When It Is Dark

A magical realism meditation on the afterlife, this tale of loss, bittersweet yearning and deep abiding love sees a woman visited by the spirit of her sister during a Newfoundland Mummering in the early 1900s. While the ghost facilitates a romance, it is the love between the sisters that transcends the physicality of death. The film was inspired by the writer/director’s own experience with her sister’s death and a chance encounter with the work of Canadian artist David Blackwood.

  • Kate Yorga
    Director
    Book Club
  • Kate Yorga
    Writer
    Book Club
  • Cherie Sinclair
    Producer
  • Sean Evans
    Producer
  • Kate Yorga
    Producer
  • J.Lee Williams
    Producer
  • Adam Mansbridge
    Producer
  • Christine McLeod
    Key Cast
  • David Lapsley
    Key Cast
  • Grainne O'Flynn
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
    Animation, Experimental, Short
  • Genres:
    Drama, Romance, Fantasy, Paranormal, Silent Film
  • Runtime:
    7 minutes 40 seconds
  • Production Budget:
    25,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    Canada
  • Country of Filming:
    Canada
  • Language:
    English
  • Shooting Format:
    RED
  • Aspect Ratio:
    2.35
  • Film Color:
    Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
    No
  • Student Project:
    No
  • Palm Springs International ShortFest
    Palm Springs, California, USA
    June 19, 2013
    World Premiere
  • Hill Country Film Festival
    Fredricksburg, Texas, USA
    May 2, 2014
    North American Premiere
  • Yorkton Film Festival
    Yorkton, Saskatchewan, Canada
    May 24, 2014
    Canadian Premiere
  • Muskoka Independent Film Festival
    Rosseau, Ontario, Canada
    August 30, 2014
    Ontario Premiere
  • Toronto Independent Film Festival
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    September 11, 2014
    Toronto Premiere
  • National Screen Institute (NSI) Online Film Festival

    Canada
    February 22, 2016
    Online
    NSI | Corus Fearless Female Director
Director Biography - Kate Yorga

Kate’s love of film goes back to a childhood raised on a ranch in rural Saskatchewan, watching black-and-white classics on late-night television or seeing films at the local Dreamland Theater. The first film she ever saw? The Wizard of Oz at the age of four.

Her films have screened at various film festivals, including: Palm Springs International ShortFest (CA), WIFT-T Annual Short Film Showcase (ON), Holly Shorts Film Festival (CA), Hill Country Film Festival (TX), Action on Film International Film Festival (CA), the Toronto Independent Film Festival (ON) and the National Screen Institute Online Film Festival.

Film gives Kate a chance to marry her three loves—words, pictures and music—to write and direct stories for screens big and small. Book Club, an action/comedy short film satire of Fight Club, was her directorial debut.

Her second film, When It Is Dark, is a dramatic short live action/animation work of magical realism exploring the afterlife. She also was also 2nd unit director on the David Cronenberg: Evolution - Body/Mind/Change multi-platform video.

Her dramtic live-action script First Gear was one of only eight selected for the 2014 Women on Screen Short Screenplay Incubator.

She has worked as an actor, production assistant, locations coordinator, prop assistant, distribution trafficker, producer at a film-funding agency and programmer for an international film festival.

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Director Statement

SYNOPSIS

A magical realism meditation on the afterlife, this tale of loss, bittersweet yearning and deep abiding love sees a woman visited by the spirit of her sister during a Newfoundland Mummering in the early 1900s. While the ghost facilitates a romance, it is the love between the sisters that transcends the physicality of death. The film was inspired by the writer/director’s own experience with her sister’s death and a chance encounter with the work of Canadian artist David Blackwood.

Writer/Director’s Inspiration
In the Spring of 2011, I by chance viewed a show by Canadian artist David Blackwood (www.davidblackwood.com) at the Art Gallery of Ontario. Amongst the exhibit were a series of about seven pieces, depicting Mummering in the early 1900s in a Newfoundland fishing village. I was so taken with his work and the idea of Mummering I immediately sat in the gallery and wrote the first draft of the script for When It Is Dark.
I think this is a great opportunity to preserve and highlight this East Coast tradition in the modern medium of film, which is often viewed more by the general population than traditional art.
The themes of love and loss are ones we humans struggle with constantly, especially in North American culture where we are now often so removed from the process of death. And with seemingly less young people practicing a traditional faith, we are also disconnected from beliefs in what happens after death. When It Is Dark is an exploration of all this, based on threads from my own life experiences.
Background
"Mummering" is a very old Newfoundland custom that dates back to the time of the earliest settlers who came from England and Ireland. It shares common antecedents with the Mummers Play tradition, but in its current form is primarily a house-visiting tradition. Sometime during the Twelve Days of Christmas, usually on the night of the "Old Twelfth", people would disguise themselves with old articles of clothing and visit the homes of their friends and neighbours. They would at times cover their faces with a hood, scarf, mask or pillowcase to keep their identity hidden. In keeping with the theme of an inversion of rules, and of disguise, cross-dressing was a common strategy, and men would sometimes dress as women and women as men. Travelling from house to house, some mummers would carry their own musical instruments to play, sing and dance in the houses they visited. The host and hostess of these 'mummers parties' would serve a small lunch which could consist of Christmas cake with a glass of syrup or blueberry or dogberry wine. Some mummers would drink a Christmas "grog" before they leave each house, a drink of an alcoholic beverage such as rum or whiskey. One important part of the custom was a guessing game to determine the identity of the visitors. As each mummer was identified, they would uncover their faces, but if their true identity is not guessed they did not have to unmask.