• Beyond the Gallery

5 Films to See at ImagineNATIVE 2020

Oct 20, 2020
by IAQ

The ImagineNATIVE Media and Arts Festival, the world’s largest presenter of Indigenous screen content, is running now until October 25th. This year’s festival looks a little different, with films screening on demand online for 48 hour periods though ImagineNATIVE’s website. Our editorial team rounded up their must-see films at this year’s festival, from thought-provoking documentaries to animated shorts.

Don’t forget to check out Indigenous Language Production - Circumpolar Region on October 22nd from 2:00-3:00, featuring Anne Lajla Utsi, Aka Hansen and Liisa Holmberg, sponsored by the Inuit Art Foundation.

Guorga – Duoddara Modjegobit

Screening: October 24 at 10 AM to 26 at 10 AM
Director: Katja Gauriloff

Katja Gauriloff’s creativity shines in her music video, Guorga – Duoddara Modjegobit (2020). We are transported to the tundra where a Sámi singer (joikaaja) is having a discussion with the Sun, searching for the lost joik lyrics. Layers of fire and ice, land, sea and smoke are surreally orchestrated in transparent layers, blurring the lines between time, space and spirit. 

This will be a spiritual serenade that is eloquently and powerfully delivered in the language of Northern Sámi by a Skolt Sámi film director and screenwriter known for her documentary work.

— Bronson Jacque, Contributing Editor


Naja (Little Sister)
(still) (2020)

Naja (Little Sister)
Screening: October 22 at 10 AM to 24 at 10 AM
Director: Marc Fussing Rosbach

Animated short film Naja (Little Sister) (2020) follows a young girl running from home following a traumatic event. Guided by her ancestors and two small spirits, we watch her journey through shock and grief as she transforms into the northern lights. 

Self-taught filmmaker Marc Fussing Rosbach has provided an enchanting world for us to enter, pairing a gleaming night sky with an introspective musical score, to tell a story about loss and hope sure to arouse tender feelings and weepy eyes.

— Leanne Inuarak-Dall, Contributing Editor


Pilluarneq Ersigiunnaarpara
(still) (2019)

Pilluarneq Ersigiunnaarpara
Screening: October 23 at 10 AM to 25 at 10 AM
Director: Nivi Pedersen

The Greenlandic documentary Pilluarneq Ersigiunnaarpara (2019), directed by Inuk filmmaker Nivi Pedersen, follows artist Gukki Nuka Willsen Møller and student Kornelia Benjaminsen as they work to process their anxiety about the abuse they suffered as children. 

Møller in particular has intrigued the IAQ editorial team for some time, with work that frequently interrogates both personal and cultural identity. The IAQ featured his Kaalaralaaq (c. 2009)—a nuilarmiut (traditional beaded collar) crafted out of ceramic Tupilaat—in our Winter 2019 issue.

Pederson produced the film for The National Board of Social Services in Greenland's Killiliisa - Let Us Set Boundaries campaign. These two thoughtfully filmed, extremely personal narratives aim to elucidate some wider issues that haunt contemporary life in Greenland. 

— Michael Stevens, Managing Editor


Suodji (Shelter)
(still) (2019)

Suodji (Shelter)
Screening: October 24 at 10 AM to 26 at 10 AM
Director: Marja Helander

The adaptation of an old story from Utsjoki, Sápmi, Marja Helander’s Suodji (Shelter) (2019) will make its North American premiere this fall at ImagineNATIVE. The short film retraces the legend of Helander’s relative Ovllá-Ivvár Helander, and his decision during the 1918 influenza epidemic in Utsjoki to fool Death and take his fate into his own hands. 

Helander’s contemporary protagonist walks in the footsteps of Ovllá-Ivvár, performing her own modification of the tale. To retread a story from one hundred years ago is often a challenge, but reinterpreting it at a time when the world is convulsing under a new pandemic feels like perfect synchronicity. 

— Jessica MacDonald, Online Editor


I Said I Wouldn’t Write This Song
(still) (2020)

I Said I Wouldn’t Write This Song

October 24 at 10 AM to 26 at 10 AM
Directors: Chantal Jung, Katherine Paul and Robb Nansel

Journey across the landscapes of the Arctic and subarctic in this playful music video for indie rocker Black Belt Eagle Scout (Katherine Paul), animated by IAQ 33.3 “Relations” cover artist Chantal Jung. The video celebrates Black Belt Eagle Scout’s Iñupiaq roots with Jung’s signature playful style, bringing I Said I Wouldn’t Write This Song (2020) to life with a purple parka-clad protagonist on her journey from great heights on a blanket toss, to deep beneath the waves to swim among the whales. 

Marking Jung’s animation debut, the music video combines digital illustrations with photographs of Arctic landscapes, animals and berries to tell a charming story of what might happen when you get thrown too far on the blanket toss. 

— Emily Henderson, Profiles Editor

Don’t forget to check out our sponsored talk, Indigenous Language Production - Circumpolar Region on October 22nd from 2:00-3:00, featuring Anne Lajla Utsi, Aka Hansen and Liisa Holmberg.

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