After a strong year in Canadian filmmaking, two Inuit-directed films have been included in TIFF’s list of the top ten Canadian films of the year. Three of the top ten feature films are directorial debuts, and four are by Indigenous filmmakers.
One Day in the Life of Noah Piugattuk was directed by Zacharias Kunuk and produced by the Iqaluit-based film collective Isuma. It premiered this summer in Venice, Italy, as Canada’s submission to the Venice Biennale. The landmark exhibition was the first time Inuit creators have been showcased in Canada’s Pavilion, and was a watershed moment for Inuit art on the global stage. Its Canadian premiere at TIFF in Toronto this fall brought the film back home to Canada, where it has been touring ever since. It received the Best Canadian Film award at the 2019 Vancouver International Film Festival.
Also named to the top ten is The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open, directed by Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers and Kathleen Hepburn. This film debuted at the 2019 Berlin Film Festival, and its Canadian premiere at TIFF this fall was awarded honourable mention from the Best Canadian Film award jury. When it was screened at imagineNATIVE, it took home the Best Dramatic Feature, and it won the Best BC Film Award and the BC Emerging Filmmaker Award at the Vancouver International Film Festival. It was also recently named as a finalist for the Rogers Best Canadian Film Award by the Toronto Film Critics Association.
TIFF also recognized their top ten Canadian short films for 2019, which included Throat Singing in Kangirsuk (Katatjatuuk Kangirsumi) by Eva Kaukai and Manon Chamberland. These Nunavik teens produced a three-minute short of themselves practising throat singing while the landscape around them moves through the four seasons. The top ten shorts will screen at TIFF Bell Lightbox in Toronto on January 26.