Yukon-made films screen at Available Light Film Festival

After nearly two decades of work, artist Celia McBride has taken her story from paper to the big screen. Suzanne Crocker is also a first time filmmaker, whose documentary All the Time in the World sold out the Yukon Arts Centre at the Available Light Film Festival.

Micro-budget feature films shot with local cast and crew

Yukon filmmaker Suzanne Crocker switched careers from rural family physician to filmmaker in 2009. Her award winning documentary 'All the Time in the World' was a hit at its Yukon premiere during the 2015 Available Light Film Festival. (allthetimeintheworld.ca)

There wasn't a vacant seat in the house when Suzanne Crocker's film made its Yukon debut at the Yukon Arts Centre during the 2015 Available Light Film Festival — there were even people standing in the lobby watching on small screen TVs. 

"I thought this was going to be the toughest crowd," Crocker told CBC's Leonard Linklater on Midday Cafe this week.

The Dawson City filmmaker's first feature is called All the Time in the World. In it, Crocker documents the experience of her family of five as they leave the comforts of home to live remotely in the Yukon wilderness for nine months. 

"It has screened down south really well but of course the concept of living in the bush down south is a real novelty and even just that in itself attracts people's attention," she said.

"Here in the Yukon living in the bush is pretty common knowledge. I was a bit worried about showing it to the Yukon audience for that reason but they loved it."

Crocker's documentary has already won several awards including Most Popular Canadian Documentary at the 2014 Vancouver International Film Festival. It's scheduled to tour the festival circuit this year in various Canadian cities including a hometown debut in Dawson City this April. 

Feature drama — a community effort 

Another local feature debuts this weekend. Yukon filmmaker Celia McBride's long-awaited Last Stop For Miles premieres at the Available Light Film Festival Saturday.

"It's been a long haul," says Yukon filmmaker Celia McBride. She has been working on her film 'Last Stop For Miles' for almost 20 years. It premieres Saturday at the Yukon Arts Centre. (celiamcbride.com)

This is her first feature film and it's been years in the making.

"It's been a long haul," McBride told CBC Yukon's Dave White on Airplay. 

The project began as a play she wrote at the National Theatre School of Canada in 1993. 

"Someone at the time thought it would make a great film and that really planted the seed," she said.

Years later, she started work on the screenplay. Over the last decade she's worked on several short versions of the film before finally beginning the feature-length film. She calls the final work a community art project.

The story follows a character named January who witnesses the brutal murder of her friend, eventually returning to the city of the tragedy, Whitehorse, to reconcile what happened.

"We shot it in the summer of 2012 in Whitehorse with local actors, local crew — a crew of three," she said.

"We shot it in 15 furious days and well, it's 2015 now and you're just going to be seeing it this weekend."

She said it took two and a half years to complete edit and complete production on the the film.

"The reason it took so long is because people were really doing it for love of the project," she said.

"It was nobody's full-time job; a lot of volunteer work. It's a story about healing and I hope that it has a healing effect on people as well."

The Available Light Film Festival concludes Feb. 16.

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