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Filmmakers wanted to blow off steam, maybe fueled by the music films, or just the usual opening night jitters, but most made the effort to sample every one of the Yukon's unique brands of ales. Omar Majeed. Philip Lyall, Nimisha Mukerji and others went out mushing for another thrill of the north. Omar's dog team got the best of him on one turn and his sled ended up assaulting a tree, leaving the director hobbling for day afterward.
Others, like Newfoundland's Sherry White, director of Crackie took in a day of skiing before presenting her film. White worked for the Maritimes' biggest export, Mary Walsh, as her script assistant on a TV series. The job proved a bit daunting since Mary didn't know how to use a computer. When White completed her own script, she knew no one else could play the role of the tough-talking, dump-scavenging, part-time hooker grandmother but dear Mary. However, White worried that since this was her first film, “I didn't know if she would take direction from me. As it turned out, she only got sassy with me a couple of times.” If you're wondering, the film is not about addicts. A crackie is what a mixed breed dog is called in Newfoundland.
Vancouver's most prolific feature director, Carl Bessai, gave a full day's workshop on directing actors, (and he has worked with virtually all of the West's best talent) as well as participating in a panel on film distribution. His reality check for filmmakers: “You know you will take anything, or any deal, to get your film made. As a filmmaker you are driven, like an addict, to get what you need.” Bessai may find himself driven – even further north to Dawson City, where host Lulu Keating, herself a resident filmmaker, insists Carl will realize that the historic former gold rush community is the perfect location for a future project. Bessai has made ten features so far, often named for their protagonists – Johnny, Lola, Emile, and the recent Cole. Surely there's potential for a Lulu?