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Dawson City: Frozen Time

Dir: Bill Morrison, 2016, USA, 120 mins, Cert: 18(TBA)

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Wed 27 September // 20:00

Tickets: £5 (full) / £4 (concession)

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This hypnotic meditation on cinema’s past from New York artist and filmmaker Bill Morrison (Decasia) is an immersive, archival journey through a secret history of North America’s forgotten nitrate cinema.

Located just south of the Arctic Circle, Dawson City was settled in 1896 and became the centre of the Canadian Gold Rush that brought 100,000 prospectors to the area. It was also the final stop for a distribution chain that sent film prints and newsreels to the Yukon. The films were seldom, if ever, returned.  

In 1978, a bulldozer working its way through a car-park uncovered 533 nitrate film prints, preserved in the frozen ground where they’d been buried and presumed lost, at the end of the 1920s.

Morrison draws on these permafrost-protected, rare silent films and newsreels, pairing them with archival footage, interviews and historical photographs to form a revelatory history of both Dawson City and American cinema itself set to a beautiful score by Sigur Rós collaborator Alex Somers.  It’s a dreamscape of film’s past that no cinephile will want to miss. 

Trailer courtesy Hypnotic Pictures and Picture Palace Pictures

Still of First Avenue, Dawson 1898 Courtesy Vancouver Public Library; Hypnotic Pictures; Picture Palace Pictures

Doors open 30 minutes before film start time.

Even if a screening is sold out, tickets are often available 30 minutes before the start of the film at the box office