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Finalist for Ruth Shaw Award (Best of Saskatchewan) Golden Sheaf

Yorkton Film Festival May 26-29
Sask Film The great vaccine race VHD_Promo STILL_5_Dr. Darryl Falzarano_VIDO
Dr. Darryl Falzarano at VIDO.

YORKTON - Out of the COVID-19 pandemic comes the film Inside the Great Vaccine Race a finalist for a major award at the Yorkton Film Festival. 

The film is one of five finalists for the Ruth Shaw Award (Best of Saskatchewan), which co-producer Dugald Maudsley said is great for the film. 

“It’s always wonderful to have your film recognized,” he said in a recent interview with Yorkton This Week, adding it is so gratifying because as a filmmaker “you put a lot of work into it.” 

That the recognition comes from the YFF simply makes it better “because it has such a long history and pedigree to it,” said Maudsley. “It’s very prestigious.” 

It is because the festival is so well respected they look to enter film whenever possible, said Maudsley. 

“We always try to get our film into Yorkton,” he said, adding that most recently they won the Documentary Point of View (POV) Golden Sheaf Award presented by Canada Media Fund at the 2021 festival for Clydesdale: Saving The Greatest Horse.  

Having Golden Sheaf nominations and wins to their credit is always a positive trying to attract broadcasters for current films, and financing for a next film, said Maudsley. 

While noting “a lot of elements go into a film,” including having a good story and good crew, awards help too, he said. 

As for Inside the Great Vaccine Race it really is a production born out of the pandemic. 

“We were actually making another film at the time about climate change, but it ground to a halt, (as things shutdown due to the pandemic),” said Maudsley. 

But the crew quickly realized that the pandemic and its impact was a historically event, and as filmmakers they realized they could film it as it happened. 

“We realized we should try to capture it,” he said, adding the project was still “kind of rolling the dice.” 

The approach they settled on was to focus on the race of science to formulate a vaccine, said Maudsley. 

Of course there were hurdles to the project, beginning with gaining access to labs where they weren’t getting in the way while filming, but could still capture the story. 

And, it was a story with a worldwide view. The film focuses on four projects; one in Germany, another in China, a third in the United Kingdom and locally VIDO-InterVac in Saskatoon.  

But with a pandemic going on film crews and the people behind the film weren’t traveling, so director P.J. Naworynski was working remotely with different film crews. 

“Crews were getting 30-page briefs of what we wanted,” said Maudsley. 

And Maudsley himself was doing interviews via Zoom, one in particular he recalled at 4 a.m. his time. 

“It was all kind of working through making sure everybody was safe,” he said, adding that meant their crew and the integrity of the four research sites. 

In the end Maudsley said it all came together amazingly well, suggesting it’s impossible to tell the difference in film produced by the various remote crews. 

Inside the Great Vaccine Race appeared on CBC’s Nature of Things in late 2021, and can be viewed anytime on CBC Gem. 

Other finalists for the Best of Saskatchewan Award are; Toxic Neighbour, Like Us, Wild Prairie Man and A Promise to My Son. 

The YFF runs May 26 to 29, with the awards presented the evening of the 28th