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Sarah Kalnay-Watson — Yellowknifer on set

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If you’re hoping to make it in the movie industry, most people would probably head for the glitz and glamour of New York or Los Angeles.

But one Yellowknifer was able to get her start right here at home.

Sarah Kalnay-Watson got her start when she saw a hiring ad in the Yellowknifer, looking for someone to write TV ads for the GNWT.

“My dad was like, ‘You should apply,’ and I’m like, ‘I’m 13 years old, there’s no way I’m going to apply on that, right?’ He’s like, ‘No, do it.’ So I just put in, I had like, no experience whatsoever. And so I put in, and then it actually worked out because they were writing commercials for staying in school.”

Sarah Kalnay-Watson

That lit a spark in Sarah and kickstarted a career that would take her to Toronto, Scotland and the Cannes International Film Festival.

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There were red carpets meetings with celebrities like Seth Rogen and Judd Apatow and hectic days on set.

Kalnay-Watson at the Yellowknife International Film Festival. She was the president of Western Arctic Moving Picture, and was involved with starting the festival. (Supplied by Sarah Kalnay-Watson.)

At one point, Sarah was set to work on a film that featured Oscar winning producers, the visual effects team behind the Harry Potter movies and was set to star Jason Mamoa.

But Sarah, who was pregnant at the time, decided to step away from the project to return to Yellowknife and raise her family.

I missed out on that one. That was my shake my fist. What was your pregnant brain thinking?

Sarah Kalnay-Watson

But Sarah said she may head back to the movie industry.

And she said, it’s getting easier for people from the north to do the same.

I mean, you can produce wonderful films here in Yellowknife and actually go with places with them. Like, I know that Dead North films are showing everywhere all over the world … just because you have something from a small town doesn’t mean you can’t get it out there. Especially because with the digital world now. A lot of submissions are done digitally.

Sarah Kalnay-Watson
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