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Filmmaker

Dennis Allen has been making award winning films about the north for twenty-five years. With a personal connection to all three northern territories; Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut, Dennis has travelled thousands of kilometres to tell the stories of the vibrant and living cultures of his beloved north. A fearless director, Dennis gives his audience an honest and refreshing first hand account of life North of 60. 

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"This is a beautiful, heartfelt love letter to Indigenous community radio. With grace, humour and a skillful eye, writer/director, Dennis Allen takes us inside the CBQM radio station in Fort McPherson, N.W.T. — and through it creates a tender, intimate portrait of a northern community. Alongside the music, interviews and community announcements, we witness how the airwaves remain a lifeblood of rural — and particularly northern — communities. CBQM is a touching documentary that makes me long for home." – Jason Ryle, imagineNATIVE programmer

WINNER Alanis Obomsawin Best Documentary Award, 2009 ImagineNative Film and Media Festival

OFFICIAL SELECTION 2001 Sundance Film Festival

OFFICIAL SELECTION 2001 Local Heroes Film Festival

After years of struggle and shame, 5 Indigenous Canadians bravely come forward with their stories of substance abuse, presenting the sensitive topic of alcoholism in an honest and forthright manner. Alex, Paula, Desirae, Stephen, and director Dennis Allen himself maintain a deep and devoted commitment to their traditional culture to achieve long-term sobriety. Through their voices, this insightful doc offers an inspirational beacon of hope for others.

WINNER Audience Choice Award Best Canadian Documentary 2014 Available Light Film Festival

On a crisp summer day in Canada's Western Arctic, Director Dennis Allen and his 77-year-old father, Victor, climb into a boat and head onto the water. They're in good spirits as they prepare to carry on the Inuvialuit tradition of the whale hunt. But, it hasn't always been this simple. After years of animosity, Dennis is working to restore broken links to his culture and community, beginning with his father. MY FATHER, MY TEACHER is an eloquent reflection of the bonds and tensions faced by all families. It is also an extraordinary look at the handing down of a precious family legacy from a father to his son.

HONORABLE MENTION-HUMANITIES 2006 Columbus International Film and Video Festival

In 1998, director and cameraman Dennis Allen accompanied the Kahso Go'tine on a historic trek over a traditional walking trail. They had not set foot on the trail in over thirty years, since air transport became available. With stunning footage, stories of personal triumph, and an emotional homecoming, The Walk moves through the lives of a people whose past holds the key to a successful future.

The Dene survive on caribou and fish, heat their homes with wood and haul water from the lake. Since their present-day community was established in 1962, they have lived in isolation and maintained their traditions. But recently electric power, telephone service, satellite television, oil exploration, and access to the community via a winter road have meant a host of new influences. To balance the inevitable changes ahead, every autumn the entire community of 100 people move to the "barrenlands" for the traditional caribou hunt. The hunt points to a hopeful future where tradition and development can exist and prosper side by side. Co-produced and directed by Dennis Allen

A team of world-class forensic experts travels to the high Arctic to exhume the body of the outlaw known as the ‘Mad Trapper’. After being buried more than seventy-five years, their mission is to recover the fugitives DNA in the hope of solving the identity of the mysterious trapper who shot three RCMP officers during the largest manhunt in Canadian history. Associate producer Dennis Allen leads the team through an extremely difficult and contentious exhumation.

Photos

Fire in the sky

Fire in the sky

In 2014, I was invited by the good people of Tulita NWT to film the making of a traditional moose-hide boat up the Keele River. There was forest fire just over the mountain, hence the smoke. These are hand cut spruce planks soaking in the Keele River.

At the top of the World

At the top of the World

I was invited by the people of Kugluktuk Nunavut to conduct a filmmaking workshop. Here we are out on the sea ice shooting a scene from a dramatic script they wrote about a young bi-racial Inuk struggling with his identity. I'll post the video when I transfer it to youtube. Stay tuned.

Directing Dave Stewart, Cameraman

Directing Dave Stewart, Cameraman

In 2004, I was contracted by the Inuvialuit Communications Society in my hometown of Inuvik NWT to executive produce Suaangan, an English language current events program, and Tamapta, an Inuvialuktun language program, for APTN.

The Mad Trapper's cross

The Mad Trapper's cross

In 2007, I associate produced a documentary with Discovery Channel, exhuming the infamous Mad Trapper of Rat River, Albert Johnson, to find his true identity. After we put him back in the ground, I could not help but slap a cross on his grave.

Our crew truck

Our crew truck

In 2013, I directed a series for APTN about the Canadian Rangers of Nunavut. I traversed with them across King William Island on a snowmobile, pulling my film crew in an Inuit Kamotik. We called it the crew truck.

Suppertime

Suppertime

Inuit meal; with camera operator Paul Rickard and production coordinator Tobi Elliot; chowing down on raw frozen arctic char and raw frozen caribou, in Taloyoak, Nunavut 2013.

The pros

The pros

Travelling with the Canadian Rangers of Taloyoak Nunavut is one of the highlights of my career.

Where it all began

Where it all began

We had the world premiere for my film Crazywater at the American Indian Film Festival in San Francisco in 2013. Here I am in Haight-Ashbury looking for tye-dyed tee shirts of Jimi Hendrix.

Producer Selwyn Jacob

Producer Selwyn Jacob

Shooting Crazywater, Vancouver BC 2010. Selwyn was an incredible story editor. He shaped my idea into an award winning film.

Dawson City Yukon

Dawson City Yukon

In 2014, we raised some money to shoot a trailer for a series on the late Cor Guimond, a trapper and log builder in Dawson City Yukon. I rented a snowmobile off my cousin Dawn Kisoun and her partner Tommy Taylor to head out to Cor's at Sixty Mile River. I got lost in a white-out coming back and had to hunker down for six hours till the storm passed.

The cutting room

The cutting room

Working with the National Film Board has it's perks, including getting to work with an incredible editor named Carmen Pollard. Here she is cutting Crazywater, Vancouver BC 2010

Directing on the tundra

Directing on the tundra

Shooting a scene for Watchers of the North in Taloyoak Nunavut. I hired an Inuit seamstress to make me a real Inuit travelling parka.

My Father, My Teacher

My Father, My Teacher

This is my father Victor Allen at our whale camp on Baby Island, NWT, in 2003. He's repairing a harpoon we used to harvest Beluga whales. Baby Island has my heart.

Blues on the Keele

Blues on the Keele

This is former CBC host Paul Andrew playing my little travelling guitar. We used to sing gospel songs at the end of a hard day. We called ourselves the Keele River Moose-skin Boat Choir.

Sewing moose-hide

Sewing moose-hide

Dene women make traditional sinew to sew the moose-skin boat with. They are from Tulita NWT.

A moment in time

A moment in time

After a long day of building a moose-skin boat. The Keele River is magic. I hear the river some nights when I am looking for solace.

Moose-skin boat crew

Moose-skin boat crew

Chief Leon Andrew, Anthropologist Tom Andrews (no relation,) and Paul Andrew, discuss the days work over a cup of tea along the Keele River.

Three weeks of work

Three weeks of work

The completed moose-skin boat. It was an absolute honour to take part in this project. I have a call into the producer to post it on youtube for free. Stay tuned.

Mr. Colins

Mr. Colins

CBQM personality, and story teller extraordinaire, the late, great Neil Colin of Fort McPherson NWT. I applied to get Neil an arts grant to walk around town and tell stories under the traditional arts section. But they rejected my proposal and Neil sat at home for a week in protest. The town damned near revolted at Neil's absence. Even the local MLA raised it in the legislative assembly but it was shot down by the only self confessed conservative.