A story this good is worth its weight in gold and that’s exactly where this tall tale begins. Attracted to the Klondike and Yukon Rivers in Canada for their promise of great and instant wealth, the North American Gold Rush of 1896 brought rapid development to the First Nation hunting ground now known as Dawson City. In 1903, they started showing movies. Because the city was so remote, the studios wouldn’t cover the costs of having the films returned and many reels ended up in the river. Some, however, were unwittingly saved by the permafrost, only to be rediscovered in 1978.
Lovingly pieced together with rare footage of American movies, expert archival and experimental filmmaker Bill Morrison uncovers the amazing history of an unwitting repository for hundreds of reels of once lost nitrate film. Beautifully recounting the story with all the wonder and verve that those rare, re-animated clips can offer, Morrison gives a voice to forgotten silent movie stars and a one-time bigtime town.
With thanks to Picture Palace Pictures.
With an introduction by writer and curator Tara Judah