“Warning: The following program was made under northern lights, accompanied by strange delights.”
So begins the trailer for new TV series Rated N, premiering on Northwestel’s community channel in July.
Directed and produced by Jay Bulckaert and Pablo Saravanja – founders of the Dead North film festival and Artless Collective production house – the show offers a deeper look behind the scenes of the festival’s most unique films.
“It’s really just been a labour of love in-house between Pablo and myself,” Bulckaert told Cabin Radio.
“We wanted to find a way to celebrate and give an extra life to the films that people put so much hard work into.”
Since the festival started in 2012, Bulckaert said people across the circumpolar North have submitted 220 short films. However, few get seen outside the annual festival in Yellowknife.
Each episode of Rated N will feature two Dead North films plus interviews with the filmmakers about their love for horror, sci-fi, and fantasy – and what it takes to make a film in Canada’s northern winter, where temperatures can drop below -40C.
“That’s just a normal thing to have happen up here, but it actually is quite a unique thing what we do,” Bulckaert said. “Every time we invite a major producer or another film festival director from down south and they find out what we do up here, their minds are blown.”
So far, Bulckaert said, the production team has worked on three episodes. He has no doubt the series will grow.
“I think there really is something about this that will be special and really kind of intriguing,” he said.
The first two episodes feature films that deal with isolation, something familiar to audiences during a global pandemic. Bulckaert said future episodes will aim to showcase the diversity of northern filmmakers.
“We’re going to try to create a high water mark for what has been created and make sure that’s known out in the world – that Dead North perpetuates good stuff,” he said.
Rated N premieres on July 3 on Northwestel Community TV (channel 209). It will appear on Artless Collective’s YouTube channel shortly afterward.