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'Flickering Away' a Best of Sask nominee at YFF

To see Flickering Away attend YFF.
A still from Flickering Away.

YORKTON - A trip to the theatre to watch a film is different today – not just for movie goers, but those working behind the scenes.

A Saskatchewan film Flickering Away – a finalist for Best of Saskatchewan at this year’s Yorkton Film Festival – is about those changes.

“As Regina’s IMAX Theatre adapts to digital disruption in showcasing films, one projectionist shares his stories about the path of film reels, and its future. This film can be taken in a broader context - movie theatres in general are all experiencing some sort of digital disruption. This film brings a bit of nostalgia for some…watching Star Wars on opening night, run on film reels,” explained the film’s Director/Cinematographer/Editor: Kodiak Reinson.

Reinson said the film grew out of realization about the whole idea of what film is or was.

“When I think about the inspiration that led to the creation of this film, it came from the fact that I grew up in a time where many have a camera in their pockets because of cell phones,” he told Yorkton This Week. “I’m unfamiliar with any camera that uses physical film.

“My parents, on the other hand, had always used reels to take pictures or videos.

“When I learned that the Kramer IMAX in Regina, Saskatchewan, was still on film reel at the time, I wanted to find out more about this art form over the digital form of media I grew up on. I wanted to capture a bit of history, as once they pull the projectors that run using film reels, it can’t be placed back.”

The work is Reinson’s first documentary, made while taking classes, which was challenging in term’s of making a film.

“As a student, balancing school work with creating this film was the most challenging aspect,” said Reinson.” I was very thankful to Trevor Ewen and Ryan Holota, who made time out of their busy schedules to show me around the Kramer IMAX in Regina, and be a part of my film.

“Also, thank you to my fellow students (crew), Han Dillon and Ashley Ireland, and my Professor, Kyath Battie. A team effort was a crucial aspect of the film, as everyone helped make this film possible and the best it could be.”

But, time balance was not the only thing Reinson had to deal with in making Flickering Away.

“Another challenge was the projection room where this film was shot in,” he explained. “Two of the four walls were all glass, thus making it extremely difficult to place our cameras without catching our own reflections. 

“Also, they had limited lighting and the fans that kept the equipment running would run unexpectedly during filming. 

“I learned so much from these challenges. It forced me to problem solve how to light a room with two glass walls and figure out how to capture audio that works best for the film. 

“It also taught me the importance of editing.”

In the end though Reinson is pleased he has put some history on ‘film’.

“Capturing a piece of Saskatchewan’s history was one of my film's greatest strengths,” he said. “Many movie theatres do not have a film reel projector anymore, only digital ones. Capturing a moment in time is so rare, especially since it is in Saskatchewan; it is something that I will forever be grateful to film and share with the world.”

There is a broader element to the film too.

“It also shows how digital is disrupting every aspect of our lives, even in the entertainment industry,” said Reinson, adding “it is interesting that we’re capturing the change from film reels to digital using film format as the medium to do it with.” 

So when Reinson looks at the film now as a YFF nominee has her own view of it changed?

“I am surprised and excited that it has been nominated for such a prestigious award,” he said. “It started as a university project, and is now being seen by people around the world; it is incredible that it is in the league with other professional filmmakers.”

In general Reinson said her reaction to learning of the Best of Sask nomination was one of surprise. 

“I was completely shocked, honoured, and grateful that my film was considered for this category,” he said. “I am still a University of Regina Film student, so it is a huge honour to be on the stage with many established filmmakers, and I am grateful to be part of something within the community itself.”

Making it more important for Reinson is that this is a first.

“This is the first documentary I have ever created, so being nominated for an award within YFF is a great honour,” he reiterated. “Originally, this film started out as a class assignment. After completion, and at the urging of my professors, I’ve submitted this film to various film festivals both in Regina and internationally.”

In that regard there is a level of prestige being a YFF category finalist.

“Anytime a film is nominated for any award, it is always good,” said Reinson.

“Overall, I created the film because I wanted to capture a bit of history as a result of ever changing technology. My focus had been to share the wonder of physical film reels with others who have a love for film.

“Being nominated at YFF is an opportunity for more people to view the film.

“The Yorkton Film Festival showcases what can be done with films made in Saskatchewan.

“YFF is a very prestigious festival, so being involved with it in any way is beneficial and rewarding. It’s a place for people in the industry to meet and learn from one another. It also allows us to see films from around the world and learn about how films are created in different places. The films would also show what is happening in other cultures and society.”

To see Flickering Away attend YFF where Reinson said it will be shown calling the opportunity “a tremendous honour.”