Randy Goulden picks some highlights of the 2019 Yorkton Film Festival - Part 1

Randy Picks for the 2019 Festival

Over its 72-year history, the Yorkton Film Festival has received thousands and thousands of films. There have been comedies, dramas and documentaries. There have been animated films for the child and some for the adult. There have been stories of injustice and stories of reconciliation. There’s always been something for everyone. This year is no different. Come to the Gallagher Centre May 24 and 25 and see what we have to offer.

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Here are some of my recommendations.Please, consult the Yorkton Film Festival website for information as to date and time.

                                                                        Randy Goulden, Executive-Director, YFF

 

Animal Behaviour

Every year, the YFF receives a number of excellent submissions in the Animation Category. In the past, we’ve seen the work of Frederic Bach and Torill Kove, both Academy award winners. This year, the animation film of excellence is an NFB production, Animal Behaviour. The work of Alison Snowden and David Fine, it received an Oscar nomination.

Animal Behaviour focuses on a collection of animals who meet for group counselling in the office of canine psychiatrist, Dr. Clement. Group members include Lorraine, the leach; Cheryl, the praying mantis; Todd, the pig; Linda, the cat and Jeffrey, the bird. Somehow, a gorilla gets involved in the zany mix, too.  The film takes a satirical view of human (not animal) behaviour.

(And just in case, you were wondering – this year, the Oscar in the animation category went to Bao, the work of another Canadian filmmaker, Domee Shi of Pixar Studios.)

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Fast Horse

Fast Horse introduces us to four warriors of the Siksika First Nation as they compete at the Calgary Stampede in the extreme sport of Indian Relay.

This year, Fast Horse was accepted into competition at the prestigious Sundance Festival. When filmmaker Alexandra Lazerowich won a Special Jury Prize for Directing, she was truly astonished.

“It’s sort of like wrapping your head around a new reality,” she said during an interview on Windspeaker Radio, Calgary. “I guess these things do happen.”

 

El Toro

This film tells the story of El Toro, a diner once located between Canada Packers and the Union Stockyards in the St. Boniface of the 1960s and 70s. Mr. and Mrs. DeGagné owned the restaurant. At one time or another, all of their eight children worked in the kitchen or up front as servers.

When Danielle Sturk, a grand daughter, heard the tales of El Toro from around the family, she knew she had a story to tell.  But how was she to tell it? There were very few photographs, not even a shot of the diner.   

To resolve the lack, she and her teamcreated images in paper and clay – images that included the restaurant (inside and out), the characters, the cows at the packing plant and the houses of the neighbourhood. They produced miniature replicas of everything – cars, trains, a stray dog, plates of food and even the stool from the restaurant counter.

Creation of the visual material was just the start. To make the film, the team turned to a variety of film techniques: animation, stop-action and re-enactment. The result – a film that is whimsical, engaging and above all, creative.

El Toro screened to sold-out audiences at Gimme the Truth, a Winnipeg film festival. It was accepted at Hot Docs in Toronto. In Yorkton, it is definitely a film to see.

 

 

14 & Muslim

What does it mean to be Muslim and fourteen in a world where the news tells us about attacks on the subway and on mosques in Canada and around the world? This documentary follows young teens as they make the transition from a private Islamic elementary school to public secondary schools and take their first tentative steps towards adulthood.

 

Chasing Monsters: Parkinson’s and the Power of Art

Chasing Monsters is the work of Back Land Studios and Jeana McCabe. The film tells the story of Kevin Whittaker, a man with Lewy Body Dementia. People with this common type of Parkinson’s Disease experience visual hallucinations and loss of memory, language, and reasoning.

After his diagnosis, Whittaker was forced into retirement from his position as judge with the Ontario Superior Court. Depressed and anxious, he took up painting. That’s when his situation began to improve – not to a cure certainly, but  to a place where management of the disease would lead to a better life.

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