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Circumpolar Indigenous Film at imagineNATIVE 2018

Sep 19, 2018

On September 18, 2018, the official line-up for the annual all-Indigenous imagineNATIVE Film and Media Arts Festival was announced. Running from October 17 to 21 in Toronto, ON, this edition will include feature length films by familiar faces such as Lucy Tulugarjuk and Zacharias Kunuk alongside VR, digital works and exhibitions by artists and filmmakers from Sápmi to Greenland.

From fantasy and adventure to experimental film, music video and documentaries, we’ve rounded up the best offerings from the Circumpolar North across the five-day festival.

Kivitoo: What They Thought of Us by Zacharias Kunuk

Ahead of Isuma’s much anticipated exhibition at the 2019 Venice Biennale, Zacharias Kunuk debuts his newest film Kivitoo: What They Thought of Us (2018) on Sunday October 21, 2018. The documentary recounts the events surrounding the forced relocation and later destruction of the Inuit community of Kivitoo in 1962. Combining archival footage and interviews with the remaining members of the camp, Kivitoo is a heartbreaking look at a community grappling with loss, displacement and remembrance. The screening is sponsored by the Inuit Art Foundation

Tia and Piujuq by Lucy Tulugarjuk

What might happen if a young Syrian girl stumbled across a magical portal and was transported to Igloolik, NU? In her directorial debut Tia and Piujuq (2017), filmmaker, actress, casting director and television host Lucy Tulugarjuk answers this question by spinning an enchanting tale about the bonds, stories and shared experiences of a young Inuk girl Piujuq and her mysterious new companion from the South Tia.

Akornatsinniitut - Tarratta Nunaanni (Among Us - In the Land of Our Shadows) by Marc Fussing Rosbach  

As the first sci-fi feature to come out of Greenland, Marc Fussing Roscbach’s debut film Akornatsinniitut – Tarratta Nunaani (Among Us – In the Land of Our Shadows) (2017) deftly blends suspense with a unique supernatural flare. To achieve the eye-catching special effects, Roscbach learned post-production techniques through countless Youtube tutorials. The result is an extraordinary addition to this fantasy action adventure, which chronicles the journey of childhood friends Nukappi and Mio as they are thrust into the world of sorcerers, malignant spirits and angakkoq (shaman) in an epic battle to protect the human world from the evil realm Tarratta Nunaanni.

Árbi by Lada Suomenrinne

Included as part of the Subject/Object screening series, which explore issues of memory and archival practice, the experimental short film Arbi (2018) by Finland-born, Berlin-based Sámi artist Lada Suomenrinne centres on a woman’s headdress suspended in the trees above a winter landscape. Here, the traditional item becomes both a present object of ceremony and a powerful beacon to the past.

Iglu:Angirraq (House-Home) by Mosha Folger

There’s no place like home, or so the saying goes. Yet, the politics of housing and habitation are never as simple as those five short words. In the documentary Iglu:Angirraq (House-Home) (2018), Iqaluit-born, Ottawa-based Mosha Folger shines a light on the many concerns surrounding the concept of “home” in Canada’s polar region emphasizing the pressing housing crisis and issues of homelessness in Iqaluit, NU.

Boom Boom by Per-Josef Idivuoma

What happens when two Sámi reindeer herders get involved in a plan to fight German forces in Nazi-occupied Norway? You get Per-Josef Idivuoma’s Boom Boom (2018)—a 17-minute-long short film about the true story of an encounter on a bridge that becomes increasingly complicated when it is revealed that the supposed Nazi is, in fact, another Sámi in uniform.

ANORI (WIND) by Pipaluk Kreutzmann Jorgensen

Pipaluk Kreutzmann Jørgensen's ANORI (WIND) (2018) follows the title character Anori as she grapples with the aftermath of a tragic accident involving her partner Inuk. Inspired by Greenlandic myth, Anori must struggle through her grief to find the light on the other side.

The 5th Region by Gabriel Nuraki Koperqualuk and Aeyliya Husain

Inuit Nunangat encompases the four regions in the Artic: Inuvialuit Settlement Region, Nunavut, Nunavik and Nunatsiavut. Yet, with approximately 30% of Inuit now living in the south, is there a fifth region? Following Montreal-based artist Niap (Nancy Saunders) and Toronto-based Joshua Stribbell, this documentary explores issues of identity and belonging for two urban Inuit and will have its world premiere on Saturday, October 20.

The Story of Pasha by Pasha Partridge

The Story of Pasha (2018) is a documentary short by director Pasha Partridge that explores the relationship between her name and Inuit culture. The lyrical animation by the young filmmaker is an important offering from an emerging talent.

Sálbma by Katja Gauriloff

Making its international premiere at the festival, Sálbma is the latest music video from the band Ánnámáret Ensemble based out of Utsjoki, Sápmi. Drifting shots of a foggy landscape are intercut with portraits of families in traditional Sámi dress and Anna Näkkäläjärvi-Länsman’s powerful vocals in this haunting short by director Katja Gauriloff.

Qilliqtu (Shiny Object)  by Kevin Tikivik

Born in Iqaluit, NU, Kevin Tikivik is a filmmaker passionate about the role of storytelling in Indigenous culture. His short documentary Qilliqtu (Shiny Object) (2017) expands on this interest by using archival footage alongside panning shots of Montreal, QC to meditate on personal struggles and cultural teachings.

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