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4 Must-See Films at imagineNATIVE 2021

Oct 14, 2021
by IAQ

The 22nd annual imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival, the largest presenter of Indigenous screen content, is taking place from October 19–24. This year’s programming will include online screenings through imagineNATIVE’s website, and in-person events across the country. Keep reading to learn about  4 films by directors from across the circumpolar North that you cannot miss. 


Ossie Michelin
Evan’s Drum (2021) (still)

Evan’s Drum
Screening: October 23–25 at 10 AM
Director: Ossie Michelin

Labrador Inuk Ossie Michelin’s mission is to share stories about Labrador Inuit through his documentary filmmaking. In Evan’s Drum (2021), Michelin shares the story of traditional Inuit drum dancing—a practice that was once common in Labrador but had almost ceased due to colonization. Michelin follows the daily life of seven-year-old Evan and his mother Amy, who he met during a 2018 performance in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, NL. The film explores Evan’s experiences of learning and improving on his craft, and making his own drum with drum maker Jennie Williams. By creating this film, Michelin highlights the beautiful re-birth of Inuit pride in Labrador with the creation of a new generation of drum dancers. 

—Lisa Frenette, Associate Editor

HansenAka AjornavianngilatitStill

Aka Hansen
Ajornavianngilatit (You'll Be Okay) (2021) (still)

Ajornavianngilatit (You'll Be Okay)
Screening: October 21–23 at 10 AM
Director: Aka Hansen

In 2009, Aka Hansen emerged as one to watch with her screenplay for Hinnarik Sinnattunilu, the first feature film to be produced entirely with a Greenlandic crew and actors. The Nuuk, Greenland–based filmmaker proved her versatility with the short film Half and Half (2016), which beautifully interrogates her Danish-Greenlandic heritage, and in her producing work on the supernatural horror Qaqqat Alanngui (2011).

Screening at the festival, Hansen’s latest short, Ajornavianngilatit (You'll Be Okay) (2021), has a relatable premise, focusing on the story of a dedicated mother who finally gets a well-deserved night off.

Hansen is also delivering this year’s festival keynote talk, sharing her perspectives on the future of film, the importance of capacity building within communities and, in particular, supporting youth.

—Sue Carter, Deputy Editor


Lindsay McIntyre
Seeing Her (2020) (still)

Seeing Her
Screening: October 20–22 at 10 AM
Director: Lindsay McIntyre

Multidisciplinary artist Lindsay McIntyre is well known for her experimental approach to filmmaking, handling most of her 16-mm film footage with a combination of handmade emulsion, animation and celluloid manipulation that is most akin to drawing. Seeing Her (2020) marks McIntyre’s return to the subject of her great-grandmother Kumaa’naaq, who was taken from the North in 1936. Kumaa’naaq was the central figure in Bloodline, the five-film series McIntyre previously made exploring her maternal heritage. 

In this silent analogue animation, McIntyre returns not directly to footage of her great-grandmother but rather footage of her great-grandmother’s clothing, examining the beaded textures of her amauti to show the labour, skill and memories it holds.

— Jessica MacDonald, Associate Editor


Ulivia Uviluk
Inuit Languages in the 21st Century (2021) (still)

Inuit Languages in the 21st Century
Screening: October 20–22 at 10 AM
Director: Ulivia Uviluk

In this nine-minute documentary short, Montreal, QC–based artist and filmmaker Ulivia Uviluk explores the potential of digital technologies as a means of preserving the Inuktitut language. Like many Inuit youth including myself, Ulivuk found herself searching online for resources on learning Inuktitut, a language that has traditionally been passed down through generations orally, a practice that has been threatened by colonization. 

Uviluk invites us into her online journey, using video-chat to speak with Seqininnguaq Poulsen in Greenland and Olepika Takpanie in Nunavik, two peers who share the desire to connect with their culture through language. At a time when many of us have had to adapt to a new digital world since the pandemic, Uviluk examines the applications of technology as a way to vitalize traditional knowledge. 

—Leanne Inuarak-Dall, Contributing Editor

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