Last Dogs of Winter in Winnipeg

The Last Dogs of Winter

The Last Dogs of Winter

Thanks to Winnipeg Cinematheque, a film about Canada’s rare and endangered Inuit sled dogs has finally screened in a Canadian cinema, two years after it debuted at Toronto Film Festival.

Here’s a link to a review in the Winnipeg Free Press:

Northern exposure – Winnipeg Free Press.

And here’s some direct feedback from people who saw it:

And we thought we were braving the elements getting out to Winnipeg’s Cinematheque on a snowy night! What a beautiful film – I’m still feeling the effects of this visit to the real Churchill, and it was fascinating to see the relationships between the three species. (I knew polar bears are enormous, but watching this, I could truly feel their size and power.) My grandfather used his sled dogs in Manitoba’s Interlake to get around and to check his trap lines, and being from an urban family that was never without an over-indulged dog, I was appalled when told his dogs had been tied outside day and night, year-round; and what’s worse, they were just thrown frozen fish to eat in the winter! I heard the explanations: these dogs would be miserable indoors, and they were well-nourished and cared for, but there was always a part of me that didn’t buy it. I’m looking at it a bit differently now. I don’t like the chains or the lack of purpose for a breed wired for working, but it’s a complicated issue in Churchill. The world has too few obstinate characters like Brian Ladoon – as much as they irritate their neighbours and bureaucrats, they’re often the people who accomplish important things. I don’t know if there’s a “point,” as some ask, to what he’s doing, but how could it possibly be better if he didn’t help to conserve this amazing breed? Your film let him reveal himself quite naturally as an imperfect, charismatic, slightly goofball and genuinely dedicated person who also seems to be in his natural environment. Thank you for making this film, and thanks to Dave Barber for selecting it.



I had the opportunity to attend this wonderfully made film with 3 former colleagues from Churchill on November 27, 2013 at the Cinematheque in Winnipeg. I had worked in Churchill in 1986 as a nurse. The film brought wonderful memories. The film was very well done and bravo. I appreciated its cinematography, Churchill residents testimonies, Brian Ladoon’s testimony and passion to save the Eskimo dogs. 
Brian’s personality was well painted, as well as his paintings. 

I was in Churchill when Penny lost her husband. I did not know the Archbishop was on that flight…The story was very well presented and wanted to thank you.
For some of us who stayed in Churchill MB, we have embraced its people, its scenery, its wildlife and its peacefulness.  The long term friendships we have all gained will remain with us forever as the producer/actor will understand. All was well captured in the documentary.
The Cinematheque was almost full of attendees on November 27, 13 and it was a storm night in Winnipeg. Several of the attendees did go to the King’s Head Pub close by the Cinematheque for a beer to discuss the film. All were please about it.
Merci et coup de chapeau! 
Loved the film I saw it with  3 friends that I met 25 years ago in Churchill. We all know Brian and seeing your film brought back memories of the incredibly beautiful and harsh reality of Churchill. Men like Brian and many others depicted in the film are bigger than life, and the film served as a reminder to all of us what a completely life changing experience that Churchill was and remains. You captured the true essence of the place in all its grandeur and simplicity. Is the film available for purchase? (Yes, it is. see my web store at
Hi Costa,
I watched the documentary last night and I loved it. I know some of these people in your film (Dave Daley is a good friend of mine). I truly thought the movie would be one sided to make the situation more dramatic for production sake. But it wasn’t what I expected. U truly did a fair an outstanding good job.
I myself did grow up in rankin inlet Nunavut . I owned a kennel of Canadian inuit dogs. When I was younger that was the only dogs in the arctic. I used them daily running a trap line. After school. And running some races. My wife is Inuit and her uncles where the last nomadic family that refused to live like the white men. They lived whit there dogs in an outpost camp outside of iglooliq. They did not use snowmachines. Only dogs. Then a man called bill carpenter was hired by the n.w.t government . To breed an re stock the qimmiq population. He had government funding and did this for numerous years here in Yellowknife . He started by flying into the outpost camp and buying dogs from my wifes uncles. But he had funding and issued land outside of Yellowknife . As for Brian he is doing this in his own. And that is what I admire .
Like him or not there for few people on this earth that would persue or take on such a task with such passion. And I think you truly captured that in the film.
You didn’t make him out to be a hero. You showed a man with a purpose and a  passion To fallow his dream of saving these animals.
Great job keep up the good work.
The best documentary I have ever watched.
Thanks to all the folks who supported these shows. Inquiries from other theatres in the North are welcome.

About Costa Botes

I'm a freelance film maker based in Wellington, New Zealand. I make mainly long form independent documentaries about characters I find interesting.
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