On October 29, 2021, Indigenous Arts at Banff Centre hosted a special Halloween screening of some of the best films from the Dead North Film Festival's archives.
Dead North was created in 2012 by Jay Bulckaert and Pablo Saravanja as a rallying cry for Northern filmmakers to take their rightful place on the world's cinematic stage. Organized as a filmmaking challenge where teams had 9 weeks to write, produce and edit films that were shot during the darkest most brutal months of winter, it caught on like raging boreal wildfire. From 2012 to 2020, 240 films were created and screened to sold out fans with a rabid taste for the wild, weird and all things Northern. Many films went on to screen at major festivals worldwide like ImagineNative, Cannes, Fantasia, Clermont-Ferrand and many more, putting Northern genre filmmaking in the minds and hearts of the industry worldwide. Nearly half of the films produced over the years were made by, or in collaboration with Indigenous filmmakers and those films remain some of the most poignant, entertaining and visionary films of the festival.
Following the films, Banff Centre's Director of Indigenous Arts, Reneltta Arluk, sat down with Mandee McDonald to discuss all things Dead North.
Mandee McDonald is a Maskîkow-iskwew from Mántéwisipihk residing in Somba K’e, Denendeh. She has a M.A. in Indigenous Governance from the University of Victoria, and is the current Managing Director of Dene Nahjo. Mandee has over five years of land-based program management experience, and has been learning to tan hides since 2011.