If you’re tired of binge-watching old sitcoms and you’ve run through your Netflix queue, may we suggest something new? Check out these four streaming sites, which offer a panoply of Inuit film and television you can access right now!
Isuma TV hosts more than 7,850 videos in 71 languages, with TV, movies and documentary from Indigenous groups around the world. The collective of the same name, led by frontman Zacharias Kunuk, were the featured artists at last year’s Venice Biennale. Check out the series Nunavut (Our Land) or get the behind-the-scenes scoop on the much talked about One Day in the Life of Noah Piugattuk, starring Apayata Kotierk!
The National Film Board
The National Film Board hosts more than 60 movies on Inuit culture online here. There’s an early documentary on Kenojuak Ashevak, a retro gem that takes you back to 1963, when printmaking efforts were just getting underway in Kinngait (Cape Dorset), NU. Or, you could get your kids into Inuit art early with I Can Make Art...Like Andrew Qappik, in which the renowned artist teaches printmaking techniques to elementary schoolchildren. Beyond the documentaries, here are two films by Inuk creators you should see:
With this short film, Inuk artist Asinnajaq plunges her audience into another universe that recasts the past, present and future of her people in a radiant new light.
Qallunaat! Why White People are Funny
From Inuk writer and satirist Zabadaa Nungak comes a satirical documentary that flips the script on colonialism, oppression and history. Mocking the way Inuit have been treated as “exotic” documentary subjects, the film instead interrogates the strange habits of white people. The film also features a performance by actor Vinnie Karetak, one of our 30 Artists to Know.
CBC Gem hosts a broad range of content by and about Indigenous creators across Canada, including Napagunnaqullusi (So That You Can Stand!), a documentary about the 11 Inuit signatories of the James Bay Agreement in the 1970s, and numerous drama and children’s movies. It also has feature films from leading Inuit film collectives Arnait Video Productions and Isuma.
Co-directed by Madeline Piujuq Ivalu, Uvanga tells the story of Anna and her son Tom, who travel to the High Arctic to meet the Inuit family of Tom’s late father for the first time.
Atanarjuat (The Fast Runner)
This Canadian epic retells a legend passed down through oral history of an evil spirit causing strife in a community and one warrior’s endurance in the face of its menace. Atanarjuat was the first film ever to be written, directed and acted entirely in Inuktitut, and won the Caméra d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 2001.
Among the paid streaming platforms available in Canada, Amazon Prime has one of the larger libraries of Inuit film, including some of the films that appear elsewhere on this list. Among documentaries like Polar Bear Safari and network TV shows like The Terror which are available on the platform, here’s two other movies you should see.
Director Alethea Arnaquq-Baril’s award-winning documentary follows a new generation of tech-savvy Inuit as they challenge long-established perceptions of seal hunting, interrogating bans on seal products in the face of vulnerable northern communities who depend on the hunt for both food and their livelihoods. This is the first film to examine the issue from the side of Nunavummiut, whose close proximity gives the film its particular strength, according to our reviewer.
Two Soft Things, Two Hard Things
This film explores the role of homosexuality in Inuit culture, and the burgeoning community of LGBT people living in Nunavut. Filmmakers, politicians and activists dissect the impact of the Roman Catholic Church on traditional Inuit spirituality and society.
Her Silent Life
Linsday McIntyre’s Her Silent Life won the Best Experimental Film award in 2012 at the ImagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival. This film was part of the five piece series Bloodlines, which explored the life of McIntyre’s grandmother. Many of McIntyre’s shorts are available through her website, tinymovingpictures.com.
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