Available Light Film Festival 2013 Audience Choice Award and record-breaking attendance
The Yukon Film Society and Yukon Energy Corporation wrapped-up the 2013 Available Light Film Festival (ALFF), Canada’s largest cinematic event North of 60, on Sunday night with the announcement of the winner of the Audience Choice Award before the screening of the closing film of the 2013 festival: the American documentary, Detropia. The 750 ballots cast for the 14 eligible films for the 2013 ALFF Audience Choice Award for best Canadian documentary revealed a tie between two films. Vanishing Point by Stephen Smith and Julia Szucs is a beautiful observational documentary about the cultural and ancestral connections between an Inuit community in Northern Greenland and another on South Baffin Island, Nunavut. Sharing the $1000 cash prize will be Nanaimo-based director, Jonathan Holliff, who’s film My Father and the Man in Black tells the story of a son’s estrangement from his father who was the long-time manager and mentor of country music legend Johnny Cash. The three other Canadian documentaries in the top five audience favourite list were: Sarah Polley’s Stories We Tell, Monty Bassett’s Land of the Chartreuse Moose: The Life and Legacy of (Yukon painter) Ted Harrison, and Nisha Pahuja’s Hot Docs award-winner The World Before Her.
The 11th annual Available Light Film Festival featured 30 screenings of Canadian and International fiction and documentary films at the Yukon Arts Centre, one screening for elementary school children, the 4th annual ALFF Media Industry Forum (Feb 3 - 6), a documentary master class with acclaimed filmmaker, Peter Mettler and the popular Fire Hall Film Talks series. There were 4680 total admissions for 31 screenings this year with an average of 151 people per screening. This is both an attendance record for the festival and a 25% increase in attendance compared to the 2012 and 2011 festivals. Including the Media Industry Forum and the Dawson City screening of The End of Time, total attendance for all 46 Festival and Forum events was more than 5000 admissions. The most popular films by attendance were: Midnight’s Children, My Father and the Man in Black, Inch’ Allah, The People of the Kattawapiskak River, Detropia and Cold Paradise.
This was a very strong year for Yukon content at the festival. Six medium and feature length films by Yukon filmmakers or films about Yukon life, along with one screening of eight short Yukon films, were presented at the festival. Combined attendance for the Yukon screenings was 1150 admissions.
As always, the ALFF Media Industry Forum offered local filmmakers significant opportunities to learn from and network with industry professionals across Canada in an exciting festival atmosphere. The Forum receives support from the Department of Economic Development, through the Yukon Film & Sound Commission’s Film Training Initiatives Program. One of the highlights of this year’s Media Industry Forum was the presentation of Yukon Gold as both a program case-study and in a world premiere screening at the Yukon Arts Centre. This original new series for History Television follows four placer mining crews as they slog through the Yukon’s extremely short mining season trying to strike it rich. Executive producer David Paperny (Paperny Entertainment) first showcased his idea for the television series at the 2012 ALFF Media Industry Forum. This year he returned to present episode one of Yukon Gold. History Television factual-programming commissioning editor, Andrew Johnson, and four placer gold miners featured in the series joined David for the post-screening question and answer session. One hundred people attended the screening.
ALFF 2013 hosted 19 guest directors and industry representatives from across North America for screenings of their work and to participate in Media Industry Forum events. Canadian directors at this year’s festival included Alanis Obomsawin, Andy Keen, Peter Mettler, Monty Bassett, Stephen Smith and Julia Szucs. In addition, the festival hosted industry representatives from Paperny Entertainment, Astral Media’s Harold Greenberg Fund, Super Channel, Canada Media Fund, the National Screen Institute, the National Film Board, History Channel, CBC North, Massey Productions, Landrock Entertainment and Zeros to Heroes over three days of the highly successful Yukon Media Industry Forum.