Dawson City filmmaker wins audience award for documentary

Suzanne Crocker's documentary about life off the grid has earned praise at one of Canada's biggest film festivals.

Suzanne Crocker’s documentary about life off the grid has earned praise at one of Canada’s biggest film festivals.

All The Time In The World recently won the audience award for most popular Canadian documentary at the Vancouver International Film Festival.

In the 88-minute film, the Dawsonite filmmaker, her husband and three children spend almost 200 days living in the bush from the fall of 2010 until the spring of 2011.

Their destination was a cabin with no electricity, no running water, no Internet and no television.

It took Crocker about three years to edit more than 500 hours of footage and complete the documentary.

She said she wasn’t sure what kind of reception the film would get because she’d been unable to get any media attention prior to the first screening.

“I thought, ‘Are they going to know about this film?’” she said.

“I was really pleasantly surprised that both screenings were full houses. As the filmmaker I’m sitting in the back row and trying to gauge the audience response.

“They were just totally engaged for the whole film.”

The film, which premiered at the festival, was screened both times at SFU Woodward’s, a venue that holds about 350 people.

Question and answer sessions were very well attended, too.

“Usually the credits come up, people clap and half the audience leaves to attend another screening,” she said.

“But for both our screenings, virtually everyone stayed in their seats.”

She said the applause went through the roof once her family joined her up on stage.

“They make the movie so I was pleased they got the recognition they deserved,” she said.

The audience even gave the family a standing ovation following the second screening, which Crocker described as “totally heartwarming.”

The festival ran for 16 days and featured 349 films from over 70 countries.

The gated attendance exceeded 144,000 this year, a 10 per cent increase from last year and a new record.

One person who enjoyed Crocker’s film so much went out of his way to share his thoughts with the filmmaker.

The man, a projectionist at the festival, approached Crocker following the second screening.

“He’d been screening films all week and his shift was due to end 10 minutes into my film,” she said.

“The film captured him in the first 10 minutes. He watched the whole thing, stayed through the Q&A and waited around to tell me it was his favourite film of the festival.

“It was a really wonderful audience response, which is what you strive for as a filmmaker.”

During one particularly tense scene in the film, a bear challenges Crocker’s husband, Gerard.

Most of the audience actually laughed at the confrontation.

“I think the reaction in the Yukon will be a lot different to that scene,” she said, “because we recognize it’s a challenging situation.”

“It’s a scene that I find quite tense, even when I watch it now, but the audience found it cute.”

When Crocker came back to Dawson City she got an email informing her she’d won the audience award.

Viewers could fill out ballots and rate the films they’d seen.

The film will be coming to Whitehorse for the Available Light Film Festival in February.

It will also screen at the Dawson City International Short Film Festival in April.

Crocker said she’s made efforts to have it screened at other international film festivals, too, and will know more in the near future.

In the meantime, she’s enjoying the fact that the film won an award the first time it was ever presented to the public.

“I better quit now while I’m ahead,” she said with a laugh.

Contact Myles Dolphin at