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PHOTOS: New Prince George film festival the next step in advancing industry through youth

Great Northern International Film Festival coming in September 2020

“In my experience, if people actually activate, it helps everybody else.”

Norm Coyne hopes to lay down that stronger foundation for young aspiring filmmakers in Prince George and across northern B.C. as he and his UNLTD Media and Events team have unveiled the Great Northern International Film Festival (GNIFF).

The four-day event set for September next year will showcase local, regional and international artists’ work with over 100 films expected to play on the silver-screen in an Oscars-style setting.

Coyne is confident this festival, which has been in the works for the past two years, has the potential to bring unseen movie-making skills in Prince George into the spotlight and encourage youth to network with industry professionals.

“For me, I’m like, I just want to make sure I’m doing whatever I can and accessing the youth is a great way to do that,” said Coyne when PrinceGeorgeMatters asked the question. 

“That’s actually part of the reason why we started doing the ‘Creative Corner’ section of Northern FanCon because we wanted to encourage them to connect with filmmakers [...] They can talk to somebody who’s already a very well-established, successful director and then they can actually take the steps that they need to follow that career path. So at the core of it, it’s very much like business and career development.”

He also believes ‘Creative Corner’ from UNLTD’s Northern FanCon has already helped set the tone for GNIFF, which could also raise the profile of the arts in the city.

“So basically what we do with that, we bring in a working industry professional, somebody on a grand scale like Marc Bernardin, who’s a writer’s guild award winner from Castle Rock, who delivers a workshop during the even,” explained Coyne.

“So anybody who’s interested in screen-writing, it’s a master-class and we’ll also be doing that in this festival. This will have a component that is very much a ‘Creative Corner’ from Northern FanCon-inspired workshop series, so that piece is there. We’ll also sure that we have high-profile filmmakers on the ground for the event, so they’re going to watch the films and that’s just a means of connecting to an audience that’s next-tier for an emerging filmmaker.”

In addition to marveling at the films, there will also be the glitz and glamour of a standard film festival, including a red carpet with paparazzi, 24 award categories for submission and a $500 cash prize for each winner.

And good news for Prince George filmmakers!

If you wish to submit a film of your own, it’s completely free and the movie can go for as many award categories as you please as Coyne says he doesn’t want to limit creativity.

The Great Northern International Film Festival is set for Sept. 10-13, 2020.

More information on the festival and how to submit your movie is available on UNLTD’s website.

The award categories for entry are as follows:

  • Canadian Narrative Feature
  • Canadian Narrative Short
  • International Narrative Feature
  • International Narrative Short
  • Canadian Documentary Feature
  • Canadian Documentary Short
  • International Documentary Feature
  • International Documentary Short
  • British Columbia Short
  • Animated Short
  • Indigenous Short
  • Student Short
  • Best Performance in a Lead Role
  • Best Performance in a Supporting Role
  • Best Director
  • Best Screenplay
  • Best Make-up
  • Best Cinematography
  • Best Production Design
  • Best Costumes
  • Best Original Score
  • Best Sound Editing
  • Best Visual Effects
  • Special Achievement



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Kyle  Balzer

About the Author: Kyle Balzer

Kyle Balzer graduated with distinction from BCIT's Broadcast & Online Journalism program in 2016. Since moving to Prince George, he has covered a variety of stories from education & Indigenous relations, to community interests & sports.
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