Lights! Camera! Quiet on the set! The Yorkton Film Festival is proud to be the longest running film festival in North America, and is forging ahead in 2020, albeit in a slightly different way.
In 1947, the Yorkton Film Festival began as a way to distribute National Film Board (NFB) films. The vision of Mr. Jim Lysyshyn was to do this with an international film festival. Work began, and in 1950 the first festival took place.
The iconic Golden Sheaf award has an interesting story. The original award given out by the Yorkton Film Council was a people’s choice certificate of merit voted on by the audience. In 1956, one of the first adjudicators, Frank Moriss of the Winnipeg Free Press, suggested that Yorkton should have a grand prize. The wheat fields surrounding Yorkton inspired the idea for the “Golden Sheaf Awards”. A Winnipeg company produced the first award, made of medal, looked like a bouquet of wheat. In 1970 the current bronze award was designed by Jim Trinder of Yorkton. The Golden Sheaf is a symbol of the Yorkton Film Festival and excellence in Canadian short film. This year, the YFF is pleased to announce that for the first time the award statues are being produced in Saskatchewan, at the Julienne Atelier Foundry in Pense. Our thanks to Phillip Tremblay for producing a fabulous sculpture that honours the tradition and distinction of the Golden Sheaf Awards.
Over time, the Festival has expanded to include workshops for not only students but film-makers, and adjudicators who are industry professionals from across the country judging the entries. Now, in addition to the Festival itself, outreach continues all year, with “Open Cinema” at the Yorkton Public Library, and Golden Sheaf tour outreach programs.
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed many things in the world, but the celebration of creativity and film-making goes on in a new format. Join us on the virtual red carpet! As Randy Goulden, executive director of the Yorkton Film Festival explains, “The Yorkton Film Festival has been showcasing the best in Canadian short film since 1947 and this year on June 18 that tradition will continue. The Golden Sheaf Awards will be a virtual ceremony, carried live on the Access Communication Network, livestreamed on their website. Access Communications will continue to broadcast the GSA ceremony in the fine Saskatchewan tradition as we honor Canadian film and those who create them.”
Randy went on to elaborate on what the viewers can expect to see. “Java Post Production, a Regina commercial and industrial video production, post production company, will continue to produce the YFF showreel and the virtual ceremony. The ceremony will highlight the many Canadian companies and organizations that support the festival along with the 92 nominated films in twenty-nine categories. The Volunteer and Builder Awards will be presented to recognize individuals or groups who have made outstanding contributions to the YFF and the Canadian film industry.”
The Golden Sheaf awards will be presented on Thursday, June 18 at 7:00 PM on Access. Pop the popcorn and tune in! As Randy reminds all interested viewers, “The YFF received 246 films submitted to the Golden Sheaf Awards this year. And most will be available from June 15 to 21 for viewing.”
The Yorkton Film Festival has been bringing film-makers and audiences together for 73 years, and the tradition continues! So, stay well, stay tuned! Action!