A still from Conibear, 2014
A pair of Yellowknife filmmakers are heading to France in the new year, intending to rock some NWT fur as they screen their horror flick Conibear at the world’s most prestigious short film festival.
Jay Bulckaert and Pablo Saravanja of Artless Collective will both attend the Clermont-Ferrand International Film Festival in February, where their 10-minute short about two trappers in the subarctic will play before some of the 100,000 festival attendees.
The film, described by its creators as a beautiful waking nightmare that explores the issues of isolation, brutal temperatures and alcoholism, was one of nine selected by Telefilm’s Not Short on Talent to represent Canada at the festival. There were 150 submissions.
“We are both going to go. We may go broke as a company to do it, but this may be the only time we get to go to something like this,” says Bulckaert. The pair intend to wear fur as a show of support for the North’s traditions and lifestyles. A pervasive anti-fur stand in Europe, along with the European Union’s ban on sealskin imports, has been a long-standing contention for northern Canadians.
“Pablo’s got a sealskin tie and I’m going to be looking for something too, perhaps a (fur) vest or a sealskin bow tie,” says Bulckaert.
Saravanja, who stars in the film along with real-life trapper Andrew Stanley of Hay River, says it’s an amazing opportunity to the put the North on an international stage.
“I can’t wait to see the Artless Collective logo up on a movie screen in France, you know, the black raven with lots of red glowing over an audience of horror aficionados,” says Saravanja.
Shot on a trapline near Hay River when the pair were working on the reality-documentary TV show Fur Harvesters NWT with Stanley, Conibear was created for the Dead North Film Festival, which Artless Collective has been hosting since 2013.
The filmmakers say they are developing a Youtube television show and hopefully a feature film for the new year as part of their attempts to continue building the filmmaking industry in the North.
“We’re gunning for national and international audiences, but from a northern perspective,” says Bulckaert. “We’re sticking around here. We’re going to attempt to put the North on the international stage.”
The Conibear trailer