Arts
South Slave

'Love letter to Fort Smith' wins at NWT's media awards


A South Slave movie based on a Richard Van Camp graphic novel took one of the biggest prizes at the annual awards gala for the NWT's media industry.

Three Feathers was named best narrative short at the NWT Professional Media Association's film and media awards ceremony in Yellowknife on Saturday.

The movie, first screened this time last year to hundreds of South Slave students, follows three young men reconnecting with their culture after they commit a crime and are sentenced.

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Three Feathers is unique in having been shot simultaneously in four languages: English, Cree, Chipewyan, and South Slavey.

"I want to dedicate this film to Fort Smith. This was like Richard Van Camp's love letter to Fort Smith," said director Carla Ulrich as she accepted the award.

"People came out and gave it their all. The majority of our actors had never acted before," she said. "They really came out of their shells, and even the audition process was amazing."

The film and media awards are handed out during the week-long Yellowknife International Film Festival, which concludes on Sunday.

"This is a really special moment for us. This festival is the most important to us," said Ulrich.

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"To prove that," she added, to cheers, "we're screening in Los Angeles right now and we chose to be here."

'Unsung hero' of NWT arts

Pido Productions' Jean-François Pitre was honoured with an "impact in industry" award recognizing his decades of work in NWT audio and video production.

"His efforts are integral and absolutely essential to the projects going on around him. They usually go unrecognized," said film director and NWT Professional Media Association president Jen Walden.

Pitre, often known as Jeff, was described as the "technical backbone behind Folk on the Rocks since the very beginning" and is also longtime president of the Northern Arts and Cultural Centre.

"Jeff is the unsung hero of arts and culture across the NWT," said Walden.

Jean-Francois Pitre speaks at the 2019 NWT Film and Media Awards in Yellowknife

Jean-François Pitre speaks at the 2019 NWT Film and Media Awards in Yellowknife. Ollie Williams/Cabin Radio

Sled Runners, a dog mushing radio documentary produced for German public broadcaster SWR, won the night's best radio/podcast award for producer Janna Graham.

"It's a privilege to try to tell stories here. I feel so welcome – it feels like home – but I'm a visitor," said Graham.

"It's so good that we're working on telling our own stories, because there's so much talent here."

Elsewhere, The Narwhal journalist Weronika Murray picked up best published word for a report on the merging of Indigenous knowledge and Western science. Paddlefest won an award for best commercial, as did the Department of Environment and Natural Resources working with Artless Collective.

An award for best virtual-reality work went to Western Arctic Moving Pictures, better known as Wamp. Angela Gzowski won best published photo, while The Narwhal's Jimmy Thomson won best documentary short for his work entitled An Inuk Comes Home Through Art.

The awards, for which production companies and individuals nominate their own work, are in their second year. This year saw the introduction of an expanded range of award categories.

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