November 23, 2018
Award-winning filmmaker and journalist, Brandy Yanchyk, made her way north in September, visiting Yellowknife and Łútsël K'é as part of her six-part documentary series, Seeing Canada.
NWT Tourism and the Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment (ITI)’s North Slave office arranged a trip for Brandy and her team to film in the NWT as part of a broader campaign to promote the NWT, and specifically smaller communities, as premier adventure destinations.
Seeing Canada, now in its second season, is a travel documentary series starring and produced by Yanchyk. It highlights Canada’s signature experiences. The series airs on CPAC TV in Canada and on public TV stations including PBS in the USA.
In Yellowknife, Brandy and her team met Yellowknife artist, Derrald Taylor. “Derrald was so warm and approachable,” said Brandy. “I learned a lot about how he became a carver; how making art runs in his family and about indigenous tourism generally.”
For Brandy, the visit was a model for Indigenous tourism experiences. “I think it was a great example of how people can learn more about Indigenous culture in the NWT. It was well-organized in his art studio — which was a comfortable, convenient spot in Yellowknife; and the price was very reasonable.”
Among other activities, Brandy also experienced fishing on the big lake to round out her trip to the capital.
Photo: Soap carving with Derrald Taylor. Credit: Brandy Yanchyk
Brandy then headed east, away from the “Big City” to Łútsël K'é where she experienced what she called: one of the most exciting and interesting parts of making Seeing Canada: “communities start new tourism activities.”
James Marlowe, from the Łútsël K'é Dene First Nation, guided Brandy and her crew through the community — taking them for a shore lunch and introducing them to local artist John D Rombough.
Photo: Shore lunch with James Marlowe. Credit: Brandy Yanchyk
“The NWT offers easy and incredible access to Indigenous culture and its rugged, untouched landscapes and nature,” Yanchyk said, “it makes for a wonderful place to film.”
Amy Lizotte — tourism development manager for ITI’s North Slave office — spearheaded the trip. She is confident it will help build exposure and awareness for new tourism options in Łútsël K'é.
And thanks to an arrangement negotiated by ITI’s team, Brandy’s trip will provide the tools to help build that exposure long after broadcast. “We have access to all the footage Brandy and her team took during their visit” Lizotte says. “We’ll definitely be using it to promote what we have to offer visitors.”
Photo: Meeting with artist, John D Rombough. Credit: Brandy Yanchyk
Beyond tourism, the trip may also encourage filmmakers to consider the NWT as a premier destination for future productions.
Season two is expected to air in the summer of 2019 on public TV stations in the USA including PBS stations and Create TV.
Awareness-building activities like this are part of Tourism 2020 — the ITI’s investment plan to establish the NWT as a world-class destination, while further developing and diversifying the NWT’s economy.