Dez Loreen is a filmmaker, comedian and multidisciplinary performer from Inuvik, Inuvialuit Settlement Region, NT.
Loreen’s work in performance and filmmaking started while he was still in high school, making short films and acting in school drama classes. After school he quickly got into television journalism serving as a TV host for the Inuvialuit Communications Society before spending several years producing, editing and hosting episodes of the long-running documentary show Suaangan. From 2005 to 2009 he worked for the Northern News Service as lead photographer and reporter of community newspaper The Inuvik Drum, where his writing won the Better Newspaper Competition Editorial award in 2007. In 2010 he returned to TV as a news reporter for APTN. “I got my name out there, got to tell a lot of Arctic stories,” he says of his journalism work. 
Of the many different mediums he has pursued, today Loreen considers filmmaking, acting and comedy to be “the three bases,” of his artistic practice. His independent filmwork took off in 2013 with the horror short Tiny, which Loreen made through his production company Neverlow Studios; he directed 10 other short films—his preferred way of storytelling—with the company between 2014 and 2020.
Loreen co-founded Inuvik Comedy in August 2014 with longtime friends from Inuvik; their sketch comedy production North of Normal (2015) was part of CBC’s ComedyCoup accelerator, placing 55th out of 225 entries and two years later made its way into a television show for Northwestel TV. Although the mix of comedy and horror genres in different elements of his practice might not seem connected at first glance, Loreen says they’re both about getting reactions from people: “I like to hit them from both sides.” His comedic work is focused on sketch work and situational jokes, often featuring stories about traditional Inuit culture and his lack of connection to arctic skills like snowmobiling.
In 2019 his short film The Slumber Party won a Zombear Award at the Dead North Film Festival in Yellowknife, NT, and his comedic work saw him longlisted for CBC Comedy’s Next Up Competition. Also in 2019 he founded Totally Arctic Wrestling, a wrestling show with events in Inuvik and Tuktoyaktuk that he acts in as a wrestler in addition to his work shooting and editing behind the scenes. His skills with crowd work and public speaking have carried over to his work in the ring, enabling him to act as a character and draw from the crowd while he’s out there—“I can make them boo me,” he says happily.
Loreen has continued his comedic work with performances at the Arctic Comedy Festival in 2021 and 2022, and toured with the Crack Up Comedy Festival in 2022. His second comedy album Into the High Arctic, a collection of standup and comedy skits, came out in October 2022; Loreen hopes to win Comedy Album of the Year at the 2023 Junos with the piece.
He went into politics and was elected town councillor of Inuvik in 2018 and reelected in 2022; he is a former board member of APTN and currently sits on the Inuit Art Foundation’s Digital Advisory Committee. He also diversified into voice acting, anchoring Cabin Radio NWT’s weekly Deztro Show and podcasting late night weekly talk show The Terynn and Dez Show, in addition to VJing for Ed the Sock on online video music channel New Music Nation.
“I like to say that I’m the media mogul of the arctic…I like entertaining people, captivating a room,” says Loreen. He admires wrestler/rockstar Chris Jericho as someone who was able to find success in multiple professions—”you don't just have to choose one path.”
Although his career to date has been expansive, Loreen still has big plans for the future; he hopes one day to have a comedy special on Crave and to begin a homegrown northern comedy that tours to smaller arctic communities—”I want to let local comedians headline rather than the tour be the headliner,” he says. He’s also currently working on a script for a feature length superhero film, a Western Arctic origin story about a shapeshifting boy that would include cameos from IBC’s Super Shamou. “There’s so much opportunity to be creative out there,” he says. “I want to tell people that if they have a story to tell, do it!”