The Festival began in 1947 as the Yorkton Film Council. Its mandate was to act as a volunteer distribution agency for the National Film Board (NFB). Jim Lysyshyn, field man for the NFB, suggested a film festival. When the Council rejected his proposal, he came forward with a more audacious proposal – an international festival.
The Council accepted the new idea and organized the first festival in the fall of 1950. Throughout the 1950s, the festival was a huge success with as many as 4,000 people at the screenings, this at a time when the population of Yorkton was only 8,000.
The festival has undergone many changes in its history, but can still claim to be the longest continuous film festival in North America. In its current form the festival continues to be dedicated to the promotion of the best screen-based media content through our annual film festival and Golden Sheaf Awards competition.
In addition to the annual event, the festival is dedicated to the promotion of short video content through our year-round screening and tour outreach programs.
A film by a Canadian journalist about girls who were held hostage by a terrorist organization in Nigeria was named Best of Festival at the 2021 Yorkton Film Festival award ceremonies.
Captive, directed by Mellissa Fung, was also the winner in four other categories: Documentary Social/Political, Emerging Filmmaker, Research, and Mental Health. (Photo credit: CBC.ca)
The Ruth Shaw Best of Saskatchewan Award was presented to the documentary series Flat Out Food: ohtâpamihowin. It is a six-episode documentary series that traces unique Saskatchewan ingredients from the field (or forest) to the plate and features engaging discussions about Indigenous cuisine.
The awards ceremonies were again held online, as were workshops, presentations and screenings associated with the festival.
“We had an absolutely wonderful collection of films this year, and we’re so excited that we’re able to recognize the work that is being done by Canadian content creators through these awards,” YFF Executive Director Randy Goulden stated.
“Our awards have a great national reputation, and for many filmmakers a Golden Sheaf is often the first award they might have won, which certainly helps them in building future projects and gaining recognition without our cultural industry.”
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