice Age: The last winter of the Inuvik Tuktoyaktuk Ice Road, was the result.

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The idea behind the 25-minute documentary was to capture the final ice road season - research its history and discover what it meant to people. Peter and his team, (Shayla Howell, David Stewart, and David Hamelin) began filming in September 2016.

The documentary made its debut at the official opening of the ITH in November 2017.

“The theme that ran through this project from start to finish was connection,” Peter explains.  “Whether it was sporting events, weddings, funerals, cultural events, or visiting family, it connected people. The ice road has truly been an important part of Beaufort Delta culture.”

The historic final season of the ice road drew travellers from around the world.

“We were in the middle of filming and it was incredible to see the number of people travelling the road, simply because it was the last year,” Peter notes. 

“People came in vehicles, bicycles, motorbikes, walking, running, paragliding, skidooing – all to travel the last ice road to Tuk”.

To make his project possible, Peter was able to access support from the Department of Industry Tourism and Investment’s (ITI) Community Economic Development Stream of the Support for Entrepreneurs and Economic Development (SEED) program and received logistical support provided by ITI’s Film Commission. Funding for the project was also provided by the Department of Infrastructure, Executive and Indigenous Affairs and NorthwesTel Community TV.

Beyond the economic benefits derived from its creation, the documentary provides a valuable insight into the history and culture of the NWT’s Beaufort Delta – and stimulate interest and awareness in perspective visitors hoping to travel the new Inuvik – Tuktoyaktuk highway.

The documentary made its debut at the official opening of the ITH in November 2017.

End of the Ice Age Hits the Big Screen

Already, the film has been accepted to the Available Light Film Festival in Whitehorse (Feb 3-11) and is being submitted to Toronto’s HotDocs Canadian International Documentary Festival, the Dawson City International Short Film Festival, and the Yellowknife International Film Festival.  

NorthwesTel has also picked the documentary up on their community channel and will show it in Yellowknife and Whitehorse. DVDs will be available in the coming months for locals and visitors who want a piece of ice road history.