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Soroka’s debut film collects award

Calvin Daniels
Special to The Leader-Post

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

YORKTON — Regina’s Jayden Soroka is the Best of Saskatchewan.

The first-time director earned the $750 Best of Saskatchewan Award for his film Under the Skin: Drugs, Dreams and Demons at the Yorkton Short Film and Video Festival.

“It’s an incredible experience to stand up there receiving an award,” said Soroka, who was feted during Saturday’s festivities at the Gallagher Centre. “It’s a humbling thing to be up there.”

As a rookie director, Soroka said the award put a stamp on something about which he already felt strongly. He said the story of prostitutes and drug addicts in Regina was one he felt needed to be told.

“I wanted to show they’re not just disposable people,” he said. “The people who have watched it have saw that, and that gave me confidence it was good.”

Soroka said the film is one that was hard to shoot at times, but the story pushed him.

“I experienced things I would never want to again, but I am glad I was there to capture it,” he said.

It’s a case where the film comes with a message.

“People need to know what’s happening in their community, so they can do something to change it,” he said.

Ville Fantome took home the coveted Golden Sheaf Award of Excellence, after previously capturing the Best Performing Arts/Entertainment Award, and the $500 Antoinette (Nettie) Kryski Award.

The film from director Raymond Saint-Jean, who also co-wrote the script, was made in Montreal.

First-time director Ana Valine was awarded the Golden Sheaf for Best Director Fiction. Valine also captured the inaugural presentation of the Emerging Film Makers Award, sponsored by the family of the late Grant McLean.

“I feel very small in the universe,” Valine said as she accepted the Emerging Film Makers Award.

She added it was an amazing moment to be accepting an award at North America’s oldest festival when it was her first directorial effort. Valine said the moment was special, just part of the unique feeling of being a filmmaker.

“It’s very magical the process of making film,” she said. “You take this little piece of your imagination . . . and you make it something tangible and project it on the wall.

“Then other people can see that piece of our minds. That’s incredible.”

Big Sugar was the night’s big multiple award winner. The Quebec-produced film by director Brian McKenna which “explores the dark past of 18th-century sugar plantations, and reveals the political power of today’s reigning sugar cartels,” according to the video catalogue, walked off with four Golden Sheafs. The film was named the Best History Documentary of the festival, and also earned awards for Best Research, Best Script Non-Fiction and Best Direction Non-Fiction.

Other films to each pick up multiple awards were: Dark Patterns: A Documentary Investigation Into the Death of Tom Thomson, Burnt Toast, and Patterns.

© The Leader-Post (Regina) 2006

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