m a r t e n   b e r k m a n

the ecology of perception


Three Rivers: wild waters, sacred places

2004 - 15 min w,d,p,dop,c,pp

This award winning film explores the work of eight visual artists who travel three rivers of the Yukon’s pristine Peel River watershed. The artist’s journeys, transformations, and the works they were inspired to create reveal the many layers of meaning which overlap in the same geography. As the watershed is targeted for industrial development, what role does art play in in defining our relationship with the earth?

Three Rivers is a lovely, important film about the sacred, creativity, and nature.  I often show it in my master classes on "Cinema and the Sacred", around the world. - Velcrow Ripper, director ScaredSacred

Ecology of Perception: Hart to Heart - in development
Feature length cross-genre cinematic project, w,d,dop,c,pp 

In an embattled northern watershed, a river takes us on a magical journey through human nature, wild nature, and leads us to… ourselves.

In the Yukon’s Peel watershed, for the first time many voices are given a safe place to be heard, speaking about the land and our connection to it. Yet as the fate of the watershed is determined, this new paradigm is threatened by the old, igniting a dialogue including First Nation elders, youth, miners, scientists, artists, astronauts. In this place where human values in the land overlap and can divide us, this journey ignites a question for urban and industrial culture: 
how do we transcend our duality with the earth? h2h.html

Cinematography: writer, producer, director, artistic director, director of photography, camera, post production

Klondike Saba - the story of the Boreal Belly Dance

2010 - 47 min w,d,p,dop,c,pp

The subarctic winter amplifies the warmth of Arabic culture

when a group of Yukon women take up middle eastern dance.

Their passion turns to the sublime, when the poetry of Rumi inspires

dance that links the desert with the wonder of the frozen north.

Music licensing in progress

Yukon Quest - Thousand Mile International Sled Dog Race

2006 - 50 min w,d,p,dop,c,pp

An intimate look at the dogs, their drivers, and what makes them do the longest, coldest, hardest sled dog race in the world...joyfully.

The Yukon Quest is an annual sled dog race which has been running each winter for decades, covering 1600 km between Whitehorse, Yukon and Fairbanks, Alaska.

“An epic wilderness adventure made possible by the bond between people and their dogs”

Yukon Quest Roughcut- The journey in images and music

2004 - 9 min w,d,p,dop,c,pp

Improv live slide guitar by the late Aylie Sparkes.

After following the Yukon  Quest Race, I cut this together in time for the finish banquet. Aylie Sparkes played live improv guitar as he watched the film for the first time. The result was the perfect score, and this film went on to tour the world with the Banff International Mountain Film Festival.

“An epic wilderness adventure made possible by the bond between people and their dogs”


Adrenaline Bach

(experimental short documentary/drama, National Film Board of Canada) 2007 - 6:30 d,a,dop,c

Adrenaline Bach features Tim Sellars, a triathlon athlete who trains among the forests, ridges and mists of Canada’s boreal mountains. A meditation on the inter-connectedness of human nature and the natural world, the film is shot against the startlingly beautiful landscape of the Yukon Territory.

Distributed by National Film Board of Canada


The Flowing Generations - a film by Elaine Alexie

2005 - 30 min dop,c

When First Nations youth travel with their elders for the first time on ancestral rivers of the Peel River watershed, they discover the significance of the land in their culture. What does does the land hold for the future generations?

I was honoured to be invited by my friend Elaine Alexie to film this historic journey she led for her Teetlit Gwich’in and the Nacho N’Yak Dun First Nations.

Cascade of Light

2008 - 24 min. w,d,p,dop,c,pp (experimental doc/drama)

In an age of adrenaline packed adventures in the wilderness, where is the dance of our soul?

In an age of adrenaline packed adventures about egos in the wilderness, a group of friends take a different kind of journey into the wild. They follow a river to the Arctic Ocean, to perpetual light and the spectacle of arctic life. Here they discover how awareness, not crisis, must define our relationship with the rest of the natural world...and how the greatest journey is where the land takes us in ourselves.


Cascade de lumière

2008 - 24 min. w,d,p,dop,c,pp (drame/documentaire experimental)

Dans nos aventures extremes, ou est la danse de l’âme?

Au nord du cercle arctique, sept amis descendent une rivière isolee et sauvage jusqu'a la Mer de Beaufort. Ce qui commence comme une aventure en devient une autre; quand la terre, les animaux, et la lumiere perpetuelle en revelent une illumination surprenante....


Cinematography: writer, producer, director, artistic director, director of photography, camera, post production


(enable pop-ups in your browser to view videos!)

experimental/stereo 3Dexperimental_1.html
Chasms of Silence - Abimes de Silence
Documentary/poetic essay - stereo 3D short film   w,d,dop,c,pp 

Chasms of Silence chronicles a quiet walk across the arctic circle on Canada's Baffin Island. 

Made specifically in stereo 3D for a sense of presence in place, the film takes us into the space and silence of this elemental landscape. Woven into the land are the voices of Jennifer Berezan and Tanya Tagaq Gillis, and the words it has inspired in poet and novelist Anne Michaels, as she contemplates life, death, time, and eternity.cos.html