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North Kildonan film fest lands premiere

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A world film premiere will soon take place in North Kildonan.

The New Northwest Passage, the first film directed by former Winnipegger Cameron Dueck, will debut on Feb. 16 at 4 p.m. as part of the third-annual Winnipeg Real to Reel Film Festival (WR2R). The festival runs from Feb. 12 to 17 at North Kildonan Mennonite Brethren Church.

Dueck, a former West End resident who now lives in Hong Kong, said the film chronicles his journey to the Arctic, fulfilling his longtime goal.

"Part of the story is how I made my dream come true on this journey," said Dueck, who grew up near Riverton. "It’s a story of how I sailed my yacht through the Northwest Passage, the people we met along the way, and it has a little bit of that ‘Canadian outdoors, isn’t it great?’ kind of feeling."

Dueck explained the project took a lot out of him, but was worth it in the end.

"When I came back, people asked me ‘Did you have fun?’ I said there were certainly fun moments, but, overall, I wouldn’t say the trip was fun because it was a lot more challenging and a lot more serious than that," he said. "It was something that took a lot of work, a lot of planning, and a lot of fundraising."

"It was very rewarding, and it’s probably the biggest thing I’ve done in my life."

He explained the film’s soundtrack is filled with music featuring the sounds of the Arctic, as he took a four-track digital recorder and captured sounds such as wind gusting and dogs barking.

Dueck, a former Reuters reporter, also wrote a book about the experience which touches more on the history and socioeconomic issues of the region. He said creating the film, which focuses more on the region’s natural features, was a brand-new experience.

"As a writer, it was very challenging to write a documentary," he said. "You write with the pictures in mind, which is a great challenge."

Festival director Paul Boge is glad to land a film like The New Northwest Passage.

"More and more people are seeing that the WR2R festival is an opportunity to see great films that they won’t get a chance to see elsewhere," Boge wrote in an email from Kenya. "(To) have directors present is always a blessing because it gives the filmmakers and the audience a chance to connect about what they have seen."

Boge noted filmgoers will have the opportunity to vote for their favourite films in advance of the awards ceremony on Feb. 17 at 8 p.m. Films that have played at the festival have gone on to receive distribution, qualify for larger festivals, or earn play on PBS.
Festival passes are $10 for an individual or $20 for a family, while daily passes are $5 and $10, respectively. All proceeds from the festival will go to Union Gospel Mission and Siloam Mission.

For showtimes and more information, visit www.winnipegfilmfestival.com.

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