In 2020 the Festival program was cancelled, and only the Golden Sheaf Awards ceremonies were held virtually, hosted by Joanne McDonald and George Evans. They were back in May 2021, along with an extensive program of panel sessions, screenings and more. Alas, it was not possible to have the traditional Lobsterfest and skeet shooting, though.
For 74 years the Yorkton Film Festival has been bringing filmmakers and Canadian audiences together, but due to the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, the YFF 2021 festival May 27 to 30 was virtual.
To continue honouring Canadian short film and those who make them, the Golden Sheaf Awards were live-streamed on Thursday May 27 at 7:00 pm Saskatchewan time.
The ceremony was broadcast on AccessNowTV, channel 7 (standard definition) and channel 507 (high definition), and online on the Access website at www.myaccess.ca. See the Golden Sheaf Awards program (best viewed in full-screen mode) or print/download the PDF version.
“I’m pleased to thank our partners Java Post Production and Access Communications Co-operative for the support and assistance with the virtual Golden Sheaf Awards. The tradition continues,” YFF Executive Director Randy Goulden noted. The broadcast showcased the best in Canadian short film and those who make them.
“We are proud to have broadcast the Yorkton Film Festival, showcasing the very best Canadian film makers and content producers on our AccessNowTV community channel across Saskatchewan,” added Tracey Mucha, Community Programming Manager with Access Communications.
Randy Shumay, Partner/Supervising Producer with Java Post Production stated, “The year was a different festival experience, but there was no question the YFF team would find a way to make it happen. The festival has a place in the hearts across Canada and the world. It will go on.”
The Festival board and staff thanked everyone for their patience, encouragement and support as the Festival continued to bring film and audiences together.
Captive was named Best of Festival in 2021.
Six free virtual workshops were held May 25 to 27, 2021, leading to the Golden Sheaf Awards presentations the evening of May 27.
Tuesday May 25
The Art of the Pitch
Through a candid conversation, panelists share their personal experiences and what they have learned making (and taking) pitches as writers/creators, development executives, producers, and production executives.
Erin Mussolum, Chickadee Creative
Robert Hardy, Producer
Pitch O Rama - The Virtual Edition
Test your pitching chops in this fun virtual improv pitching exercise. Spin the wheel to find out your randomly selected topic to pitch our mystery panel of 'broadcasters'. You will have 10 minutes to prepare your five-minute pitch. Our 'broadcasters' will provide valuable and comical advice on how to improve your idea and inspire you for the real thing. Learn how to pitch the fun way!
Note: Teams of more than one must be on the same computer for technical reasons. Costumes welcome!
Moderated by Charlotte Engel, Producer and Broadcaster
Andrew Johnson, Documentary Programmer
Wednesday May 26
Business Affairs, presented by NSI
What are the top 10 business affairs check-list items every production needs? Join us to find out.
Moderated by Ursula Lawson, Manager of Programs and Development, National Screen Institute
Jeff Stecyk, Principle/Executive Producer, Wavelength Entertainment
Steve Allen, Principal/Producer/Director/DOP, Wavelength Entertainment
Joanne McDonald, General Mamanger, Citytv SK, Rogers Sports & Media
View from the Top, presented by SMPIA
A conversation with Valerie Creighton, President and CEO of the Canada Media Fund, and Claude Joli-Coeur, Government Film Commissioner and Chairperson of the National Film Board of Canada.
Moderated by Daniel Cross, Documentary Filmmaker
Valerie Creighton, President and CEO of the Canada Media Fund
Claude Joli-Coeur, Film Commissioner and Chairperson of the National Film Board of Canada
Thursday May 27
Conversations with Telefilm
A candid conversation with Lauren Davis, Interim National Director/Regional Feature Film Executive - Western Region.
Moderated by Leslea Mair, Zoot Pictures
Inclusivity and Diversity
Join Kaya Wheeler as she moderates a candid discussion on the importance of inclusive filmmaking, why appropriation and extractive filmmaking is harmful and how to avoid causing trauma to subjects even when sharing the story of your own community.
Kaya Wheeler, Manager of Programs and Development, National Screen Institute
Drew Hayden Taylor
Join us for our virtual gala as we honour the winners of this year's Golden Sheaf Awards. Registration is not required. This event will be shown live in Saskatchewan on AccessNow TV, and streamed live at www.myaccess.ca.
Those looking for the right partner or buyer for their project had an opportunity to sit down (virtually) with broadcasters, development executives, distributors and executive producers to find out what the industry was looking for.
Following each presentation there was limited time for one-on-one meetings to discuss projects. Priority for the one-on-one sessions was given to Saskatchewan-based film makers.
Jim Krysko, AMI
As the AMI Content Development Specialist for Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, Jim works with external production companies to bring unique documentaries and docu-series to AMI’s national audience. Along with his 10 years at AMI working directly with the disability community, Jim brings with him many years of experience in production and post-production.
Jon Montes, NFB
A producer with the National Film Board’s North West Studio, Jon’s work focuses on social justice, identity, and place. His most recent feature is Tasha Hubbard’s Canadian Screen Award winning nîpawistamâsowin: We Will Stand Up, which opened Hot Docs in 2019 and took home the Best Canadian Feature prize before screening theatrically across Canada and at festivals around the world. Jon also produced Janine Windolph’s poetic short doc Stories Are in Our Bones, the first in a three-film cycle exploring Cree kinship and tradition. Recent shorts include the COVID-19 lockdown projects In the Garden on the Farm (Kristin Catherwood), Jia (Weiye Su), and the Annecy selection June Night (Mike Maryniuk) as well as Talking at Night (Eric Thiessen), To Wake Up the Nakota Language (Louise BigEagle), and Ride (Kristin Catherwood), produced under the Doc Lab Saskatchewan project. A transplanted east coaster, Jon holds an MA in Communication and Culture from York and Ryerson Universities.
Lesley Birchard, CBC Docs and
Michelle McCree, CBC Docs, Passionate Eye
Lesley Birchard, as Executive in Charge of Production for CBC Docs at Canada’s public broadcaster, spearheaded CBC’s digital-first strand CBC Short Docs, commissioning short-form documentary content from emerging filmmakers from across Canada. Under Lesley’s leadership, commissions including Frame 394, Finding Fukue, Fast Horse, Vika and Babe I Hate to Go have resonated with Canadian audiences on CBC Gem and with worldwide audiences on CBC Docs Youtube channel. They have also been celebrated by international festival audiences including the Yorkton Film Festival. For linear television, Lesley has overseen high-impact shows including four seasons of the award-winning comedy series Still Standing, and the feature documentary Gordon Lightfoot: If You Could Read My Mind.
Michelle McCree is Executive In Charge of Production for The Passionate Eye. She is also part of the team leading CBC's equity and representation strategy for the Unscripted Content department. Prior to joining the documentary team, Michelle was a senior leader on the Factual Entertainment team, overseeing a broad range of titles, most recently the docuseries Anyone’s Game and the award winning series Still Standing. Before joining CBC, Michelle worked across genres as a director, writer and producer for a number of broadcasters including Discovery, Blue Ant Media and Independent Film Channel.
Will Dixon, Citytv Saskatchewan, Rogers Sports and Media
Will Dixon has spent the past 3 years as City Saskatchewan’s Program Manager overseeing the development and production of original homegrown programming for the Rogers owned station. Prior to that Will spent 3 years as a Regional Development Executive for the premium pay television network Super Channel. Before that Will worked primarily in TV production spending almost twenty years writing, directing, story editing, and producing series and movies everywhere from Toronto to Vancouver to Montreal to Edmonton to Regina to Los Angeles, including Guitarman, Are You Afraid of the Dark?, Psi Factor: Chronicles of the Paranormal, Earth: Final Conflict, and The Outer Limits.
Andrew Johnson, Corus History
Johnson helps develop and commission factual and documentary programming for Corus channels HISTORY and Global. He has overseen current and recent programs like Rust Valley Restorers, Backroad Truckers, Big Timber, Cheating Hitler: Surviving the Holocaust, Fight to the Finish, History Erased, D-Day in 14 Stories, 100 Days to Victory, Border Security, Hunting Nazi Treasure, Yukon Gold, Real Vikings, War Story and Ice Pilots. Previously, he was Commissioning Editor of the CBC Newsworld doc series The Lens and Rough Cuts and Senior Producer of The Passionate Eye. He began his career in independent production and has won numerous prizes as a Producer and Director, including a Peabody Award and several Geminis, as well as Banff Rockie and International Emmy nominations.
Lauren Whitelaw, OutTV
Lauren is the Head of Programming for OUTtv, currently in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, UK, Ireland and the USA. With services in multiple territories, she has successfully negotiated contracts with companies worldwide. Lauren recently joined the development team at the network and continues to work closely with producers globally to find the best LGBTQ+ programming.
Before joining OUTtv in 2006, Lauren helped launched the service PrideVision TV in 2001. Prior to 2001, she worked for companies including The Movie Network, CBC, and Vision TV. In 2016, for OUTtv, Lauren co-created the OUTtv Original series Knock Knock Ghost which went on to have two nominations for a Canadian Screen Award in the category of Best Reality Series.
Melanie Le Phan, CBC Digital Executive In Charge of Production
Mélanie Lê Phan has worked for CBC Television in both Scripted and Unscripted programming since 2013. She is currently an Executive in Charge of Production for YA Digital Originals for CBC, overseeing production and development of digital series for CBC Gem. She has recently worked on R.T. Thorne's series Utopia Falls, CBC Kids youth series Detention Adventure, Supinder Wraich's drama The 410, CANNESERIES selected Warigami and International Emmy-nominated How to Buy A Baby. Mélanie is also really passionate about documentary content and has worked on the doc series Farm Crime as well as several CBC Docs: Shorts, including Hot Docs Audience Choice winner Nancy's Workshop by Aïcha Diop and Lisa Rideout's One Leg In One Leg Out. Québeco-vietnamese and raised in Ottawa, Mélanie studied Film Production at UBC and has previously chaired the board of the Images Festival in Toronto.
Tina Apostolopoulos, Bell Media
Tina Apostolopoulos is a Production Executive, Factual and Reality on Bell Media’s Original Programming team. In this role, Tina works with Canadian production companies on the development and production of various original unscripted series and documentaries for Bell Media’s family of channels and platforms including CTV, Crave, Bravo, and Gusto. Currently, Tina is production executive on CTV’s hit series Masterchef Canada and Mary's Kitchen Crush. She is also an executive on a variety of feature documentary programming for Crave. Prior to joining Bell Media, Tina was an independent director/producer for a number of award-winning highly-rated reality and factual entertainment series such as So You Think You Can Dance Canada (CTV), Canadian Idol (CTV), and Project Runway Canada (Global).
A wide variety of films entered in YFF 2021 were available for free viewing online from May 27 to 30 following the 2021 Festival.
A wide variety of films entered in YFF 2021 were available for viewing from May 27 to 30.
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