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Whitehorse, Yukon (February 27, 2023) Available Light Film Festival returned to in-cinema screenings with its biggest lineup yet. This year’s 10-day festival featured 100+ films; 75 screenings; 20+ Guest filmmakers; 20 Online film programs; 15+ Yukon-made films; 14 ALFF Industry Forum events; and 8 ALFF Live Performances.
Attendance of these events included: 4000+ filmgoers, 250+ film streams, 370+ at ALFF Industry events, 200+ at ALFF live performances, and 25+ for the VR experience This is Not a Ceremony.
MADE IN THE NORTH AWARDS
ALFF partnered again this year with Canada Goose whose support makes possible the Made in the North Award. The Award is designed to advance the talent of Black, Indigenous, People of Colour, and LGBTQ2S+ Canadian filmmakers with a focus on those living in northern territories and regions of Canada.
Thirty-four Canadian Filmmakers were eligible for $11,000 in prizes this year. A jury of diverse filmmakers selected the award-winning films in the following three categories:
BEST CANADIAN FEATURE FILM - PRIZE: $5,000
Winner: Rosie, dir. Gail Maurice
Special Mention: Ever Deadly, dir. Chelsea McMullen and Tanya Tagaq
BEST CANADIAN SHORT FILM - PRIZE: $3,000
Winner: Scaring Women at Night, dir. Karimah Zakia Issa
BEST NORTHERN SHORT FILM - PRIZE: $3,000
Winner: Imalijirit, dir. Tim Anaviapik Soucie and Vincent L’Hèrault
AUDIENCE CHOICE AWARDS
Forty-three festival films were eligible for the ALFF Audience Choice Awards. ALFF audiences cast ballots for their favourite films in the following three categories:
BEST CANADIAN DOCUMENTARY
Winner: Doug and the Slugs and Me, dir. Teresa Alfeld
BEST CANADIAN FEATURE FICTION
Winner: Bones of Crows, dir. Marie Clements
BEST INTERNATIONAL FILM
Winners (tie): Pleistocene Park, dir. Luke Griswold-Tergis & Navalny, dir. Daniel Roher
The TOP 15 ALFF AUDIENCE CHOICE films were:
1. Navalny (tied)
1. Pleistocene Park (tied)
2. Bones of Crows
4. Doug and the Slugs and Me
5. Whetu Marama – Bright Star
6. Eternal Spring
7. Framing Agnes
8. Smoking Causes Coughing
9. Voices Across the Water
11. The Ballad of Caveman Bill
14. I Like Movies
15. The Whale
Polaris (dir. Kirsten Carthew), The Ballad of Caveman Bill (dir. David Curtis), The Whale (Darren Aronofsky), Living (Oliver Hermanus), Navalny (Daniel Roher) and Rosie (dir. Gail Maurice) were the best-attended films of the festival. The Yukon-made sci-fi action film, Polaris played to a sold-out house at the Yukon Arts Centre for its Yukon premiere screening and the Yukon-made documentary The Ballad of Caveman Bill played to a sold-out audience at the Yukon Cinema for its Canadian premiere.
The ALFF Pitch Prize was awarded to Robert Joe at the ALFF 2023 Short Film Pitch Event on Sunday February 12. The pitch for Robert’s project Fistful of Vengeance closely won out in a field of six outstanding projects pitched by a diversity of teams from Whitehorse and Dawson City. Robert receives $7500 in cash and $5000 in in-kind support from Northwestel Community TV and the Yukon Film Society.
Bringing people together both in-person and virtually this year, ALFF was still able to facilitate meaningful engagement with filmmakers including but not limited to; Leena Minifie, David Curtis, Katrina Beatty, Carol Geddes, Hayley Gray, Elad Tzadok, Teresa Earle, Fritz Mueller, Teresa Alfeld, Mike McKinlay, Max Fraser, Stacey Tenenbaum and Jason & Masha Loftus.
The festival kicked off the with ALFF Accelerator, an emerging filmmaker mentorship program that 12 filmmakers participated in as part of the ALFF Industry Forum. ALFF Industry sessions were both in-person and virtual this year and were attended by more than 40 emerging and established filmmakers from across Canada. Film and media industry presenters included representatives from the National Screen Institute, Indigenous Screen Office, the National Film Board of Canada, CBC Docs, CBC Comedy and CBC Drama, Documentary Organization of Canada, Hot Docs Film Festival, LevelFilm, Tënke Canada, Crave/Bell Media, Telefilm Canada, Knowledge Network, Out TV, Independent Production Fund, Northwestel Community Television, Yukon Media Development, Dawson City International Short FF, Lofty Sky Entertainment, Calgary Underground and International Film Festivals and the Canada Media Fund.
New this year, our public presenting partner, Telefilm Canada brought eight journalists from Toronto and Yellowknife to Whitehorse to not only cover the film festival but also offer them a taste of Yukon life and visitor experiences over four days. Many of these guests also hosted post-screening Q&As with visiting and local filmmakers and their presence added a rich dimension to this year’s festival and has exposed Available Light to millions of Canadians. Thank you/ shäw nithan to the department of Tourism and Culture, Yukon Government for helping to host the visiting media and Telefilm Canada public relations team during their stay.
“It was exciting for our team to have made such a memorable experience for so many creators, industry delegates, volunteers and audiences alike,” said festival director, Andrew Connors.
The Available Light Film Festival 2023 presenting partners are Canada Goose, Telefilm Canada and the Yukon Film Society. Premier and Major level sponsors include Northwestel Community Television, Air North, What’s Up Yukon, The City of Whitehorse, Canada Media Fund, the Edgewater Hotel, Winterlong Brewing, Driving Force, Yukon Provisions, and Yukonstruct.
The Yukon Film Society acknowledges the annual support of Canada Council for the Arts, Yukon Arts Operating Fund and Yukon Lotteries. The Yukon Film Society acknowledges that it is based on the traditional territory of the Ta’an Kwäch’än Council and the Kwanlin Dün First Nation and that we live, create and benefit within this territory. Shä̀w níthän. Kwä̀nä̀schis. Gunalchîsh.
And a huge mussi cho/ thank you/ shäw nithan to the 50+ volunteers, venue staff, presenting filmmakers and artists, visiting industry delegates, ALFF production team and festival audiences! The 22nd annual Available Light Film Festival will take place from February 8 to 18, 2024 in Whitehorse, Yukon.
For more information please contact:
Festival Director Andrew Connors: firstname.lastname@example.org