Yukon

Yukon

Discover the Yukon—from its big cities and rural areas to its small towns and remote communities—through a selection of films that shines a spotlight on the province’s hidden treasures and fascinating characters. Suitable for both primary and secondary level students, this playlist includes animated and documentary films. These seminal works from our collection address the topics that matter most, ranging from historical subjects to the most pressing issues of the day.

  • Sovereign Soil
    2019|1 h 31 min

    Set in the northern wilds surrounding the tiny sub-Arctic town of Dawson City, Yukon, Sovereign Soil is an ode to the beauty of this ferocious, remote land and the wisdom of those who’ve chosen to call it home.

  • Circles
    1997|57 min

    In the Yukon, an innovative program is bringing a traditional form of Aboriginal justice--circle sentencing--to the Canadian justice system. Sentencing circles don't focus on punishment. Instead, they bring together the perpetrator of a crime, his or her victims, and peers and family in an effort to bring healing to the community.

    For many Aboriginal men in the North, going to jail was a natural extension of attending missionary-run schools. Brothers Harold and Phil Gatensby, who have both done their share of jail time, now participate in circles as a way to allow offenders to break the cycle of crime, court and prison. The program works so well that Aboriginals from the Yukon have helped set up similar programs elsewhere in Canada and in the US. The circle is a powerful alternative to prison terms imposed by courts--not only for Aboriginal people in the North but, potentially, for all communities.

  • Being Caribou

    In this feature-length documentary, husband and wife team Karsten Heuer (wildlife biologist) and Leanne Allison (environmentalist) follow a herd of 120,000 caribou on foot across 1500 km of Arctic tundra. In following the herd's migration, the couple hopes to raise awareness of the threats to the caribou's survival. Along the way they brave Arctic weather, icy rivers, hordes of mosquitoes and a very hungry grizzly bear. Dramatic footage and video diaries combine to provide an intimate perspective of an epic expedition.

  • Norma's Story
    campus 2015 | 5 min

    This animated short film is a stylistic and lively story of the profound effect of climate change on the people and wildlife of the Arctic. Northern communities provide authenticity to the story of climate change because they are experiencing its impacts now, not in some distant future.
    Temperature changes, unrivalled anywhere else on the planet, have significantly impacted the wildlife sustaining the Gwich’in First Nation and other northern communities.
    This film tells the true story of Norma, a Gwich’in woman who has experience dramatic changes in her way of life in just a few decades.

  • River of Life
    2007|53 min

    This documentary focuses on the Yukon River Quest, the world's longest annual canoe and kayak race. Athletes come from around the world to test their endurance, racing day and night along 740 km of rugged river shoreline. The film chronicles the experiences of the all-female 2006 Paddlers Abreast team. By following them from the moment they climb into their boat in Whitehorse to the cheers that greet them in Dawson City, the film tells an exhilarating story of a group of women who have faced death and understand how precious life is.

  • Doctor, Lawyer, Indian Chief
    1986|28 min

    A tribute to Indigenous women everywhere, this short documentary focuses on 5 women from across Canada. Of varied ages and backgrounds, they have achieved success in a variety of careers: as the Yukon legislature's first Indigenous woman minister (Margaret Joe), as a deck hand on a fishing boat (Corinne Hunt), as a teacher (Sophie MacLeod), as a lawyer (Roberta Jamieson), and as a band council chief (Sophie May Pierre - St. Mary’s Indian Band of the Ktunaxa Nation off the Ktunaxa Nation).

    Each of these women talks about how she got to where she is today while emphasizing the importance of Indigenous culture - its values, art, and spiritual beliefs - in helping her to develop a sense of self and seeing through rough times, including residential school experiences.

  • Klondike Promises
    2012|42 min

    It’s been over a century since prospectors roamed the Klondike in search of gold. Like Charlie Chaplin and Lucky Luke before her, filmmaker Julie Plourde tracks the modern-day explorers for whom the dream of the gold rush is still alive and well. Réjean Audet is one such person. A tireless prospector, he remains confident and committed—just like the miners of bygone days, who staked everything on the slim hope of striking it rich. His day-to-day adventures bring alive an entire era, to the backdrop of the magnificent Yukon and the vestiges of industry. Combining archival images and the secrets of those who crisscross these coveted lands, Klondike Promises pays tribute to a place of legend with a colourful past. In French with English subtitles.

    This documentary was made as part of the Tremplin program, with the collaboration of Radio-Canada.

  • Shining Mountains - Once and Future Wild
    2005|46 min

    This documentary from the Shining Mountains series focuses on solutions to the conservation issues facing the Rockies. There, business, government and local residents are getting political and joining forces to ensure that the grizzly, the wolf and the caribou remain at home on their range. The film highlights a coalition known as 'Y2Y' - the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative - whose aim to connect wildlife corridors through half a million square miles, with participation from industry stakeholders. From visits with old-time mountain man Andy Russell, to a Kaska-Dene youngster heading out on his first moose hunt, Clarkson takes heart in the wisdom of those who know best what it means to live in harmony with Nature.

  • The Challenge in Old Crow
    2006|54 min

    This documentary focuses on the Yukon's Far North, where 280 Aboriginal people live in the village of Old Crow. Deep in this wilderness, the health of the children is a source of concern—the rise in obesity, diabetes and delinquency rates underscores the extent to which health and social problems are linked. With compassion and insight, this film shows how a handful of parents took control of a situation to ensure a future for their children.

  • City of Gold
    1957|21 min

    This classic short film from Pierre Berton depicts the Klondike gold rush at its peak, when would-be prospectors struggled through harsh conditions to reach the fabled gold fields over 3000 km north of civilization. Using a collection of still photographs, the film juxtaposes the Dawson City at the height of the gold rush with its bustling taverns and dance halls with the more tranquil Dawson City of the present.

  • The Spell of the Yukon
    1996|43 min

    This documentary tells the haunting story of the Klondike Gold Rush in legendary Dawson City. Peppered with Robert Service poems read by New Zealand-born Hollywood actor Russell Crowe, the film recounts how stampedes of fortune seekers came to the Yukon from far and wide in 1897. Less than half of the 100,000 adventurers ever finished the treacherous journey. Archival photographs re-create the saga of the Klondike, including stories from the deadly Chilkoot Pass and Dawson City itself, where fortunes were made and lost overnight. With a personal stake and a sense of wonder, filmmaker Rita Roy discovers a territory still vibrant with legends, and miners still panning for gold under the spell of the harsh yet stunning wilderness.

  • Our Town Faro

    This short film is about the small town of Faro located in the Yukon wilderness. In the 1970s, Faro was poised for success as a mining town but when metal prices plummeted and the mine shut down, the place was destined to become a ghost town. But Murray Hampton, a mining engineer who became the mayor, was determined to bring things back to life.