The Yukon Theatre in Whitehorse Nov. 23. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)

The Yukon Theatre in Whitehorse Nov. 23. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)

Yukon Theatre reopening Dec. 10

Yukon 48 Film Challenge, Dune will be featured in evening shows

The Dec. 10 reopening of the Yukon Theatre will live up to the venue’s name with the work of Yukon filmmakers being featured on the big screen.

As the Yukon Film Society opens the theatre doors to the public for the first time since early 2020, the first screening will be for the 2021 Yukon 48 Film Challenge.

The challenge, presented by the Klondike Institute of Art & Culture (KIAC), invited participants to produce a film in 48 hours using a surprise prop.

The 2021 edition features 36 entries with jury award winners to be recognized at the Dec. 10 screening. The fate of the audience choice award will rest with viewers, including those who take in the Dec. 10 screening.

“Reopening the Yukon Theatre with a Yukon 48 screening is special,“ Andrew Connors, the film society’s artistic director, said. “The screening is a chance to enjoy local emerging and veteran filmmakers, alike, and celebrate our growing, diverse community across the territory.”

The much-anticipated reopening will start at 6 p.m. with remarks from the territory’s Minister of Economic Development Ranj Pillai.

The Yukon government is providing the society with $35,000 towards operations and renovations at the theatre, which first opened in 1954.

Following the 6 p.m. screening featuring Yukon talent, the theatre will move to Hollywood fare with Denis Villeneuve’s Dune at 9 p.m.

Screenings of Dune will continue until Dec. 19. It will be followed by Spencer, House of Gucci, Sing 2 and The Humans.

Tickets will be available at the door or at

The website also features a schedule for screenings to Dec. 16 with future showings to be added.

The theatre, which was previously owned by Landmark (along with the Qwanlin Cinema on Fourth Avenue), shut in early 2020 due to COVID-19 with Landmark eventually selling both of its Whitehorse theatres.

The Yukon Film Society had been looking at the possibility of operating the theatre prior to the sale, but was not in a position to purchase it. Talks with the landlord led to a deal that will see the society lease it initially for a five-month period with the possibility of a longer 11-year lease if all goes well.

Since taking over the theatre, the film society has been working to get the space ready for audiences. That work has seen carpets and chairs cleaned, lighting fixed, broken chairs in Cinema 1 (which will serve as the operating theatre) replaced with functioning chairs from Cinema 2 and more.

Should the theatre operate long-term, the film society is proposing to take out the wall between the two cinemas with a larger screen to be installed along with a stage that would accommodate live performances and presentations.

An energy retrofit, accessibility improvements and new seating are also part of the plans with other spaces to be used as an office, for workshops and more by the film society.

The vision would see the theatre functioning as a downtown arts hub focused primarily on film with both art house and Hollywood screenings in addition to workshops, tutorial spaces and more.

In a statement, the society offered its thanks to many “who have helped CLEAN, FIX and support the re-opening of the Yukon Theatre.”

Contact Stephanie Waddell at