Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Each year the Dead North Film Festival inspires people from across the Arctic to get out and shoot short film creations in the depths of winter. It also brings Northerners together to support the film sector and have fun at this horror and fantasy genre event.
This year marks the eighth year for the Dead North Film Festival. The GNWT's Film Commission, in the Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment, has been a supporter and sponsor from the beginning. The annual festival has become a staple in the Yellowknife film calendar, providing professionals and newcomers alike the chance to dip their toes in the creative economy. Since Dead North was established in 2012, over 170 short films have been produced, and audiences come out in droves to see the results.
As the Northwest Territories' presence on the global film industry continues to grow, this northern event has also become a jumping-off point for the participation of Northwest Territories productions in southern festival tours.
Mr. Speaker, this year's submissions for the Dead North Film Festival set a new record, and I would like to congratulate the festival's founders and organizers, the Artless Collective, for their vision, the work they have done, and the success that they have enjoyed.
As this year's Dead North Film Festival wraps up this weekend, I encourage Members to get out and take in the screenings and events. I would also like to use this opportunity to update Members on the work and investments we are undertaking to create even more opportunities for our film and media industry.
Five years ago, Mr. Speaker, the Northwest Territories Film Commission launched Take One, the territory's first film strategy. Through its implementation and our own government investments, the Northwest Territories has become known for award-winning films, circumpolar festivals, and one of a kind storytelling. Last year, the Northwest Territories Film Rebate Program leveraged almost $2.3 million in economic spending in the Northwest Territories.
Mr. Speaker, it is time to update our film strategy and to take the next big step in the development of our creative economy. To do this, the department has launched the Let's Talk Film and Media campaign to consider what the next phase of film and media growth in our territory should look like. Together with the Northwest Territories Professional Media Association, Industry, Tourism and Investment will be hosting a visioning workshop with representatives from across the Northwest Territories' film sector. We're reaching out to leaders, municipalities, and stakeholders across the North to get their input. Through an online idea board and discussion forums, we have started a territory-wide conversation with Northwest Territories residents about film and media development in our territory.
Mr. Speaker, in this government's mandate, we have highlighted the importance of increasing economic diversification by supporting growth in non-extractive sectors. Collectively, our vision is for a territory where there is rewarding work available for Northwest Territories residents across all sectors, and this includes film. Our territory is home to a vibrant screen-based media production industry built upon the dedicated efforts of both local and guest producers committed to telling our stories to the world. The product of their work and passion does more than generate employment and spending for actors, technical staff, and suppliers of goods and services. It also helps to showcase our incredible landscapes, cultures, traditions, and iconic landmarks to the world.
When it was introduced in 2015, the Government of the Northwest Territories' first-ever film strategy established two broad goals for the actions and investments it identified:
- increase the number and quality of local independent film and television production with market interest; and
- increase the number of guest productions that engage Northwest Territories residents and their services.
With success on both fronts, it is time to advance our growing industry to the next level. In the coming weeks, Mr. Speaker, Members may see or receive messages on their social media platforms saying, "Let's talk Film and Media." I encourage you to join the conversation and to share the opportunity with your constituents so that together we can share ideas on what the future of film and media looks like in the Northwest Territories. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.