On The Trail Of The Far Fur Country, Bytowne Cinema May 24th 6:25pm
This is a documentary about a documentary.
In July 1919, a film crew set out on an epic journey across Canada’s North to capture the life of the fur trade for a silent feature-length documentary commissioned by the Hudson’s Bay Company.
For six months, their expedition travelled by icebreaker, canoe, and dog sled, capturing every aspect of the trade as well as extensive footage of daily life in the North. In all, they shot roughly 75,000 feet of film.
The Romance Of The Far Fur Country premiered on May 23, 1920, in Winnipeg, before touring Western Canada and screening in Europe, constituting the first real exposure of most Canadian and European audiences to the reality of Canada’s North and its Aboriginal peoples.
Although well known in its time, within a decade the film disappeared from circulation and from public consciousness. The canisters of film sat undisturbed for nearly eight decades in a British film archive.
In 2011, an effort began to restore the film and bring it back to the communities where it was originally shot.
Nikkel’s new documentary captures a remarkable event: people watching the footage from 1919, seeing images come to life, and recognizing their family members, their landscapes, and their lost traditions. Contrasting the present and the past, On The Trail Of The Far Fur Country is an intimate portrait of Canada and its Aboriginal peoples, and a chronicle of how life in the North has changed in the last century.
Director Kevin Nikkel will be in attendance to introduce his film, and he will be available to answer questions from the audience after the screening. Film website is here.