The Yorkton Film Festival handed out its annual awards Thursday with a virtual presentation show.
When it came time for the prestigious Ruth Shaw Award (Best of Saskatchewan) Golden Sheaf it went to the documentary series Flat Out Food: ohtâpamihowin.
Flat Out Food 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.
Yorkton This week was able to connect with series producer/director Adrian Halter for some reaction to the Golden Sheaf, and for some insights on the series.
“I was incredibly excited and overjoyed, there were so many great projects that were nominated that it was really special to win,” Halter told YTW.
“This was my third nomination at the YFF but my first win.
“It was unfortunate we couldn't be there in person but the live streamed event was great and I was able to watch the awards with my family.”
But, what does an award like this mean in terms of series promotion?
“This award is huge,” offered Halter. “It means so much for people in the filmmaking community in Saskatchewan but also in Canada. You can tell how big of a deal YFF is when you see projects entered from across Canada.
“This will only help get more recognition for our series - which is gearing up for a second season this summer.”
And of course there is an element of the award which reflects on the individuals involved too.
“For myself and Jenn (Sharp author of Flat Out Delicious) this is great recognition and a true honour. Anytime you can add ‘award winner’ as a producer for a project, it is really special.”
The series has been well-received beyond the YFF too.
“The reaction we have received has been fantastic,” said Halter.” The feedback here in Saskatchewan has been amazing but we've also had people reach out from across Canada and the U.S. who have said how much they've enjoyed the show.”
The series actually grew out of an idea for a smaller, more focused film.
“I first had the idea a few years ago for a documentary series about food where each episode focused on one ingredient,” said Halter.
“The idea then sat on the shelf until I met Jenn Sharp. She was working on a book about all these great Saskatchewan restaurants, chefs, farmers, and artisans. We began working on another project together before deciding to blend our ideas together.
“From there we shot a demo in 2019 and used that to pitch the series, which was greenlit in 2020.”
So why was the series such a good idea.
“I loved the idea of focusing on one ingredient but it was the personal stories featured in Jenn's book that made me think we could turn this into a really compelling documentary series,” said Halter.
Asked what his favourite episode was, Halter was not picking one from among six.
“I can't pick a favourite,” he said.
“The episode that was entered was ohtâpamihowin and it focused on traditional Indigenous foods along with the topic of racism and how food and culture need to be shared to bring people together.”
The other episodes look at wheat, lentils, honey, beef, and chanterelles.
“I love them all for very different reasons and everyone should go check them out,” said Halter.
Readers can go to citytv.com to stream all the episodes of Flat Out Food and watch some additional content.
“It's all available free to residents in Saskatchewan, all they need is an internet connection,” said Halter.
The good news for all involved is that there will be more shows to come.
“The second season moves into pre-production this June with the season likely airing in early 2022,” said Halter.