Fabulous Festival of Fringe Film 2008

Fear Remembered

 
Schedule 2008Tickets and DirectionsFabulous Festival of Fringe Film HomeOpening ReceptionA Pathless LandFear RememberedPeople's ChoiceHandmade Film WorkshopHarvesting the YukonExperiments With TruthTrue Meaning of PicturesTrip-Hop MetropolisAndrew Lampert: Projection Performance

 

 

August 2, 9 pm, Middle Dam in Durham
(In the event of rain we will use the Symphony Barn)

by Lulu Keating
The Yukon is a great wild territory with huge expanses where no camera has ever set foot. You can travel for days here without seeing another human. What you see is wide expanses of land, not walked upon by humans but home to bears, moose, caribou, beaver, geese, eagles, falcons, and a host of other creatures of the air, water and land. Recently I completed a raft trip on the Stewart River, and we saw all those animals. We drank the river water. Everywhere was evidence of nature’s power: spring ice had gorged banks, heaped rocks, levelled trees. The river races along at nine kilometres an hour, and when you’re on it, you share its power.

Boar Attack
Boar Attack, Jay White

Living in the Yukon is a passionate choice. How long have you lived here? The answer is counted in winters, because they start in September and lasts until April. This year we saw a foot of snow June 8th. Summers can be relentlessly sunny, with intense heat as the day progresses. For months, there’s no night sky, no stars, no cover under which to commit crimes.

In a Territory of 32,000 people, the Yukon has a higher per capita percentage of artists than most of the country. In the capitol, Whitehorse, the Yukon Film Society (YFS) has been active since 1984. YFS was originally established to promote the appreciation and exhibition of films. A second mandate has emerged: to promote and facilitate film and media art creation. The Society produces the Available Light Film Festival (its 6th year in 2008), mandated to present long form documentaries and dramas that focus on northern and Canadian themes.

Dawson City is 536 kilometres farther north, with a population of only 1,300 people. The Dawson City International Short Film Festival will celebrate its tenth anniversary next year. Attendance numbers for the three day festival total 1,100, an indication of community support for cinema and culture. Now, Yukon submissions to the festival are so prolific they are no longer a novelty. The Yukon Film and Sound Commission offers grants through their Filmmakers Fund. There is also assistance available through the Yukon Arts Council. Training programs put on by Yukon Film Society and the Klondike Institute of Art and Culture spur production. A recent 16mm film workshop by Phil Hoffman in Dawson City resulted in several films being produced, including Stone Bruise.

In the last decade, there has been an explosion of filmic expression from passionate filmmakers here, covering all genres and investigating diverse subjects. Rachel Grantham and Richard Lawrence explored Yukon’s history with their documentary, Jack London’s Cabin. Andy Connors’s introspective short drama, Artifacts is a contemporary exploration of a young man’s relationship to the past. Martin Berkman, a photographer and avid outdoorsman, is constantly celebrating the natural beauty of this land in his films. Kerry Barber takes the filmic conversation in a different direction when she asks, “Is it true? Most First Nations have flat bums?” Her film is called, My Indian Bum.

A program of films from the North isn’t complete without homage to dogs. In Dogs in Concert, Werner Welcher’s point of view is from the inside of a sled-dog’s mind. We’re swept into the sights, sounds, smells of the dog’s world, and the sensation from inside is surprisingly comfortable. Is it Werner’s fault that I now have a dog?
Carol Geddes’s film, Picturing a People, brings to life the work of an inspired amateur photographer, George Johnson. Completed in 1997, it is widely considered to be the first film made by a Yukoner. Other films about the Yukon were made before this one, but by people who presented an outsider’s perspective. Geddes is Tlingit, one of the fourteen First Nations in the Territory. Her pivotal film set the bar high for all Yukon production.

Experimental film often challenges the viewer to be open to a different way of experiencing the world. Stone Bruise by Dan Sokolowski is like no other portrait of the legendary Dempster Highway. We see the landscape through the ‘bruised’, broken windshield of a truck as it travels through this grand country: a different kind of journey.

Where does Jay White get his ideas from? Like most creative people, he struggles with his work, wondering what the hell he’s trying to say. Boar Attack lets us know we’re in the presence of a talented, insightful, playful animator.

With Celia McBride’s short drama, Last Stop for Miles, we see a rowdy view of life in the Yukon. This is a place where the common rules for behaviour are thrown out the car window with the em pty booze bottle.

Let’s not forget that keeping warm in the winter means the difference between survival and—well—the alternative. Joe Bishop doesn’t hold any punches when he reminds us, in Firewood that the expenditure of energy harvesting wood reaps rewards.

Mary Code offers a different type of animation. In Adaygooay Brought the Caribou Back, she successfully translates a Dene legend from oral tradition into a relatively recent expression of storytelling.

The Yukon is crawling with colourful characters. Rod Jacob portrays one of these larger-than-life characters in Contained Chaos: the Kinetic Art of Philippe LeBlond. This documentary guides us into the fanciful inner world of a bicycle repair man.
The Yukon first opened up to the outside world when gold was discovered in the late 1890’s. Now, a cultural gold rush is sending waves across the country as Yukon artists surge into public consciousness. These works reflect what is unique about this sacred part of Canada, the inner and outer landscape of its people.

 

Dogs in Concert
5 min
Werner Welcher
Ever wondered how northern dogs feel about pulling sleds? This short film is a poetic tribute to sled-dogs and their passion. Werner Welcher’s intimate portrait gains us entry into the dogs’ heads and hearts, revealing a sled dog’s dream.

Picturing a People: George Johnston, Tlingit Photographer
51 min
Carol Geddes
Made by Carol Geddes, Picturing a People is the portrait of a man whose photos captured Tlingit First Nation life before and after the building of the Alaska Highway.

Stone Bruise
4 min
Dan Sokolowski
A surreal trip up the legendary Dempster Highway, north of Dawson City. Linked by a road and a battered windshield, hand processed/tinted 16mm images flow past the viewer in an ever changing mosaic of landscape, form and colour.

Boar Attack
4 min
Jay White
A young German man pines after the loss of his father.

Last Stop for Miles
6 min
Celia MacBride
In a small city north of 60, a woman named January hits the road and the bottle, running from a man and heading nowhere fast. A series of curious events begin to unfold, forcing her to make an unexpected change in plans.

Firewood
5 min
Joe Bishop
Often in the north, where winter temperatures can hover at 50 below, our survival depends on the efficiency of our wood stove. This short documentary celebrates the wood that saves us from freezing.

Adaygooay Brought the Caribou Back
6 min, 2007
Mary Code
Mary Code combines live-action footage with animation to recreate a Sayisi Dene legend told to her by her father. This combination of live action and animation illustrates that ancient legends circle the present like a ghost. New technology has opened storytelling to a contemporary audience.

Contained Chaos: the Kinetic Art of Philippe LeBlond
5 min, 2006
Rod Jacob
Whitehorse bicycle mechanic Phillippe LeBlond spends his spare time designing and building quirky kinetic sculptures out of metal. This short documentary explores the inner workings of sculptures and the artist.