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Kevin Nikkel PhotoIn 1919, a film crew set out on an epic journey across Canada’s North. Over the course of six months, their expedition traveled by icebreaker, canoe, and dog sled, capturing the Canadian fur trade in a silent feature documentary. The Romance of the Far Fur Country was released in 1920, two years before the legendary film Nanook of the North.

Rediscovering the documentary in a British archive, filmmaker Kevin Nikkel began a journey to resurrect the lost film, taking it to the communities where the film was originally shot. The result is the award winning feature documentary On the Trail of the Far Fur Country.

The film captures the descendants of the First Nations communities depicted in the 1919 footage watching the archival footage as they recognize faces, landscapes and lost traditions.

Ottawa Indie Fest recently spoke to Kevin Nikkel about the making of his film which screens at the ByTowne Cinema on May 24 at 6:25pm as part of the Lost Dominion Screening Collective’s series of film screenings.

How did you get involved in the making of this film?

As a filmmaker based in Winnipeg, I’ve done a series of documentaries for a local broadcaster on local history topics. I wanted to expand my scope to something national, and figured that approaching the topic of the Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) was a good place to start.

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21. April 2015 · Comments Off on Q & A with John Lazarus at “Skip Tracer” Screening on April 21st · Categories: Feature Films, Film-related, News, Ottawa · Tags: , , ,
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Photo of John Lazarus by Mitchell Lazarus

John Lazarus, who plays the character Brent Solverman in the Canadian film “Skip Tracer”, will be at the film’s screening at the ByTowne Cinema on April 21st and will participate in a Q & A after the screening.

The film is part of an on-going series of screenings by the the Lost Dominion Screenings Collective. Based on a new 4K scan of an archival print, this will be the best projection of the film since its 1977 debut, and Ottawa audiences will get to see it first.

John Lazarus has been an award-winning Canadian playwright since 1970, and a renowned teacher of play-writing since the early 1990s. He is also known as a screenwriter, critic, and essayist.

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17. April 2015 · Comments Off on Five Questions with “Skip Tracer” Director Zale R. Dalen – Part 2 · Categories: Feature Films, Five Questions with..., Ottawa · Tags: , , ,
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Zale Dalen 2

Photo of Zale R. Dalen by Tim Johnson

I’m very surprised. I quite expected to be totally forgotten by now. Though I blush to say it, it seems that “Skip Tracer” is becoming Canada’s equivalent of “The Bicycle Thief”, an early film with historical value that few people have seen but which enjoys an amazing reputation”, replies director Zale R. Dalen when asked about the current interest in his film.

Set on the mean streets of Vancouver in the late 1970s, “Skip Tracer” is a free-wheeling private detective story with the twist that the detective is a loan agency’s debt collector hunting down ‘skips’ who have stopped repaying their loans.

Ottawa Indie Fest’s interview with Dalen continues in Part 2 about his first feature film which screens at the ByTowne Cinema on April 21st as part the Lost Dominion Collective Screenings on-going series of film screenings.

If you could remake Skip Tracer, what would you do differently if any and why?

After we released “Skip Tracer” I had any number of actual skip tracers and bill collectors talk to me, each with an amusing anecdote about their time in the business. For example, one man who was trying to collect for encyclopedias which, remember, were peddled door to door in those days, had the entire set dropped on him from the second floor window. Another told me about a “client”, furious at being harassed, who came into the office and cut off the manager’s necktie with a big knife, after which the manager took his file and threw it in the trash can.

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05. March 2015 · Comments Off on The Luck of Ginger Coffey by Ottawa’s Crawley films (1964) – March 31st at Bytowne · Categories: Canadian Indie Film Night, Feature Films, Film-related, Ottawa · Tags: , , , ,
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Ottawa Indie Fest will be hosting its second Canadian Indie Film Night gathering at the Lunenburg pub (14 Waller Street, Ottawa) on Tuesday March 31st at 7pm.  Hope you can join us for chance to chat, mingle and network before heading out to celebrate a Canadian Indie Film, this time at the Bytowne Cinema.

The Lost Dominion Screening collective presents a screening of the feature film The Luck of Ginger Coffey at the Bytowne Cinema on Tuesday March 31st at 9:15pm dir: Irvin Kershner, produced by Ottawa’s Crawley films in 1964 Starring: Robert Shaw, Mary Ure, Liam Redmond, 100 min, black and white 35mm print, Rated PG.

The feature film will be preceded by a screening of the short film Joan by Ottawa filmmaker Pixie Cram, 2014, 7mins. Pixilation and stop motion short, a surreal and minimalist version of the story of Joan of Arc. More »