A screengrab from The Vast Forlorn, a 2015 Yukon based film produced by Reuben Ward. The 16-minute film is about a young drifter who joins a miner’s union and finds out what it really means to pay your dues. The film is free to watch on Available Light On Demand. (Submitted)

Available Light on Demand brings Yukon films to home screens

Four documentaries normally behind paywalls will be free to stream on April 22 and 23

For those of you who like nothing more than snuggling up on the couch with a big bowl of popcorn in front of a screen in these troubled times, the Yukon Film Society has got you covered.

And as an added bonus, your screen time will be helping to support local artists.

The society, in collaboration with the Klondike Institute of Art and Culture, recently finished updating its on-demand streaming website, Available Light on Demand. First launched in October, it now features 21 Yukon-made films, and a 22nd film from a Yukon filmmaker now based in Toronto.

The flicks range from documentaries to thrillers to stop-motion animation, with half of them directed by women as well as a healthy sprinkling of filmmakers from Dawson City.

Conor Curtis, the marketing and distribution coordinator for the Yukon Film Society, said the diversity of the collection in subject, style and filmmaker wasn’t a deliberate choice by curators, but more just a reflection of the film scene in the territory.

“I think that just represents the fact that, you know, there are so many women filmmakers in the Yukon making film, there are so many filmmakers in Dawson making film,” he said.

“I mean, given the size, actually, of the Yukon and of Dawson and Whitehorse, the amount of people doing film and the amount of different stories they’re telling with film I think is just really startling.”

More than half the films on Available Light on Demand are free to stream; Curtis said the Yukon Film Society paid those filmmakers a licensing fee in order to have their work as part of the collection. A handful of the longer movies are for-rent, with 75 per cent of the fee going to the filmmaker, 10 per cent going to the streaming platform, Vimeo, and the society collecting the remaining 15 per cent.

“The notion was that for longer films where there is a paywall, we’d like to see the revenue go back to the filmmaker as much as possible,” Curtis said.

That paywall, though, will be dropping for four documentaries for 48 hours in honour of National Canadian Film Day, on April 22.

Among the films that will be temporarily available for free include Shift, about First Nations youth building world-class mountain biking trails in Carcross; Camera Trap, which follows photographer Peter Mather as he follows the Porcupine caribou herd; All it Gives, which covers the rise of an up-and-coming Toronto hip-hop dancer; and Memory Trap: The Herd that Wouldn’t Disappear, which documents a year in the life of the Forty Mile caribou herd.

Three of the documentaries are being sponsored by local architectural firm Kobayashi and Zedda to ensure the filmmakers still get paid during the free period.

Curtis said he hoped Yukoners, or anyone around the world with an interest in the North and northern filmmaking, would take the opportunity to see what the Available Light on Demand collection has to offer, and that it makes them come back for more.

What makes it stand out from streaming giants like, say, Netflix or YouTube, he said, is the fact that it offers viewers content with a local connection that they might not be able to find anywhere else.

“With any small site like this where you have a film collection, you know, often there’s sort of uniting themes or there’s something that brings all these films together, and in our case it’s locality and the notion that these films are being made by Yukon or northern filmmakers,” Curtis said.

“… The themes perhaps are more wide-ranging in terms of what they’re dealing with but we almost inevitably find those connections to the Yukon.”

That’s not to say that Outsiders can’t or won’t be able to enjoy the collection — Curtis said most, if not all, of the stories have national and international importance as well, and for those unfamiliar with the Yukon, can serve as a peek into life in the North.

“Whether you’re living in Vancouver or whether you’re living in Germany or whether you’re living in the Yukon or you’re living in Newfoundland and Labrador, which is my home province — I mean, I’ve been watching these films and thinking a lot about what the implication of those films would be for my own home and for where I come from, and I think a lot of other people are thinking the same thing and looking at it the same way,” he said.

“… It’s a great chance for people to get insight into that.”

Available Light on Demand is online at availablelight.watch. Shift, Camera Trap, All it Gives and Memory Trap: The Herd that Wouldn’t Disappear are streaming for free on April 22 and 23.

Contact Jackie Hong at jackie.hong@yukon-news.com

Film industry

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Chloe Tatsumi dismounts the balance beam to cap her routine during the Yukon Championships at the Polarettes Gymnastics Club on May 1. (John Tonin/Yukon News)
Gymnasts vie in 2021 Yukon Championships

In a year without competition because of COVID-19, the Polarettes Gymnastics Club hosted its Yukon Championships.

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Yukon Budget 2.0

If the banks that finance the Yukon’s growing debt were the only… Continue reading

Yukon Supreme Court Chief Justice Suzanne Duncan dismissed an application on May 3 seeking more transparity on the territory’s state of emergency declaration. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Supreme Court rules confidential memo can’t be used in challenge of state of emergency

Court upholds cabinet confidentiality after request to use internal government memo as evidence.


Wyatt’s World for May 7, 2021.… Continue reading

The deceased man, found in Lake LaBerge in 2016, had on three layers of clothing, Dakato work boots, and had a sheathed knife on his belt. Photo courtesy Yukon RCMP
RCMP, Coroner’s Office seek public assistance in identifying a deceased man

The Yukon RCMP Historical Case Unit and the Yukon Coroner’s Office are looking for public help to identify a man who was found dead in Lake LaBerge in May 2016.

Yukon Zinc’s Wolverine minesite has created a mess left to taxpayers to clean up, Lewis Rifkind argues. This file shot shows the mine in 2009. (John Thompson/Yukon News file)
Editorial: The cost of the Wolverine minesite

Lewis Rifkind Special to the News The price of a decent wolverine… Continue reading

Letters to the editor.
Today’s mailbox: border opening and Yukon Party texts

Dear Premier Sandy Silver and Dr Hanley, Once again I’m disheartened and… Continue reading

Fire chief Jason Everett (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City launches emergency alert system

The city is calling on residents and visitors to register for Whitehorse Alert

Two young orienteers reach their first checkpoint near Shipyards Park during a Yukon Orienteering Association sprint race May 5. (John Tonin/Yukon News)
Orienteers were back in action for the season’s first race

The Yukon Orienteering Association began its 2021 season with a sprint race beginning at Shipyards.

Whitehorse City Hall (Yukon News file)
City news, briefly

A look at issues discussed by Whitehorse city council at its May 3 meeting and the upcoming 20-minute makeover.

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland met with MP Larry Bagnell and representatives from the Tourism Industry Association via Zoom on May 4. (Facebook)
Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland met with MP Larry Bagnell and representatives from the Tourism Industry Association via Zoom on May 4. (Facebook)
Deputy Prime Minister talks tourism in “virtual visit” to the Yukon

Tourism operators discussed the budget with Freeland

Polarity Brewing is giving people extra incentive to get their COVID vaccine by offering a ‘free beer’ within 24 hours of their first shot. John Tonin/Yukon News
Polarity Brewing giving out ‘free’ beer with first COVID vaccination

Within 24 hours of receiving your first COVID-19 vaccine, Polarity Brewing will give you a beer.

Most Read