Telefilm Canada has partnered with the Arctic Indigenous Film Fund (AIFF), a circumpolar production development fund dedicated to supporting Arctic Indigenous film and television.
Telefilm joins a roster of current AIFF partners that includes the International Sámi Film Institute (ISFI), Canada Media Fund, Nunavut Film Development Corporation, Greenland Film Makers and Russia-based Archy Promotion & Filmmaking.
In a joint announcement released October 20, Francesca Accinelli, Interim Executive Director and CEO of Telefilm Canada, said that Telefilm’s partnership with AIFF will be “instrumental” in allowing Telefilm to fulfill their commitment to support storytelling by Indigenous creators on the impacts of climate change.
From left to right: Ali Ruzindana (Canadian Heritage PCH), Anne Lajla Utsi (International Sámi Film Institute, AIFF), Robert Spickler (Telefilm Canada), Liisa Holmberg (AIFF), Francesca Accinelli (Telefilm), Ken Proulx (Telefilm)Courtesy Telefilm Canada
“Our screen-based industry needs increased access to relevant, timely research on sustainability, as well as more enhanced training and mentorship programs, and this collaboration will support both,” said Accinelli.
The ISFI coordinated the launch of the AIFF in 2018. Since its launch, AIFF has provided support to five features from across the Arctic, all of which are now in production or post-production: Slash/Back by Nyla Innuksuk (Canada), Cold Road by Kelvin Redvers (Canada), This Road of Mine by Pipaluk K. Jørgensen (Greenland), I Love My GuođoheaddjiI by Marja Bål Nango (Norway) and At the End of the World by Eduard Novikov (Sakha Republic).
A significant aim of the fund is to foster collaboration between Arctic Indigenous filmmakers from different regions. The forthcoming Greenland-based feature This Road of Mine, for example, is produced by Alethea Aggiuq Arnaquq-Baril (Angry Inuk, The Grizzlies) and Stacey Aglok MacDonald (Slash/Back, Throat Song), both based in Iqaluit, NU.
Telefilm Canada is a Crown corporation dedicated to Canada’s audiovisual industry, offering dedicated funding streams for Indigenous applicants alongside regional and national streams to which Indigenous creators can also apply. Among other Indigenous-led films, Telefilm recently awarded support to the Nunavut/Quebec drama Tarriaksuit (Shadow People) (Kingulliit Productions/Isuma Productions), co-directed by Uvagut TV Managing Director Lucy Tulugarjuk (Tia and Piujuq) and co-founder of Arnait Visual Productions Carol Kunnuk (Maliglutit: Searchers, Coming Home).
"Telefilm’s investment in AIFF comes in a time where humanity is facing some of the most challenging times in our history,” said Anne Lajla Utsi, ISFI’s Managing Director. “We all need to take action to turn the course. To reconnect with nature, and fight against climate change, loss of land and Indigenous [ways of life]. The Arctic is homeland to many Indigenous peoples, and we are deeply connected to our land and cultures. The partnership with Telefilm is crucial and it means that AIFF can start supporting Indigenous filmmakers and training in the circumpolar Arctic.”