“Epic” city council teaser goes viral

A suspenseful, fast-paced instrumental plays. Close ups of a microphone, a semi-circular table and Whitehorse’s city crest flash across the screen. The door opens, and the fire chief, city manager and mayor walk in… slowly, intently, stoically.

A suspenseful, fast-paced instrumental plays. Close ups of a microphone, a semi-circular table and Whitehorse’s city crest flash across the screen. The door opens, and the fire chief, city manager and mayor walk in… slowly, intently, stoically.

Around 24 seconds in, the music halts. It’s the climax. Mayor Dan Curtis says, “We’re fortunate enough to give your museum $15,000 for the spring rec grant.”

Northwestel’s latest commercial for city council meetings has gone viral. Posted on YouTube a week ago, the video has received 76,419 hits as of Monday morning.


RELATED: Click here to view video.


The team behind the video never anticipated it would explode on the Internet. “We were just trying to get eyeballs on the channel,” said David Hamelin, who shot and edited the video.

It was his boss, Northwestel’s community TV manager, Chris McNutt, who came up with the idea. Around two years ago, he thought of taking some of the city’s dry subject matter and turning it into “over-the-top exciting.”

The irony was definitely appreciated by all the eyeballs that have since landed on it, including the mayor. “I don’t think we take ourselves very seriously but looks it like we’re making decisions for the ‘free world,’” Curtis said, chuckling.

The National Post, Toronto Star, MSN, and Huffington Post published news pieces on the video sensation. Even the Chicago Sun Times and Washington Post picked it up, garnering the video international attention. “This is the best ad for a city council you’ll see today. Or maybe ever,” reads the Washington Post headline.

Andrew Coyne, a political columnist with the National Post, was probably one of the main instigators of the video’s viral success, said McNutt. He tweeted the trailer as promoting “the best 3 hrs on TV.”

The video seems like an ode to a legal drama TV series such as CSI. Its music rivals the sound track of the hit period fantasy Game of Thrones.

“I make my own short films so I’m a big cinephile. So when this idea of making a fake trailer came up, I knew exactly what to do,” said Hamelin.

To give the video an “epic feeling,” the 31-year old filmmaker knew he needed close-ups and slow motion. He filmed city council with his summer intern, Alex Chan.

It took only four hours to edit, Hamelin said. “Had I known it was going to be this really big thing, I would have put more effort into colour-correcting,” he said.

Everything just fell into place after he found the video’s sound track, Hamelin said. He bought the music for $17 on a royalty-free website, AudioJungle.net.

Hamelin studied film at Langara College in Vancouver and moved back to Whitehorse in the hopes of jumpstarting his career as a director.

He and co-filmmaker Neil Macdonald formed White Hole Productions, which specializes in “genre content” in 2003, according to their Vimeo site. One can find nine short films on the site that the aspiring filmmakers made, including music videos and short film noir mysteries.

With support from the Yukon Film and Sound commission, Hamelin and Macdonald hope to launch a feature-length version of their zombie film, Fragments.

Considering the pair’s most popular video has 500 hits, Hamelin giggles at the thought of the commercial for city council being their big break.

So what’s next? Hollywood? “Yes, that’s the dream.”

Contact Krystle Alarcon at krystlea@yukon-news.com

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

Just Posted

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: The K-shaped economic recovery and what Yukoners can do about it

It looks like COVID-19 will play the role of Grinch this holiday… Continue reading

Jodie Gibson has been named the 2020 Prospector of the Year by the Yukon Prospectors Association. (Submitted)
Jodie Gibson named 2020 Prospector of the Year

Annual award handed out by the Yukon Prospector’s Association

A number 55 is lit in honour of Travis Adams, who died earlier this year, at the Winter Wonderland Walk at Meadow Lakes Golf Club in Whitehorse on Nov. 24. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
A new take on holiday traditions

Winter Wonderland Walk, virtual Stories with Santa all part of 2020 festive events in Whitehorse

Eric Schroff, executive director with the Yukon Fish and Game Association, poses for a portrait on Feb. 20. Schroff says he is puzzled as to why the Yukon government is cutting back on funding for the association. (Jackie Hong/Yukon News file)
YG cuts Yukon Fish and Game Association funding, tried to vet outgoing communications

Yukon Fish and Game Association says 25 per cent government funding cut will impact operations


Wyatt’s World for Nov. 27, 2020

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

The Government of Yukon Main Administration Building in Whitehorse on Aug. 21. The Canada Border Services Agency announced Nov. 26 that they have laid charges against six people, including one Government of Yukon employee, connected to immigration fraud that involved forged Yukon government documents. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Charges laid in immigration fraud scheme, warrant out for former Yukon government employee

Permanent residency applications were submitted with fake Yukon government documents

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Karen Wenkebach has been appointed as a judge for the Yukon Supreme Court. (Yukon News file)
New justice appointed

Karen Wenckebach has been appointed as a judge for the Supreme Court… Continue reading

Catherine Constable, the city’s manager of legislative services, speaks at a council and senior management (CASM) meeting about CASM policy in Whitehorse on June 13, 2019. Constable highlighted research showing many municipalities require a lengthy notice period before a delegate can be added to the agenda of a council meeting. Under the current Whitehorse procedures bylaw, residents wanting to register as delegates are asked to do so by 11 a.m. on the Friday ahead of the council meeting. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Changes continue to be contemplated for procedures bylaw

Registration deadline may be altered for delegates

Cody Pederson of the CA Storm walks around LJ’s Sabres player Clay Plume during the ‘A’ division final of the 2019 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament. The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28 in Whitehorse next year, was officially cancelled on Nov. 24 in a press release from organizers. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News file)
2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament cancelled

The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28… Continue reading

Lev Dolgachov/123rf
The Yukon’s Information and Privacy Commissioner stressed the need to safeguard personal information while shopping this holiday season in a press release on Nov. 24.
Information and Privacy Commissioner issues reminder about shopping

The Yukon’s Information and Privacy Commissioner Diane McLeod-McKay stressed the need to… Continue reading

Most Read