Exploring the Arctic Circle with the Kamloops Film Festival

Devery Jacobs, who plays Lia (left) and Duane Howard, who performs Alfred’s character (right). |
PHOTO KIRSTEN CARTHEW

Through the twenty-two films at the 2017 Kamloops Film Festival, movie-goers will experience a broad range of genres from a vast number of international and
Canadian filmmakers.

For those who crave cinematic adventure, The Sun at Midnight promises to be an unmissable experience.

Lia, a teenage urbanite reeling from her mother’s death, is sent to a remote Subarctic area to live with her grandmother of the Gwich’in Nation, who live mainly above the Arctic Circle. Refusing to accept her new living conditions, she sets off to seek the nearest town but gets lost in the wilderness. Found by Alfred, a Gwich’in hunter in search of Caribou, an unlikely friendship is formed and ultimately tested. When he is critically injured by a bear, Lia is forced to gather strength and forge on in the wilderness.

Kirsten Carthew, writer, director, and producer of the film wanted to create a coming of age story that drew from her personal narrative, but also to produce an adventure story that captured her experience of growing up in the North. Filming took place throughout the Northwest Territories and the Arctic Circle on Gwich’in traditional lands; weather conditions often made filming a challenge, and made the scenery rich with color and mood.

“The landscape is magnificent and epic, and is featured prominently throughout the character’s journey,” Carthew said.

Described by Carthew as a “full circle experience,” Midnight premiered in Fort McPherson where they filmed many scenes that included locals.

“It’s a great feeling to create a story in your home territory and share it with your family, friends and film enthusiasts.”

The movie will be shown as part of the film festival in March.

Carthew credited the support and co-operation of the Gwich’in Tribal Council and the collaborative efforts that heightened the film’s authenticity. There was “a lot of mind-share in the creative process,” Carthew noted.

“It’s a universal story, with very specific cultural details,” but one that appeals to a wide variety of audiences.

Before coming to Kamloops, Carthew attended film festivals in Whitehorse and Berlin.

“It’s such a gift to share it with new audiences, all you can hope is that it resonates.”
The Kamloops Film Festival runs from March 2 to 11. The Sun at Midnight plays Saturday, March 4 at 7 p.m., a Q & A with Carthew and lead actress Devery Jacobs will follow.

For the full film and event schedule refer to kamloopsfilmfest.ca or follow their social media for up to the minute information.

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