YK filmmakers compete to create Craig Cardiff music video

The chance to make a music video for Craig Cardiff’s new song, Yellowknife, is up for grabs. The catch? You have to do it in 48 hours or less. 

Cardiff, a Juno-nominated Canadian folk musician, released his single on July 10. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, he cannot come up to the NWT to film a video for it. 

The contest, dubbed the Great Yellowknife Music Video Challenge, gives filmmakers a 48-hour time limit to shoot and edit an approximately three-minute video. (It’s similar to an existing annual 48-hour video contest in the NWT, but not the same. That one is coming up in September, organizers said.)


Cardiff told Cabin Radio it would be wrong to create a song about Yellowknife and not have a video that represents the special mix of people from across the country who live here and the warm energy they provide.

“The song is about the place and it should be told by people who have made it their home or just have fun there,” he said.

Jeremy Emerson, executive director of Western Arctic Moving Pictures (Wamp), says the short window requires that filmmakers execute plans quickly and manage their time effectively.

“The short timeline really pushes people to just get creative and use their intuition,” Emerson said. 

The biggest barrier other than time is being flexible with ideas, Emerson added, as new things can pop up while filming that teams may want to incorporate.


Cardiff says he has no idea what to expect but hopes people aren’t afraid to showcase how life truly is for them. 

“I’m excited about what stories people mask and sew and knit over the song,” he said. “The craziness of the timeline will make some beautiful things.”

Emerson hopes the contest can act as an opportunity for emerging filmmakers to have their work seen. There are also cash prizes for the top three teams, while all other submissions will receive $250 in “Wamp Bucks” – which can be redeemed at Wamp for equipment rental and other services.

In exchange, their footage can be used to promote the NWT.


Filmmakers will receive the music and lyrics to the song at 5pm on July 24 and have until 5pm on July 26 to submit their video.

The winning entry will be determined by a national vote starting on July 27.