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Dawson City: Frozen Time

Bill Morrison / US, 2016 / 120 min.

It was a bizarre discovery: in 1978 a bulldozer demolishing a swimming pool unearthed a cache of film reels that lay buried under the permafrost in Dawson City, Canada. More than 500 nitrate reels from the early 1900s were salvaged. Back then Dawson City was the centre of the Klondike Gold Rush that drew some 100,000 gold prospectors to the area. It was also the last stop for films and newsreels that were screened in the region, but were seldom or never returned to the distributors.

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Filmmaker Bill Morrison (Decasia) interweaves the mesmerizing tale of this silent film treasure trove with the tragic story of the expulsion of the native population at the time of the Klondike Gold Rush. Old newsreels about major world events alternate with haunting scenes from the dawn of Hollywood cinema. The mysterious soundtrack is by Alex Somers (Sigur Rós).

This is part of



Bill Morrison

Production year




Original title

Dawson City: Frozen Time


120 min.






35mm, DCP

Part of

Previously Unreleased

The films featured in Eye’s Previously Unreleased programme were screened at major national and international festivals, but were never released to Dutch cinemas. This year, too, Eye brings a choice of films previously selected for international festivals to Dutch film audiences to redress the balance.

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