An independent Inuit filmmaker is the creator behind the new music video for Craig Cardiff’s song, Yellowknife.
Cardiff couldn’t travel to Yellowknife himself to film a music video because of the pandemic, so he teamed up with Western Arctic Moving Pictures to give local filmmakers the opportunity to create one through the Great Yellowknife Music Video Challenge.
Benjamin McGregor, the winner, was among a number of northern filmmakers that competed in the online contest to create the video for the Juno-nominated folk artist’s latest single.
McGregor grew up in the NWT capital and completed the video while home for the summer from his studies at Capilano University’s School of Motion Picture Arts in North Vancouver.
“I was pretty surprised but very happy,” he said of his video garnering the most votes online. “It was nice to see the support for [it] the whole way through.”
McGregor shot and edited the video within 48 hours – one of the requirements of the music video challenge. He said he wanted to capture what he would usually do on a summer weekend in Yellowknife.
“I wanted to make a video essentially for my friends because that’s what I see when I come back up here. So I’m pretty happy it turned out,” he said.
“We just had fun.”
The video takes viewers through scenes familiar to many Yellowknifers, from kids playing at the government dock in Old Town to a basketball game outside Mildred Hall School, a walk down the Frame Lake Trail, and skateboarders outside the Capitol Theatre.
McGregor said he hopes the video will challenge misconceptions about the North and show what Yellowknife is really like.
“People down south have no idea this exists. Like they just assume it’s snow, and polar bears, and igloos and stuff like that, but it’s so much more than that. So I hope people can see that,” he said.
“There’s a lot of … unnoticed qualities that a lot of people here really like and that’s why they live here.”
Craig Cardiff said he likes that McGregor’s video challenges perceptions about the North.
“People have this idea of the North as remote, rugged, and not the day-to-day living. I thought that some of the activities or views felt like what you would see walking around Old Town or connecting within a community,” he said.
Cardiff wrote Yellowknife for his upcoming album, titled All the Time Running, over the past year and completed it while in quarantine. He said he was inspired by his visits to Yellowknife to play shows and do workshops in schools over the past decade.
“It’s like this place full of characters and that’s where it kind-of started,” he said.
“I hope people connect with it or people can put their own story into it.”
“I loved all of them,” he said of the submissions. “Like, not in a million years would I have come up with some of the ideas and also the shots.
“Giving up some of that creative control, I feel, made it a better end result.”
Cardiff said he hopes the song and video will pique people’s curiosity about the North and inspire them to visit once they are able to travel again.
“Yellowknife is for me like a rare place, like magic.”