A planning meeting for the 2018 Inuvik Sunrise Festival turned into a debate on who should be getting work in town.

Stephanie Parkes prepares for the pitch during the 2017 Inuvik Sunrise Festival.
Stewart Burnett/NNSL photo

That discussion was sparked by Tony Devlin – a local photographer, filmmaker and owner of Black Fly Studios – who asked why the town was flying up people from Winnipeg to shoot a video documentary on the festival.

“We actually put the tender out and then the local producers just didn’t get selected,” responded Chris Sharpe, marketing and communications officer for the town.

Devlin asked if he approached local producers, to which Sharpe gave the affirmative.

“I’m one,” responded Devlin. “I didn’t get approached.”

Sharpe went on to say that the documentary and DJ party, a new event this year, came as a bundle deal from the same company – Nu Frequency – so the town got a discount on the job.

Asked later where the tender for the DJ party and documentary was distributed, Sharpe referred the question to senior administrative officer Grant Hood. He responded that the situation did not go against the town’s procurement policy.

Asked again where the tender for the DJ party and documentary was distributed, Hood said that Sharpe’s words were mistaken and the jobs were not tendered.

“We did get quotes for the documentary portion, however, and the one selected is considerably lower than the others,” stated Hood in an e-mail.

Asked if local producers were contacted about the documentary opportunity, Hood responded, “I am not sure if (there) were any here that could produce what we were looking for.”

“You’ve got everything here in Inuvik,” said Devlin at the meeting. “I’m just wondering why we’re going out of Inuvik for all of this when it’s supposed to be much more a community event than a tourism event.”

Sharpe said he’s trying to cover the spectrum, from the events that are being hosted to the companies involved in putting them on and the people attending.

“I don’t think we should just attract people locally,” said Sharpe. “I think we should attract people nationally. Even when we get companies that are not from Inuvik, they’re also going to promote to other people to come up to Inuvik. It’s more of an everything kind of format. There are some companies being paid locally and some companies being paid nationally. From my observation of the event, it has grown from just a breakfast and fireworks.”

Devlin said it’s too late this year, but a focus on hiring local should be considered in the future, adding that a lot of southern producers are unprepared for filming in the Arctic. That consideration could go to hiring local DJs and printing the posters locally, he added.

“As long as I’m in this position, I’m going to try to go bigger approach, national and local,” said Sharpe, adding that the concerns were duly noted and moving forward he would contact Devlin directly with regard to filming opportunities in town.

“I think Inuvik is big time… People need to know about it. That’s my number one concern. However we can grow the community, I’m down. This is the community that’s helping me feed my kids, so let’s do it.”


Prepare for the fireworks

Always one of the highlights of the sunrise festival, the fireworks for the January event are supposed to be better than ever.

“They just got in a brand new shipment of brand new fireworks that are new to Canada, let alone to the Inuvik fireworks show,” said Rick Lindsay. “It’s going to be cool.”

He described the highlight of the fireworks as two rockets that shoot up parallel to each other and then shoot rockets at each other on the way up, forming a visual ladder.

“It’s as real as it gets,” said Lindsay. “I’ve watched it like 10 times now.”

Another suggestion at the meeting was to bring skates over to the ice village for the public to use on the outdoor rink or circuit.

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