Cabins, traplines and blood: Yukoners make movie for Dead North festival

A group of Yukoners went into the bush this winter with a snowmobile, a drone camera and a cast iron frying pan. They emerged from the woods with a short film debuting this weekend at the Dead North Film Festival.
A scene from the Whitehorse-produced short horror film Cast iron. (Submitted)

A group of Yukoners went into the bush this winter with a snowmobile, a drone camera and a cast iron frying pan.

It's unknown if there were any survivors — at least in the plot of the short horror film they made called Cast Iron. It's debuting this weekend at the annual Dead North Film Festival in Yellowknife.

The festival gives "all the good people freezing their faces off North of 60" two months — during the winter, of course —  to make a northern-theme horror, sci-fi or fantasy movie. 

Cast Iron is a five-minute flick about a man who runs into trouble on his snowmobile and seeks shelter in the woods.

"He finds himself in pandemonium," says Brett Elliot, who filmed and directed the film. He won't give away many other clues about the plot.

Most of the filming was done over one weekend, in the outdoors of course. Elliot said it was challenging filming a scene at Windy Arm, south of Carcross, which was -15C and... windy. 

'We're all kind of wusses'

Elliot and his friends are new to filmmaking and everyone had more than one role. The crew also didn't have a lot of experience with scary movies, as it turned out.

"None of us — we realized — watch a lot of horror films," says Tara McCarthy, who acted as one of the "cabin girls" and also helped edit the script. "We're all kind of wusses."

She said the spooky film score, composed by team member Greg McLaughlin, helped with the final product. 

"With a totally different score it probably could just seemed like a really goofy movie."

Two of the crew planned to be in Yellowknife this weekend for the film festival. They hope to take home at least one of the 17 awards up for grabs, which include "Best death" and "Best line of dialogue (northern element)." 


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