May 9, 2018
In the Northwest Territories there is no shortage of powerful stories to tell.
Two of those stories, told through film, were centre-stage at the recent NorthwestFest International Documentary Festival, hosted in Edmonton May 3 – 13: When They Awake and End of the Ice Age.
When They Awake Producer Pedro Marcellino; NWT Film Commissioner Camilla MacEachern; and ITI Director of Economic Development Joel Holder at the opening night of NorthwestFest
The NWT Film Commission was a sponsor of the event, and Commissioner Camilla MacEachern participated in the festival.
“Opportunities to profile the NWT’s film industry at festivals like NorthwestFest are extremely important,” MacEachern says. “We have come a long way in the last few years. I began attending these events to build a profile and awareness for the NWT’s film industry. Today, we have films that were produced in the NWT opening these festivals. Our focus now is to keep the momentum going and growing.”
The Film Commission’s sponsorship included print advertising and speaking opportunities in addition to valuable exposure for its new NWT Film brand. While in Edmonton, MacEachern also met with the: Alberta Film Commission, National Film Board and the Film and Video Arts Society of Alberta.
Alberta’s Minister of Indigenous Relations, Richard Feehan; Hermann Farahi, When They Awake Director; NorthwestFest Director, Guy Lavallee; Camilla MacEachern, NWT Film Commissioner; and Pedro Marcellino, When They Awake Producer.
On screen, When They Awake, a feature-length documentary celebrating Indigenous Canadian musicians, earned the coveted opening spot for the festival. The film was one of the first recipients of the NWT Film Rebate Program in 2015 and filmed in Yellowknife, Tuktoyaktuk, Inuvik, Fort Simpson and Nahanni National Park. Many members of the NWT’s film industry were hired on during the filming.
There was an air of celebration as the NWT delegation was joined on stage before the screening by familiar faces from the film – and the NWT - including Leela Gilday, Jay Gilday, Dëneze Nakehk'o, and Leanne Goose.
End of the Ice Age, a documentary that captures the final season of the Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk ice road, was also selected to be screened at the festival. The film was produced in part by the Inuvialuit Communications Society, with support through the Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment’s Support for Entrepreneurs and Economic Development Program.
Producer, Peter Clarkson; NorthwestFest Director, Guy Lavallee; Director, Shayla Howell at screening of End of The Ice Age at NorthwestFest International Documentary Film Festival in Edmonton
The film’s Producer Peter Clarkson and Director Shayla Howell travelled from Inuvik to see their film featured and speak to the festival’s audience about the significance of the last season of the ice road.
Shayla Howell, Peter Clarkson, and Guy Lavelle giving opening remarks before screening of End of The Ice Age at NorthwestFest
“What a wonderful evening of film and music” MacEachern tweeted after the event, “the opening of the NorthwestFest International Documentary Film Festival, featured ‘When They Awake’ and closed with a beautiful songwriters circle with Leela Gilday, Jay Gilday, Don Amaro, Trent Agecoutay.”